Friday, July 20, 2012

High Careers and Babies Don't Mix, Part IV: Asking the Question

Hi Anonymous Commenter--Thanks for the fun article read: Why There's No Such Thing as Having it All by Lori Gottlieb (response piece to the infamous Slaughter article).

I think Gottlieb made some excellent points (dare I say she even echoed my own sentiments about the destructive corporate culture of 24-7 connectivity that is tearing the fabric of our souls to shreds?) and I've always loved her insights and writing.  Full disclosure--LOVED her book--Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough (or something like that).

But what's with all the b*tchiness?

Her tone was just so mean.

I admit Slaughter's proffered solutions to the problem of 'work-life' balance were unrealistic and totally ripped apart by Gottlieb's rapier-sharp logic.  But man, chill out.

Slaughter made at least a few good points and presented one very profound question:

Is there significant societal value in having mothers proportionately represented in top professional positions?

Right now, working moms face the problem that Slaughter and Gottlieb both admit to--they can NOT have it all.  They can not be 'present' mothers AND hold top-level demanding positions (in the majority of fields) simply because of the nature of the job.

Right now women have a choice--be a mom OR get that top title.  And a lot of people (perhaps Gottlieb as well) say that's all fine and dandy.  Everyone faces choices.  Be grateful you have a choice.  Women have choices!!!  Feminism won.

But I think Slaughter is asking the next big question--are we okay with this?  As a society, do we lose out if women have to make this kind of choice?  If society IS better off with having moms represented in top positions, then what can we possibly do from a policy perspective to create this better world?

And the answer might very well be--nothing.  There's nothing we can do.  That's just the way things are.  We cannot grow wings.  A leopard cannot change its spots.  Mothers of children under 18 can not be top policy advisors to the president.  And as Gottlieb would say--we all have limitations--live with it, suck it up.

But I think it's at least a discussion worth having.


Anonymous said...

I would like to print 500 copies of your statement--" the destructive corporate culture of 24-7 connectivity is tearing the fabric of our souls to shreds"--and run around my law firm tossing them in the air. Then I would like to set it up on a loud speaker on loop for an entire week.

Alice in Wonderland said...

LOL! You have my copyright permission to do just that! Sometimes I imagine jumping on an all-attorney lunch table and shouting "WE NEED TO UNIONIZE!" a la Sally Field in that Norma Rae movie.