You guys. I can't even deal. I feel like lately all I've been is a super grouchy feminist.
No. I HAVE been a super grouchy feminist. And I have every reason to be.
Have you read the incendiary article by Lauren Sandler in The Atlantic?It talks about how women writers can juggle motherhood and writing and suggests that the most successful women do it by limiting themselves to one child.
Fine. Whatever. I do not care about her opinions on motherhood and the creative life.
What I care about is this: We keep having this conversation about what women can do in order to balance motherhood with X.
X = career, writing, art, coaching soccer, traveling the world, having time for oneself. Whatever.
We are having the wrong conversation. It's wrong because we are STILL making the implicit assumption that women must and will always be the primary (dare I say sole?) caretakers of their children.
On the eve of Father's Day weekend I find myself asking, where in this conversation are all the fathers?
(As an aside, there was a great article by Liza Mundy in The Atlantic recently about the happiness of same sex couples which skimmed over the possibility that this is because they are making it up as they go, splitting and sharing responsibilities based on their own wants and needs rather than some outdated family model that requires a Masculine and a Feminine in order to work. Intriguing stuff.)
We aren't asking how men can find ways to balance the demands of their careers with their growing desire to spend more time with their families.
Shit, there was a stupid piece on The Today Show this morning about men taking or not taking paternity leave and how it's so HARD on men because they worry about their jobs the whole time they're home with the baby. You know, totally UNLIKE the mom who is just blissed out the whole time, totally zen about being a giant living food bag and not giving a thought to her career because...motherhood = career, obviously. Oh, she's content now because she's a mom.
I don't want to hear people talk about how women can find ways to do EVERYTHING. That isn't the problem. The problem is, it's time for men to do LESS at work and MORE at home (and I mean men in a general sense, as in what society expects of them as a whole).
It's time for them to start giving something up to make things work. It's time for them to be partners in the real sense of the word. This is something Sheryl Sandberg has been talking about with her movement Lean In.
Let's stop talking about why women can or can't have it all. Let's stop making the assumption that every woman in the world is totally and completely satisfied with child rearing alone.
Let's start asking what's wrong with men. Why don't they want to spend more time with their children? (Maybe they do—obviously some do, but why are we assuming otherwise?) Why don't they want to be more involved as fathers? (Again, this is the assumption we're making as a society.) What sacrifices can they make so that their marriages are an equal partnership in and out of the house?
That's the conversation we should be having. When it gets here, let me know.
Okay, Reader. So I finished my book. And I am between freelance work. And while I have an idea for a new book, I haven't really started it yet because I am SCARED.
Needless to say, this has resulted in my brain running around in frantic circles not unlike Matilda, but without the magic brain powers.
I've also been doing a lot of reading and TV watching. I just caught up on Drop Dead Diva on netflix. If you haven't seen it, it
follows the adventures of a plus size lawyer named Jane whose body is
inhabited by the soul of a fashion model named Deb.
Only her guardian angel and Deb's best friend Stacy know that Deb isn't dead but rather in another woman's body. As Jane, Deb now has a totally different body, a bunch of knowledge she never had before, and must work beside her former fiancee Grayson, who doesn't know who she is. And, notably, does not seem attracted to her, though they develop a close friendship.
This show is a classic hero's journey. Deb starts out as a well meaning but self-absorbed wannabe model. She is weak, a pushover. Her career is nonexistent. Then, like a classic hero, she journeys to the underworld (in this case, Heaven). She literally dies on the operating table and is pronounced dead, but refuses to give up and presses the "return" button while being processed as a new addition to Heaven.
She is reborn in Jane's body as Jane has also just died. Not only has she saved herself from death, but she also emerges with new powers. She is now more intelligent (unclear if she was less intelligent before or simply unmotivated to develop her intelligence because her appearance was enough) and has all the knowledge of a lawyer.
Deb/Jane is no longer a pushover, wannabe model. She is now able to use her new powers to help others in need. She does not need to be rescued by anyone, including her former fiancee. It fact, she often rescues him by providing emotional support while he struggles with Deb's "death" and by helping him with his cases. Her new "powers" actually elevate her to Grayson's intellectual level and she knows it. And relishes it.
I do want to point out that in this show everyone helps each other and everyone makes mistakes. Women help men, men help women, women help women, and men help men. It's a nice balance. And since the battles are all legal ones and the weapons are cleverness, creativity, and knowledge of the law, the women are just as capable of winning as the men.