Tag Archives: anne marie slaughter

reaction to “having it all” shows need to vet our women leaders

So apparently I’m a cynic. I pointed out that Anne-Marie Slaughter is way too überly-educated to belatedly realize that the structure of the US economy prevents women from “having it all” and therefore needs to be changed. Ah well. No journalist minds being called a cynic. And as Nora Ephron advised, I certainly don’t prefer being nice over being frank. Slaughter’s sincerity or whether she meant well never factored into my reaction, nor should it. In fact, I don’t much care about her feelings; I care about her work-life politics. I prefer to know why they took so long to surface in a policymaker of all people. Gleaning that bright red unmentionable from Slaughter and similarly influential women is more instructive than the kajillionth complaint that work-life is less balance, more gauntlet.

Instead of joining the pity party, it should be pointed out regularly and often that the work-life conversation among women in 2012 is largely the same as it was in the mid-1990s. At least 15 years ago, says noted work-life researcher Sylvia Ann Hewlett, paid parenting leave was on the Democratic agenda. Not so this election year nor the one prior. Apparently commiseration, not policy, is what many American women–with the liberal media’s encouragement–do best. But passing misery like some white women’s grandmothers passed Tupperware is not my story. I come from a different tradition and mine compels me to caution that the conversation surrounding Slaughter’s article moves American women backwards. Advancing the conversation away from a 20-year-therapy session to organizing and advocating for changes in policy will require us to be more selective about who and what feminism is. Right now though, it seems anyone who has a vagina and talks at the same time gets a pass.

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anne-marie slaughter reveals that women still can’t have it all. shocker.

Of all my female friends only one is a stay-at-home mom and that’s probably because she has a twin. A significant majority are single (well, those living in New York City anyway) and most are elite school grads too busy kicking ass in their respective careers to play the e-mail forwarding game. However, one rising star at Popular Brand Name Organization recently made time to e-mail Anne-Marie Slaughter’s, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” to a shortlist of friends, with a sweet note: “…and you ladies make it seem (almost) effortless.” For the aspirational set, real girlfriends are a precious commodity and time with them, a meticulously planned thing. It struck me that Slaughter’s article had become a Hallmark card for the corner office-bound. “Just thinking of you,” it says. Hugs.

I’m not mad at love notes between girlfriends. No one else understands my career, love and family options better. I can’t help, however, but view the current fawning over Slaughter’s revelations as yet another pass given to the musings of one of the nation’s super elite women. They get the platform, a bullhorn, a standing army of microphones and zero critical resistance–especially if opining on “safe” women’s issues. Low expectations are at work on Olympus but here comes a reality check from the cheap seats.

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