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Posts Tagged ‘Gloria steinem’

With Herman Cain’s candidacy on suspension and Occupy Wall Street protests being shut down (though not silenced), I got to thinking about some things. Things like inequality, male privilege, and the circumstances that allow them to continue–and which are the forces that tie such seemingly disparate things as political sexual scandal and outrageous economic inequality together.

Let’s start with the sex. (This ain’t my first time to the rodeo: I know how to keep a reader engaged.) What do you think it is that allows a man to pull a woman’s face to his crotch with the smooth line, “You want a job, don’t you?”, cheat on his wife for 13 years–in a relationship that sounds to amount to little more than a cool exchange of goods for services–and then to run for the highest office in the land–basically offering himself up for scrutiny under the most intense microscope in the land–with nary a worry that he’ll be caught?

Some might say arrogance. I’d tend to agree. And I’d go further: when it comes to arrogance, the corporate world as it currently exists may be the greatest enabler around. In the context of the workplace, arrogance–and its close cousins: aggressiveness, ambition, and risk-taking–is rewarded. Power is a great big ego-stroke: people treat you differently when you’ve got it; you believe you’ve earned that special treatment. And that sense of entitlement leads to behavior of epically bad proportions.

The same could be said on the macro level: power (and money) is viewed as an end unto itself–what an organization might actually do with this wealth and influence is viewed as beside the point. He who dies with the most toys wins, right? And if that’s the paradigm, is the inequity encapsulated in Occupy’s rallying cry–we are the 99%–any wonder?

How did that happen? A case can be made that this inequity is a result of a totally lopsided definition of power and a completely unbalanced way in which it is valued and exerted. In a world where, for centuries, men have held the bulk of the power and built the very structures of this society unchecked, it’s not difficult to see how we’ve arrived at this point: What we’re seeing is the result of an overvaluation of the masculine strengths — machismo — run a-freaking-mok.

How can we be anything but completely out of balance when a man thinks it’s somehow appropriate to suggest a blow job in exchange for a job-job? When the top 1% of the people in the country control over 40% of the wealth?

When the woman who dares to speak out about her experience with the man in power is subjected to a complete autopsy of her “character,” while the man is allowed to deny–no matter that his accusers outnumber him by a factor of–well, what is it now? 6?

When women continue to be paid unequally for the same work (in DC, a woman makes 89 cents to the man’s dollar; in Wyoming, only 65 cents)? When

After the worst economic downturn in nearly a century, men continue to earn more than women in 361 metropolitan areas in the country, an annual survey by the Census Bureau found. If current trends continue, it will take 45 years for women’s salaries to equal that of men’s, research by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research shows.

So what would it take to bring things into balance? To redefine what it means to have–and wield–power in the world? To value compassion and equality as much as status and market share? To realize that a properly functioning human being has some measure of all of these opposing qualities–both the feminine and the masculine–and that a properly functioning society should, as well?

To quote Gloria Steinem:

‘Sometimes people say to me, at my age, well aren’t you interested in something other than women’s issues?’ she said. ‘And I say ‘show me one. Show me one that isn’t transformed by including both halves of the population.’

Indeed.

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“I’m not mad!”

…but maybe I should be. Gloria Steinem thinks so.

In a recent interview with the Observer, Steinem is quoted as saying:

I think we need to get much angrier about childcare, about flexible working patterns. It’s alarming to me that women are still encouraged to blame themselves. No one can do it all. If I had $5 for every time we’ve tried to kill off superwoman, I’d be very rich. But women are planning their lives, they have choices, and that didn’t happen before, believe me. We thought our husbands and children would dictate everything.

Childcare, flexible working patterns, blaming ourselves, trying to do it all: um, yeah, of course we should be mad! I think many of us are. The trouble is, hell if we’re gonna admit it. Most of us won’t even cop to being pissed when we’re fighting with our significant others. Be honest, now: Who among you hasn’t said “I’m not mad!” …in a raging fit of anger?

Thought so.

In addition to the false idea that’s peddled around–the one that says that feminism’s work has been done–that effectively encourages a certain complacency in the face of, oh, let’s see, unfair pay and treatment, unequal representation, a lack of support for working mothers, a culture of victim blaming, and the various and sundry other realities of which most women today are aware (just not mad about!), there’s something else that keeps us smiling quietly: the fact that anger isn’t very ladylike. The myth of the angry (not to mention ugly, hairy, man-hating and utterly humorless) feminist lives on.

