You don’t have to have seen any of the media coverage of Anne-Marie Slaughter’s The Atlantic cover story to know about her story – because her story is just one of hundreds of millions. Don’t let the privilege in her life fool you either about the real underlying issue: women and men want fulfillment and to feel fulfilled in their lives. What must change to achieve any of that, for any of us, anywhere along the socio-economic spectrum? Fulfillment should not be reserved for those who can buy it.
Some reading to get you up to speed on this evergreen but maybe ever more pressing issue as younger generations demand answers:
For an historical perspective and in honor of Nora Ephron, her 1996 Wellesley commencement speech in which she absolutely addresses these issues
The Atlantic: 1% Wives Are Helping Kill Feminism and Make the War on Women Possible (this is the piece that got the recent round started)
The Atlantic: Why Women Still Can’t Have It All (the Anne-Marie Slaughter piece)
The New York Times on the AMS piece: Elite Women Put a New Spin on an Old Debate
Rebecca Traister at Salon.com on Slaughter: Can modern women “have it all”?
Diane Rehm spent an hour on this on Monday (June 25, 2012) (there’s a transcript and a podcast)
And on Sound of Ideas, also on Monday (6/25/12) at the 9:45 mark, the Women of Note panel gets into the subject too
Women’s Media Center: Having it all? The Wrong Question for Most Women
If you google “Anne-Marie Slaughter” and constrain the search to the last week, you will get hundreds more results weighing in. For the record, you can’t have it all at the same time until you recognize the limitations of the space-time continuum and your pocketbook; what IS “having it all”?; what is “all”?
A lot of people would look at my life and say I have it all. I sure as heck have a lot – on any scale and on many specific scales. Do I have it all? That’s kind of none of no one’s business. Maybe I want more – maybe I don’t. Maybe I don’t right now.
But it hardly matters – what matters is that we have a culture that rejects systems that prevent, inhibit or otherwise bar people from accomplishment for illegal, capricious or unjust reasons. And we have a long way to go on those fronts, as the constant re-emergence of this issue of whether “women can have it all.”