It’s the weekend, y’all!
And I’m thinking about “having it all.” Or not, as the case may be.
First there was Elizabeth Wurtzel’s idiotic and infuriating take on what’s killing feminism: namely, stay-at-home-moms. Choice quote:
Let’s please be serious grown-ups: real feminists don’t depend on men. Real feminists earn a living, have money and means of their own.
Did I mention that Lizzy has no children?
Then there was this much more thoughtful and nuanced piece by Anne-Marie Slaughter, the first female director of policy planning at the State Department. After two years on the job, she chose to leave in order to go back to being a tenured professor at Princeton, a position that allowed her more time with her children.
Suddenly, finally, the penny dropped. All my life, I’d been on the other side of this exchange. I’d been the woman smiling the faintly superior smile while another woman told me she had decided to take some time out or pursue a less competitive career track so that she could spend more time with her family. I’d been the woman congratulating herself on her unswerving commitment to the feminist cause, chatting smugly with her dwindling number of college or law-school friends who had reached and maintained their place on the highest rungs of their profession. I’d been the one telling young women at my lectures that you can have it all and do it all, regardless of what field you are in. Which means I’d been part, albeit unwittingly, of making millions of women feel that they are to blame if they cannot manage to rise up the ladder as fast as men and also have a family and an active home life (and be thin and beautiful to boot).
As for me, I quit my job a little over a year ago. We did the math and realized that with some sacrifices, we could afford to get by on one salary. I don’t feel like I’m a failed feminist. And even though I may not “have it all,” the fact of the matter is that at this point in my life, I don’t want it all. I’ve got just what I want, and more.
And I couldn’t help but giggle at Jezebel’s take on this. So in that spirit, here’s a partial list of things I DO have:
- a working air conditioner
- a nifty hybrid car that’s paid for – w00t!
- the most comfy sectional sofa that ever lived
- two pairs of designer shoes that are indescribably painful
- a loving family and a cozy home
- this amazing community of funny, smart feminists. I’m so glad that we can not have it all, together!
What about you? What do you have? What else is on your mind today?