I fear the truth is that that children’s rhyme about sugar and spice and everything nice does more damage than just convincing little girls that boys are gross (made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails? who the hell came up with that one?); the message bores itself into our brains early and often. Women should be nice. We should smile. To be angry is to be unattractive, unladylike, unfeminine.

There’s a line Steinem frequently drops that we reference in our book:

[Steinem] was asked if she felt women today are ungrateful for the gains of feminism’s second wave. ‘I hope so,’ she said, and paraphrasing Susan B. Anthony, added, ‘Our job is not to make young women grateful. Gratitude never radicalized anybody. We had to get mad on our own behalf; we didn’t walk around saying ‘Thank you so much for the vote.’ We got mad because we were being treated unequally, and they are too.’

But will we get mad about it?

That Observer piece kicks off with a wild reference to the past: in 1984, Observer reporter Martin Amis interviewed Steinem at the Ms. magazine offices, and here’s what he wrote about the experience:

As for Steinem herself, she is ‘the least frightening’ kind of feminist, being possessed of — prepare to be amazed! — both a sense of humor and good looks. She was, he wrote, relief slowly blooming, ‘nice, and friendly, and feminine… the long hair is expertly layered, the long fingernails expertly manicured. Fifty this year, Ms. Steinem is unashamedly glamorous.’

Wait? A feminist–one who wants us to get angry–who’s nice? friendly? with a manicure? Sacre bleu!

Okay, okay, that was some years ago. But, you know, I fear there are those who still think that way. Whose go-to response in the face of a feminist, or a woman who makes a rational argument, sensibly calling out an injustice for what it is, is to assume she’s a mean, humorless, unmanicured man-hater. It’s a good way to derail an uncomfortable conversation, doncha think?

It happens to me often enough. (Just check the comments to any one of a number of posts here!) And, you know what? I am mad! But that’s not all I am.

Just last week I was at my former office, having the staff photographer take some publicity shots for me. We were squirreled away in an unused conference room, but soon enough, an old pal came around the corner.

“I thought that was you!” he said. “I’d know your laugh anywhere.”

Damn right he would.

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Fast in the wake of the success of “Mad Men”, TV’s retro series on the advertising industry circa 1965, come two new period series for the fall season:  “The Playboy Club” on NBC and “Pan Am” on ABC.

What these two new series have in common is the insistence by their producers that when you eliminate the girdles, the cleavage and the bunny dips, the shows are really about women’s empowerment. That sound you hear is the two of us choking on our morning Starbucks. Let’s review: Women called Bunnies, wearing rabbit ears and cotton tails, and stewardesses subjected to regular weigh-ins and tight undergarments? Both the subjects of drooling men? This is Hollywood’s vision of empowered women?

Don’t get us wrong.  We like Mad Men as much as the next sixties geeks.  And we are the first to admit that the men of Sterling Cooper are hideously misogynistic. But the women — Peggy, who pushed her way to become the firm’s first woman copywriter, and Joan, often the brains of the outfit — make their way with their smarts rather than their sexuality.

Back to these new shows:  we see a difference between a period piece that portrays the way things were for women — versus the proclamation that what looks like heavy-duty sexism is really female empowerment.

What it really is is backlash.

“The Playboy Club” (Tagline: Where men hold the key but women run the show) revolves around a bunny who becomes involved with a high-powered attorney who gets her out of a jam. “Pan Am” (Tagline: They do it all and they do it at 30,000 feet) is about the glory days of air travel, when pilots were Men-with-a-capital-M and stewardesses were every businessman’s, um, fantasy.

Both shows have come up against intense criticism (Making for an unusual alliance between feminists and conservatives, an NBC affiliate in Utah has refused to air “The Playboy Club” and feminist icon Gloria Steinem has called for a boycott of the show.), which has led to ridiculous statements by the two shows’ producers.  Here’s one, via the Contra Costa Times, from “The Playboy Club” producer, Chad Hodge.

“The show is all about empowerment and who these women can be, and how they can use the club to be anyone they want,” Chad Hodge told critics.

Enough said.  And from the producers of “Pan Am”, via TV/Line:

Exec producer Nancy Holt Ganis — who herself was a Pan Am stewardess during the era depicted in the show — explains that this is what life was actually like for these women, who were admirably regarded as “hostesses at a dinner party… a movable feast.”

