Skip to comments.Grow up: Life Has Trade-offs
Posted on 06/26/2012 4:47:34 AM PDT by Kaslin
Anne-Marie Slaughter's eye-catching Atlantic article, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," is being greeted with a certain reverse snobbery. We've been reminded that the choices and challenges of women with advanced degrees are hardly typical and not the sort of thing that should divert us from the problems of the middle class.
Perhaps. But there are millions of women in the upper middle class and the culture they create and reflect affects everyone. Besides, Slaughter deserves some credit for honesty. As she recounts in the piece, when she mentioned to a friend that she was considering writing that women can't have it all, the friend was adamant: "You can't write that. You, of all people." Slaughter explains: "... such a statement, coming from a high-profile career woman -- a role model -- would be a terrible signal to younger generations ..."
Slaughter, the "first woman director of policy planning at the State Department," had been one of those reliable soldiers in the "mommy wars" who had assured young women that, of course, they could have a satisfying career, a high income, a loving husband and 2.5 ego-gratifying, low-maintenance children whose problems wouldn't intrude when they "sipped champagne" at a "glamorous reception" hosted by President and Mrs. Obama. But she has discovered that the "have-it-all" catechism was a lie. Even with a supportive husband who was willing to "take on the lion's share of parenting ... (while) I was in Washington," she found that she didn't want to be away from her two teenaged sons, particularly when one was having trouble in school.
"Want" is the critical word here. Slaughter made a choice, as adults do. She writes, "I realized that I didn't just need to go home. Deep down, I wanted to go home. I wanted to be able to spend time with my children in the last few years that they are likely to live at home, crucial years for their development into responsible, productive, happy, and caring adults."
Slaughter's wants mirror those of other women (high-earning and otherwise). A 2007 Pew survey found that among working mothers with children 17 and younger, fully 79 percent said that they would prefer part-time (60 percent) or zero (19 percent) work outside the home. Only 21 percent said they would choose full-time employment while their children were young. This was down from 32 percent who preferred to work full time in 1997.
Despite endless repetition by Democrats and feminists, the idea that women earn less than men for the same work is fiction. Single women without children earn just as much, and sometimes more, than comparably qualified young men. Women earn less (over their whole careers) because they choose to. And they choose to because they place more value on child rearing than on money or status.
A better feminist would applaud women for this and stress the incomparable contribution mothers make to society. Instead, feminists define progress as the "first" woman this or that and the degree to which a woman's life parallels a man's. Feminists have been missing what's best about womanhood for decades.
They keep up a relentless drumbeat for "better" (by which they mean government-subsidized) childcare and fret that men don't have to make the same trade-offs. But as Anne-Marie Slaughter found, most women don't want more opportunities to farm out our children. Slaughter wasn't even satisfied to have her own husband be the principal parent. She wanted the kind of relationship with her sons that only time -- and lots of it -- can allow.
Most mothers feel that way, and unlike feminists who find this truth to be embarrassingly retro, we freely affirm that we want to be there for the first words, the first independent ride on a two-wheeler, the Little League games, the school plays, the violin lessons, and the thousand little private jokes, shared confidences, and other intimacies that are some of the sweetest parts of life.
We've seen some of the women who are described as "having it all." We see the glamorous careers, the attention and the prizes. And perhaps we feel a twinge or two of envy. But it's an illusion. Something has to give. Too many exhausted women blame themselves for not being able to be Ruth Bader Ginsberg, June Cleaver and Sally Ride all at the same time. They've been lied to about life, mostly by feminists. Slaughter discovered the truth in time. Many don't.
I am glad she discovered the truth. It’s the feminists who have been making women into second class citizens.
If we fall, they will be to blame.
Men didn’t have it all either. The stress of working 60-80 hours a week to provide for their families is one reason why there are more old women than old men.
Too bad all the women who are working don’t have a choice. Many mothers want to be at home with their children, but their husbands can’t find a job after being laid off, and mothers are the bread winners, like it or not.
We need to have adults in the Oval Office who can do a much better job of running the government so that this nation is again family-friendly. For that, we have to fire the brain-washed Leftists who are currently ruining our society as they force their statist dreams on the rest of us.
Gosh, men and women are different?
