I’m going to punch the next Bible I see, b/c that’s a small degree more sensible than punching the next proponent of Biblical belief & interpretation that pushes women into the rank of semi-human.
Friday, it seems, was an amazing day for discussing what makes modern womanhood. Women (& smart men) were paying rapt attention to the former American State Department’s Director of Policy Planning Anne-Marie Slaughter & her perspective on the image of Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg as a woman who ‘has it all’ & makes it look easy.
Rare is the thing that can be boiled down to a single sentence, though we try. And although there is some virtue in summation, let us let advertisers do the bulk of it for products; don’t try to sum up someone else’s philosophy for them. (Transparency: there are instances that make me a hypocrite in this regard, hence this paragraph’s opening caveat.)
I actually had a difficult time finding Sandberg’s original video interview/montage, b/c apparently bloggers have better SEO than does PBS, & their opinions are everywhere. The bulk of it is about how unrealistic it is to blindly follow her can-do attitude, & it’s a very good point–especially the near-infamousness of how Sandberg left the office every day at 5:30. Yet there is more to her statements than that:
If you’re going to marry… marry the right one… find someone to marry who is going to do half.
Lean into your career. When you need the balance, think about it then… don’t make sacrifices now for children you don’t even have yet. B/c that almost guarantees that you won’t have a job worth staying for once you get to that place.
A world where men ran half our homes & women ran half our institutions, would be just a much better world.
First impression: Is that kind of ambition so rote that it actually is not noteworthy? Have these ideas been promoted so thoroughly that everybody already knows & accepts them as good ideas? Then I read Slaughter:
(On the lack of work/family balance) …I was increasingly aware that the feminist beliefs on which I had built my entire career were shifting under my feet.
(While in Washington) …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…
Women of my generation have clung to the feminist credo we were raised with, even as our ranks have been steadily thinned by unresolvable tensions between family and career…
For me, a child of a single mother who achieved her education while raising two boys, who then worked in the insurance & legal professions, it’s a heavy read.
On one hand, these are two wealthy, respected women commenting from their particular reality-tunnels. On the other, no one has it easy, but there are definitely degrees of easier.
But I’m not surprised the punditry is trying to make this into something it isn’t: a battle. A battle between women, taking the heat off men for a moment or two, especially with all the reproductive rights BS happening in the US right now (on the orders of men).
What’s tastier than a mere battle? An intellectual, ideological catfight; a Jerry Springer Show of feminist intelligentsia. Sandberg Vs Slaughter; even their names bring the concepts of defence & attack to mind.
Probably the most important part for the average person appears later in Slaughter’s op-ed, as she tells us she realises the pros & cons of the special circumstances of her reality-tunnel, & that others have–& other eras had–it much worse. I saved the best quote for last (but try to read her article in its entirety; it’s excellent):
I realize that I am blessed to have been born in the late 1950s instead of the early 1930s, as my mother was, or the beginning of the 20th century, as my grandmothers were… To admit to, much less act on, maternal longings would have been fatal to their careers. But precisely thanks to their progress, a different kind of conversation is now possible.