No Taming This Shrew


Sunday Sunday (la la la la la la)

Yes, I know it's "Monday Monday." Don't Momma my Poppa!

Now that I "have to" read the whole paper for research purposes -- I need new debates to teach a rhetoric/comp class in two weeks -- I can lounge away my Sundays. I love lounging away my Sundays. Typically I'll whiz through the comics and the magazine (Jordan -- the Post Mag has an article about a Nats game - I think it's the Brewers game we went to? No mention of us, though.) and then go to the gym or the library. Sundays when I'm single, that is. Totally different story otherwise. But I digress.

I'm in full lounge today. Reading the paper in my jammies, happy as a clam. In catching up on a weekend's worth of critical debate around the Beltway (ASK ME ANYTHING I AM FULL OF KNOWLEDGE), I came across an article Diva T had mentioned in passing called "Marriage Penalty." (I can't for the life of me find this thing online. I have the clipping in my lap, though.) The editorial is a little milquetoast for my taste, but Ruth Marcus notes very politely that "Women who work in the top ranks of the Bush administration are five times more likely to be single than their male counterparts." She chats for a bit about how a career "is not exactly conducive to romance," but then concludes that "jobs such as these [high powered administration jobs] aren't conducive [hello thesaurus] to married life or, more precisely, to parental life, and that many women who could have such jobs have opted not to pursue them."

Don't get me started on "opted." I'll just finished up her article and then begin my own.

She concedes midway through that admin. officials who are dads are more likely than their female counterparts to have spouses willing to "take up the parental slack." The reason I like this article, in spite of her rather apologetic tone, is that she finally says, "jobs at a certain level [like "Senate-confirmed positions"] are by their very nature family-hostile." This is the old "I need a wife" argument from 1970, right? But at least someone is saying out loud again that not all woman CAN PULL IT OFF! The situation is flawed! You need a nanny and a huge support network bolstered by an enormous salary to be Condi Rice and be a mom. This is not right, but for pete's sake stop saying it's "totally achievable" for any woman who wants the brass ring. BULLSHIT! (We now return to our regular milquetoast programming.)

She goes on to note that the White House press corps is hugely male (because of assignments and because of the "punishing, unpredictable hours and relentless travel") and that among the Post's dozen or so top editors, "almost all the men are married with children. Of the three women at that level, only one is a mom."

But here's what made me sigh with sadness and turn back to the comics so that Opus could make it all right: "What I'd tell them [her daughters when they "bump up against the same realities"], in the unlikely event that they ask, is that having it all is best achieved, and perhaps only achieved, in stages. And of course, to make sure their dad and I have lots of grandchildren."

Get it? Yeah, make sure they "opt out" rather than giving them "options." But really, the dilemma here is "having it all," yes? So many of us in this little rant circle have been writing about how much we fear being off-track or not having our ducks in a row, etc. Well here it is, folks. Looks like no amount of ducks is going to make things perfect. (Not sure how that metaphor's working there, but I'm in my jammies and don't much care.) You cannot have "it all," (who said "it" was "all that" anyway???) so why not shoot for the stuff you want? The expectations are unfulfillable, so we must make up new ones and then get people in power who can support those goals. For starters, I expect better female editorialists with a wisp of a sense of humor. That seems achievable. (LOL) <-- see? I can learn!