Yet Another Post Talking about Women, Work, Children, and Life

And by “yet another,” I mean on the internet as a whole, not this blog specifically.

So this is what happened. Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote a super-long article titled Why Women Still Can’t Have It All. If you haven’t read the article, I’ll save you the time and give you the condensed version: she’s bitter that all her life, she planned to have a high-powered career (an excellent goal, in my opinion) but once she got there, she realized that there are only so many hours in a day and the more time you spend working, the less time you have to spend with your family. She thinks that American society needs an overhaul so that women can “have it all,” so to speak.

(Okay, so I skimmed in the middle and towards the end. Correct me if I misinterpreted Slaughter’s argument. But her argument is not the point here, as you’ll soon see.)

The strange thing is some of the responses this article has produced, in particular the one over at Penelope Trunk’s blog. I knew it was going to be absurd when I saw the title: Get pregnant at 25 if you want a high-powered career. Here is the offending passage from her post:

Slaughter lays out a great plan. It’s tucked into the article, among a lot of other calls to action. But she says, if you want to have a huge career, have kids when you are 25 so your kids will be grown when you are 45, because there will still be time to have a huge career.

Of all the ideas for having a big career and being a mom, this is the best one out there. Young women should use what we’ve learned so far and do things better than the generations that have come earlier. It’s too late for Generation Y since most of them have past the age when they would need to be finding a guy to marry. But there’s hope for the women of Generation Z.

Women from age 20 to 25 should focus on finding a guy to marry, and then build your career slowly, while you have kids. Which is what other generations did—they just started having kids five or ten years later.

This ignores so many things it’s ridiculous. First off, I don’t want a child now, and I doubt I’ll change my mind in the next few years. I’m sure I am not the only female my age who feels this way. (I mean, according to that post, I’ve only got a few years left for child-bearing, y’all. Otherwise my life will be completely over. Never mind the fact that I want that PhD, I obviously should be trying to get married and pregnant as soon as possible!)

But the main thing that struck me was the getting married issue. I have a few friends who are my age and getting married – but out of all the people I know, most are not getting married or even in a serious relationship now. Of course, some people my age (or around my age) have managed to get married – one of my favorite bloggers is happily married, and I think that’s great – but Penelope’s advice ignores the obvious fact that one can’t just plan one’s life out with the guarantee that things will happen right on schedule. It’s why her post ridiculous post Blueprint for a woman’s life was so stupid. That post made me so angry I cried. And they weren’t tears due to feelings of worthlessness from not following that blueprint at all – it was tears from the utter frustration of the thought, “wow, how do you get paid to write this drivel.”

So I got a little off track. Bottom line: dang, I want to work at Princeton like Anne-Marie Slaughter. (I think working at a university would be so much fun.) And I don’t want plastic surgery. If you’re wondering where that came from, go read that blueprint for a woman’s life right now. It is absurd. It is so absurd that it’s funny. And so ridiculous that I could not have made it up if I tried. Thinking about plastic surgery makes me want to throw up (no judgment on anyone who does get it – it’s just not my thing). And dammit, I’ll get divorced if I want to. Her advice in the infamous blueprint includes not getting divorced, ever. (How ironic is it that she got divorced? And no, I’m not a creepy stalker – she blogged about the whole thing on her site.)

The internet is a strange place, dear readers. That’s why I’ve resolved to take all advice with a large pinch of salt.

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Natalie K.

Banker. I like good things like foreign languages (I speak Russian!), history, writing, reading, playing violin, and knitting. I have a fabulous blog about all of the above.

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