We may see more articles like this one. (The women who don’t feel this way are too busy with families to write. The ones who do have just arrived as fully-fledged columnists/tenured profs/professional authors.)
Women are often the worst enemies of feminism because of our genetic make-up. We have only a finite time to be mothers and when that clock starts ticking we abandon our strength and jump into bed with whoever is left, forgetting talk of deadlines and PowerPoint presentations in favour of Mamas & Papas buggies and ovulation diaries.
Anyway, I’ll file this one away in the Gender is a Social Construct category. Why just last week when it was so rainy and cold, the men in my office agreed that they’d just rather be at home baking chocolate chip cookies with a cup of tea. Yes indeed, it was a touching moment of gender equity–and I would have shed a tear, but for the fact that real women don’t cry.
Brigitte adds: Oh dear. I feel sorry for her. But I must disagree with this:
I thought that men would love independent, strong women, but (in general) they don’t appear to. Men are programmed to like their women soft and feminine. It’s not their fault – it’s in the genes.
I do not believe being a mother means one can’t be a strong woman. I’m pretty sure being strong and independent-minded are two important requirements for the job.
Andrea adds: There’s quite a lot I disagree with in there. I didn’t have time to get into it. In short I do wish we all could roll with the punches a bit more…Who is to say she isn’t exactly where she is supposed to be? But then I’m one of these types who believes everyone’s life has intrinsic value irrespective of what one is doing.
Rebecca adds: I think, as a belated Valentine’s Day present, I shall tell my husband how glad I am that I stumbled upon him when I abandoned my strength and jumped into bed with whoever was left.
More seriously: “My mother had children early and has brilliantly juggled a career as a filmmaker and parent. She was part of the generation that overlapped, that had feminist values but had children early. She hasn’t had the job opportunities of my generation, she had to make sacrifices and take lesser jobs to be at parents’ evenings. Choice and careers are vital, of course, but they shouldn’t be pursued relentlessly.”
Is it really news to anybody that, while you can pursue education and career advancement until you go senile, your odds of starting a family are highest when you’re young? I don’t know any women who want a career and a family who haven’t traded things off at one point or another. And to almost the same extent, this is true of men: you can have your children while you’re young, in which case you’ll have more energy and likelihood of fewer medical problems, but you’re putting yourself on the slower track, financially and professionally, at least for a few years; or you can do it when you’re older, when you’ll have more patience, more money, and a more established career, but it’s physically harder and less likely to happen.
The conceit that this is a problem for women only rests upon two ideas: first, that the work of raising children falls only on the mother, so men who start families young aren’t affected by the time kids require; and second, that men can wait until their 40s and then happily settle down with a fertile someone a generation younger. To my great relief, neither of these is true of the vast majority of men of my acquaintance.
Less seriously: she wrote a play inspired by friends who wanted to be just like Madonna? What part of being Madonna were they hoping to emulate? Cult membership? A series of failed relationships and custody fights? A gruesomely low level of body fat?by