Sunday, March 1, 2009

How to have it all...NOT!

by Thúy-Lan Võ Lite

The hypocrisy is clear: as Jemima Lewis writes in this article, many of the most vocal supporters of the anti-feminist movement resemble the suit-wearing ball-busting women they claim to oppose. Take Megan Basham, for example, who wrote a book of "self-abnegating femininity" entitled Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman's Guide to Having It All yet who confusingly has the "immaculate blonde helmet, gym-hardened body and Diane von Furstenburg wardrobe most commonly seen on New York career women."

Lewis then asserts that for women to "feel successful professionally," they "need the approbation of people who do not already love [them]." Even Basham, who wrote about giving up her career to help her husband's, continued working as a journalist and putting together the aforementioned book that made her much more visible than her spouse.

But is it fair for Lewis to assume that all women need non-domestic jobs to feel successful? It seems that choice feminists like Basham have a point - doesn't it effectively restrict women's rights to push them into the commercial world?

Basham's idea, though, works best in a world in which all the women who don't want to be housewives, second to their bread-winning husbands, have equal opportunity in the workplace, and one in which men who want to stay at home can do so. Applying her logic to other issues reveals its instability; a supporter of "choice equality of college matriculation," for instance, would claim that it's okay that far fewer black and Hispanic students go to college. It's their choice not to earn higher degrees.

Basham's idea is unworkable in a society still plagued by discrimination against women. Her assertions are so unrealistic that it would appear that not even she lives by them.


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