“Part of the irony of the profession [is] these are college-educated women who [often] spoke multiple languages,” says [creator/producer Jack] Orman, and yet they we still subjected to physical scrutiny to land the job. Says EP Thomas Schlamme, “For me, the show could be called The Best Years of Our Lives, because for those people, at that moment, that what this is. And that’s what the show’s about.”

Really? We’d prefer to give the last words to Gloria Steinem, who might heartily disagree.  Steinem, who went undercover as a Playboy Bunny during the 1960s for a magazine expose, is the subject of an upcoming HBO documentary entitled “Gloria: In Her Own Words” and at the Summer TV Press Tour, she was asked her thoughts about these two new shows.  Here’s what she said, according to the Washington Post:

“Are they aggrandizing the past in a nostalgic way, or are they really showing the problems of the past in order to show we have come forward? Somehow I think the shows are not doing that,” Steinem said, noting wryly that when times get tough, the “white male response” tends to swing to either sadomasochism — or nostalgia.

Recently, she told Reuters that the Playboy Club was “the tackiest place on earth”:

When I was working there and writing the expose, one of the things they had to change because of my expose was that they required all the Bunnies, who were just waitresses, to have an internal exam and a test for venereal disease,” she said.

Earlier, in an interview for the current issue of Interview Magazine, Maria Shriver asked Steinem whether she was glad she had done the playboy expose in the first place.  She said that at first she wasn’t, and in fact returned an advance she’d received for turning the magazine piece into a book.  But ultimately, she said:

.. feminism did make me realize that I was glad I did it–because I identified with all the women who ended up an underpaid waitress in too-high heels and  a costume that was too tight to breathe in. Most were just trying to make a living and had no other way of doing it. I’d made up a background as a secretary, and the woman who interviewed me asked, “Honey, if you can type, why would you want to work here?” In the sense that we’re all identified too much by our outsides instead of our insides and are mostly in underpaid service jobs, I realized we’re all Bunnies–so yes, I’m glad I did it.

She didn’t mention whether she felt empowered when she was doing the bunny dip.  We suspect her answer would have been no.

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So this might reveal my age, but my favorite image of Superman — other than his affinity for lycra — was the way he could fly out into space and whack the Earth with his hand to stop it from spinning.  Don’t you just wish someone could do that for reals?

I do.  Just for a day.  Nope, not even that.  Just for an hour.  Think of it.  You’re up to your ears in this, that or the other and suddenly you look at the clock and it’s 6:00.  And all you can think is what the eff happened to 5:00.  Or 4:00.  Or 3:00.   Too much to do.  Not near enough time.

Case in point.  With all apologies to the East Coast, this past weekend in Northern California, it was a balmy 70 degrees.  I know this because I could see the sunny blue sky from outside my window, and I could check the temp from my computer.    To wit, I experienced the sunshine from inside the house, grading a never-ending stack of papers.  I never made it out the front door.  And here’s the soulsuck.  Once I got caught up, there was another stack waiting to take its place.

Rinse, repeat.  And insert your job here.  Doesn’t it just make you want to get off the grid?

Life it seems can be relentless in that we’re always running to catch up.  We’re working harder and longer.  Our inboxes grow exponentially, minute by minute.  We’re breathless, as in out of breath.   Especially when we happen to be cursed with the Double X fantasy of having it all.  (Or, to refer once again to Germaine Greer:  “When we talk about women having it all, what they really have all of is the work.”)   All of which goes against everything we preach in this space — and in our book.  Live in the moment.  Savor the now.  Take the time to get to know yourself.  If you do, the decisions will come.

And yet.  Why can’t we go there?  Why don’t we say no?  To the endless obligations, the meaningless meetings.  (um, was I typing out loud?)

Because we can’t.

All of which makes me recall a conversation in class the other day.  My intro students were learning interviewing basics and I offered myself as guinea pig.  The chat turned toward Undecided and one young woman asked, toward the end of the session, whether I had any advice for women trying to make their way into high-stakes careers.  To which I answered by paraphrasing Gloria Steinem:  Don’t think about the way women should fit into the world.  Think about how the world should fit women.

And that’s the key, right?  We Double-Xers now make up at least half of the workforce, over half of the college graduates, and half of the professional school graduates.  Whether or not it’s the so-called “end of men” — who cares?   The point is that all of us — men included — are still stuck in a working world designed by and for men — the ones who have a Betty at home taking care of business.   Structures, society, and policies have not made the shift.  And yet:  who lives like that any more?