I never would have imagined that. I’m awfully glad that a smart liberal was able to figure it out (sort of) for me.
I have a 25 year old daughter with an MBA and a job she likes very much. All of her girlfriends graduated from college. Most are now married and several have a child. From what I see, marriage and children are much more important to them than a “career”. They have good jobs but love their families more than their jobs. My daughter will be getting married next spring and wants kids right away.
I always worked when my kids were young and I would have much rather stayed home with them. It is not healthy for our children to be raised by strangers. Feminists have sold my generation a bill of goods. I think this generation will be more likely to appreciate motherhood and reject the lies of “having it all”. JMO.
They started working in union factories and were bringing in two living wage incomes.
Inflation ran wild and the economy adjusted to where there had to be two bread winners.
The unions demanded more and more until the factories closed or moved overseas.
Now they are stuck with a two worker economy and few good paying jobs.
I also suspect that the “to get a good job, get a good education” advertising campaign, coupled with cheap money for tuition also affected the numbers of people who entered the jobs markets able to do something productive
One of our big problems as a society is that we tend to reject what are biologically evolved social systems, because we do not understand them, and think they are frivolous. And these can be pretty harsh. Here are some:
1) Not everyone is designed to reproduce. For whatever reasons, only a percentage of people are supposed to breed, and are equipped to be good parents. And biology has come up with a lot of ways for non-breeders to not interfere with breeders. This includes homosexuality, prostitution and post-menopausal sexuality. However, our society is so oriented to breeding that it has no “social place” for non-breeders.
2) Marriage has a *biological* purpose. Marriage is a far better system than just typical mammalian reproduction, as it benefits the husband, the wife, and especially, their children, giving up sexual liberty in exchange for monogamy. But marriage only works when it is culturally *enforced*, to prevent outsiders from interfering with it.
3) The underlying biological purpose of marriage can be undermined through the use of the dowry and arranged marriages. This led many to assume that marriage was frivolous, so should be dispensed with, or at least not socially enforced. They were joined in this by non-breeders who wanted to sexually function at a more animalistic level, not responsibly reproduce, just have sex.
4) The advantages to children raised by a male-female married couple are enormous, as they are raised with an mode of success and improvement. Children raised by a single parent are raised in a “default” mode of survival, which is why they are 60% more likely to criminally offend. They lack adequate family support, so their lives are dominated by needs, not wants.
5) If somehow we can scientifically determine which people are oriented to breeding, and which are not, society can set up cultural means to protect breeding couples, and encourage non-breeders to develop a career path. This does not mean coercion, but recognition that breeding couples need societal support and protection for their marriages.
Secular feminists and environmentalists have caused more damage to America than any and all external forces combined.
They are two faces of the same coin.
The whole direction of the funding puddle in womyn's studies is toward population reduction, and failing that raising a generation of compliant wards of the almighty state. They are the pawns of disaffected elitists wanting 'less for you' and thereby, 'more for me.'
God made women to instinctually want to nurture their children until they are ready to survive on their own. He used the same technique on most species, but the duration of dependency varies greatly. Unlike the barn swallows I’ve been watching, who are soaring after a few short weeks, the human infant takes many years to be able to survive on its own. It is God’s plan that their mother’s be there to teach them and I have never seen an instance where it is a good idea to buck God’s plan. The feminist movement is but another example of the left trying to undermine God’s plan and the results, as usual, are very detrimental to our society.
Bingo. Making a huge, society-wide change like that has market consequences, which even the non-feminists routinely like to ignore or deny.
No, they caused lots of damage, but Marxism has caused much more, especially when you consider that both of those movements were simply pawns used by the Communists to undermine our society.
NO ONE can have it “all.” It just isn’t possible. Something has to give.
I have noticed a disgusting phenomenon which is the dads trying to get the kids away from the moms and thinking it is a good idea to have the moms pay child support. These men are not doing it for the kids but to hurt the women.
Ah, you're one of those! Five-year plan? I smell the ghost Lewis out of That Hideous Strength? with that swelling brain in a vat seeping out while under examination. If ever the soul pops up after amputation, give it another regulated dosage.
. . . to hear your daughter or son practice Grieg's piano concerto!