Short answer:  None of us.  Regardless of gender.  (Apparently, this is not just an American issue.  A pre-Valentine’s Day Brit study found that almost a third of those surveyed said that long hours and high workloads had caused their personal relationships to take a hit.)

And so, while I yearn for Superman to give me a couple more hours of the day, or, at the very least, try my best to spend some time off the grid, realistically, I suspect it ain’t gonna happen.  None of it.  Not until the concept of “work life balance” becomes more than euphemism for on-site daycare.   Not until we fight for some meaningful change.

And I would do that.  Really, I would.  But right now, I have this stack of papers to grade.  I would have done it sooner.  But, you know, I had a meeting.  And I couldn’t say no.

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So have you heard about the big dust-up caused by the Wall Street Journal essay written by Erica Jong in which she castigates what she calls “motherphilia?”  I’m sure you know exactly what she means, but let’s let her spell it out:

Unless you’ve been living on another planet, you know that we have endured an orgy of motherphilia for at least the last two decades. Movie stars proudly display their baby bumps, and the shiny magazines at the checkout counter never tire of describing the joys of celebrity parenthood. Bearing and rearing children has come to be seen as life’s greatest good. Never mind that there are now enough abandoned children on the planet to make breeding unnecessary. Professional narcissists like Angelina Jolie and Madonna want their own little replicas in addition to the African and Asian children that they collect to advertise their open-mindedness. Nannies are seldom photographed in these carefully arranged family scenes. We are to assume that all this baby-minding is painless, easy and cheap.

Ms Jong, she of “the zipless f*ck fame” then goes on to talk about the new mommy bible, “The Baby Book” that advocates attachment parenting.  Not just a clever phrase:  Your baby is your life.  Back to Jong (we love her, by the way):

You wear your baby, sleep with her and attune yourself totally to her needs. How you do this and also earn the money to keep her is rarely discussed. You are just assumed to be rich enough. At one point, the [authors of the book] suggest that you borrow money so that you can bend your life to the baby’s needs. If there are other caregivers, they are invisible. Mother and father are presumed to be able to do this alone—without the village it takes to raise any child. Add to this the dictates of “green” parenting—homemade baby food, cloth diapers, a cocoon of clockless, unscheduled time—and you have our new ideal.

All of which reminded me of a thank-you note I received from the daughter of a friend for a baby gift of green baby stuff that noted, just slightly sardonically, exactly that:  you not only have the obligation to be a good parent these days, but you have to be environmentally conscious while you’re at it.  Whew.  Another ideal to live up to and other way for women to be judged.  But that’s beside the point.

You can surely predict the fallout to Jong’s essay.  Over on the Motherlode, the responses were hot, heavy and not at all surprising.  This came in, an essay cowritten by Katie Allison Granju,  the author of “Attachment Parenting”, and mommy blogger Jillian St. Charles:

Jong’s stock in trade as a writer and a cultural observer has always been to provoke outrage via the outrageous. These days, however, her ability to shock via suggestions of sexual boundary-pushing have become more than a little passe. Thus, she’s apparently now decided to attempt to stir the pot by singing the praises of some sort of detached, Jongian-style “zipless parenting,” in which — as she says — “there are no rules.”  It’s a convenient position from which she can throw bombs at any target that doesn’t reflect her own choices.

Okay, point taken.   As for the “no rules” part,  wait for the punch line.  But what made me cringe was this:

I do not sleep with my baby because some “guru” told me I should. In fact, lots of experts continue to tell women that we absolutely should NOT do this very thing. No, I sleep with my baby because after a day spent away from her at work, I enjoy feeling her snuggled next to us at night. And while I feel guilty about a whole lot of things as a mother — as Jong admits she  also does in her essay — I don’t feel one iota of guilt about my decision to breastfeed or spend plenty of time with my kids. I am not imprisoned by my parenting. I enjoy it, most of the time.

Sleep with my baby? After a day spent away from her at work? That’s what made me think.  Is all this trophy parenting, this uber-attachment, this need to spend every sleeping moment with your baby, the inability to spend any time away from your child when you get home from work,  a reaction to the fact that our culture, our policies, our work-life structures have not evolved to the point that there’s time for both work and life over the course of daily life?  That mom is still the one doing it all and doing it obsessively?  And where the hell is dad?

All of which led me back to a “big think” interview with the glorious Gloria Steinem a few weeks ago, where she said, as always, a lot of smart stuff.  But check what she says related to this issue, specifically:

For instance, we’ve demonstrated in this and other modern countries or industrialized countries that women can do what men can do, but we have not demonstrated that men can do what women can do therefore children are still mostly raised, hugely mostly raised by women and women in industrialized modern countries end up having two jobs one outside the home and one inside the home. And more seriously than that children grow up believing that only women can be loving and nurturing, which is a libel on men, and that only men can be powerful in the world outside the home, which is a libel on women. So that’s huge step we haven’t taken yet.

Right?  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved having kids, and (ahem, fishing here), I think I did a fairly decent job of it.  One reason may have been that I also gave myself permission to have a life that was attached to neither work or parenting.  But back to where we started.  Let’s give Erica the last word:

In the oscillations of feminism, theories of child-rearing have played a major part. As long as women remain the gender most responsible for children, we are the ones who have the most to lose by accepting the “noble savage” view of parenting, with its ideals of attachment and naturalness. We need to be released from guilt about our children, not further bound by it. We need someone to say: Do the best you can. There are no rules.

Amen, sister.  I’ll be happy to say it.   Do the best you can.  There are no rules.  And that, dear readers, goes for everything.  Not just parenting.

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Replace the asterisk with the vowel of your choice and what you have is the sound-bite that goes along with Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum’s famous fist pump.

Lincecum, in case you’ve been living on another planet this baseball season, is the Giant’s pitching ace, the long-haired little kid who looks like a skate-punk, even when he’s hurling a fastball over the plate at 94 m.p.h.   To say he defies the stereotype of the typical ballplayer is, well, understatement.

Which is why we Bay Area folks love this particular Giants team.  They’re misfits.  In the best possible way.   Take first baseman Aubrey Huff, whose underpants come from Victoria’s Secret.  Seriously.  He has taken to wearing a red sequined thong – for good luck – under his uniform.  Or third baseman Pablo Sandoval dubbed Panda because he’s fat – who not only doesn’t mind the nickname, but has inspired thousands of adoring fans to wear furry panda hats at AT&T Park.  There’s clutch hitter Cody Ross, MVP of the NL Championship Series.  He thought his career in baseball was over when the Giants picked him up on waivers at the end of the summer.

And then there’s closer Brian Wilson who sports a fauxhawk and a beard that looks to be dyed daily with shoe polish.  He told the New York Times that his goal is to one day be a NYT crossword puzzle clue, and if you really want to get a dose of weird, Google Wilson and “the machine.”

In short, this ain’t your grandpa’s baseball team.  And, other than giving me a chance to write about my beloved Gigantes as I gear up for Game One of the World Series, this scrappy team provides a good lesson here for the rest of us.  Which is to say:  you don’t necessarily have to play by the rules to win the game.

That’s something we women, whether we’re baseball fans or not, need to take to heart as we march our way into this new millennium, often trying to fit ourselves into a world carved out by Someone Else.  You have to wonder how often we let ourselves be socialized by the stereotypes, wear the uniforms dictated by the roles we think we’re supposed to play.

And yet.

Do we really have to buy into society’s timetable that says we have to have achieved XYZ – a house, a kid, a killer career and a dog – by such-and-such a birthday?  (We don’t even have to like dogs, do we?)  Do we have to pretend we’re not interested in fashion — even if we happen to love fashion — to  be taken seriously as feminists?   Why is it we feel obliged to get a degree in business when what we want to do is dance?

And why is it  that we feel compelled to act like the boys to make it in a business world that they designed generations ago.  Maybe that world doesn’t work anymore — for any of us.   As we’ve noted before, what women have to offer (you know, our differences?) might actually be better for the workplace itself, not to mention the bottom line.  And speaking of that, what if, when it comes to career, all we really want is a paycheck?

(I could go on but, you know, its almost 4:57.  I’ve got a game to watch.)

In short, if we don’t like the mold, why do we keep trying to fit inside it?  That’s a guarantee that we’ll never see a game change.   As one of our icons, Gloria Steinem, once said: Don’t think about making women fit the world–think about making the world fit women.

The message?  There’s no harm in being ourselves.  We’ll not only be more comfortable – well, probably not so much in the sequined thong – but we may well win in the long run.

To which you know there’s only one response.  See above.

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photo credit: Kyle Terada/US Presswire

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The pill. So singularly significant, that’s all the ID it needs. And soon, May 9 to be exact, it will celebrate its 50th birthday. And while how much of the change those 50 years have seen can be attributed to The Pill is debatable, it’d be pretty damn hard to deny the effect that little plastic case has had on the lives of countless women. In the sexual realm, yes–although, as you’ll find in the current slew of stories on this very subject, many believe the link between the Pill’s arrival on the scene and the sexual revolution to be (wildly) overrated–but more so (wait for it…), in terms of the choices over one’s life that control over one’s body opened up. As Nancy Gibbs writes in Time magazine’s current cover story, The Pill at 50: Sex, Freedom, and Paradox:

when contraception was put under a woman’s control, it put many other things under her control as well…

By the 1970s the true impact of the Pill could begin to be measured, and it was not on the sexual behavior of American women; it was on how they envisioned their lives, their choices, and their obligations. In 1970 the median age at which college graduates married was about 23; by 1975, as use of the Pill among single women became more common, that age had jumped 2.5 years. The fashion for large families went the way of the girdle. In 1963, 80% of non-Catholic college women said they wanted three or more children; that plunged to 29% by 1973. More women were able to imagine a life that included both a family and a job, which changed their childbearing calculations.

As I myself put it some time ago:

Finally, women could screw with abandon! Or at least with a greatly reduced chance of a lifelong reminder of a night of screwing with abandon. No longer would our dreams have to take a backseat to an accidental pregnancy. With the choice of when–and if–we’d become mothers in our own control, all kinds of other choices–like hey, what do I want to do with this life of mine??–materialized.

All was not immediately groovy, of course. Many doctors–even Planned Parenthood–would not prescribe the Pill to women unless they were married. The Catholic Church forbade its use. And then there was the stigma–that, though “nice girls” might get carried away in a moment, they certainly don’t plan for such moments. And if they did, well, it’s a slippery slope to becoming the town strumpet–or so suggested Peggy’s smoking gyno, in this Mad Men clip, who offered the sage advice that “even in our modern times, easy women don’t find husbands”:

That’s fiction, of course… but yesterday’s On Point offered the real-life counterpart. The show counted Gibbs and Elisa Ross, ob/gyn and staff physician in the Women’s Health Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, as guests, but the standouts were the callers, who recalled their own experiences, marked by the absence of choices when it came to their reproductive systems–and, subsequently, their lives. Two of the callers were in college and engaged or just graduated and newlywed when the Pill was approved. One, Catholic, said she sobbed when the Catholic Church came out against its use: she had a toddler and a new baby–just 14 months apart–and was justifiably freaked out that, before she knew it, she’d have an entire litter to raise. The other, just prior to her wedding, which was to take place in between she and her husband-to-be’s senior years of college, was denied the Pill by her Catholic doctor. (Which should give us an additional something or two to think about, in light of today’s “conscience clauses,” which allow hospital workers and pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions, based on their own beliefs.) She got pregnant on their honeymoon. She loves her children, of course, but she said she wonders what kind of path her life would have taken, had things been different. But the best call was from a man, a physician, who said there was one woman in his class at med school. In 1990, he returned to that school, as Dean, to a class of med students that was nearly 50% female. And he thought it was wonderful: “Women are born healers,” he said. “Men have to be taught.”

Indeed, left without the excuse that hiring women–or even accepting them into school–would be a waste, as they might get pregnant and drop out or quit at any time, women’s numbers both in the workplace and in college exploded. Which is, of course, good stuff. The Pill, low unemployment (Gibbs quotes federal manpower expert Howard Stambler saying, of 1966′s 3.8% unemployment rate, “There are almost no men left” to hire), the strengthening women’s movement, Title IX, they all conspired to bring women into the fold. And, historically speaking, quickstyle. But, pithy as ever, Gloria Steinem in 1962 offered an insightful warning:

‘The real danger of the contraceptive revolution may be the acceleration of woman’s role change without any corresponding change of man’s attitude toward her role.’

And that, dear reader, is the rub–and not just in terms of man’s attitude. But in terms of our own aptitude to deal with all the incredible choices we have before us–and in society’s aptitude to support the woman who wants both, to be a mother to her children and the mistress of her own destiny.

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