For years, women have been told that they have to choose between raising a family and pursuing a successful career. But why does it have to be either/or? Why can't women just choose neither?
I was in the supermarket the other evening, stocking up on string cheese and those pouches where you squeeze the yogurt straight into your mouth. Heck, it's 2016. Who has time for a spoon? Standing next to me in the breakfast aisle was an attractive, though frazzled-looked, woman in her thirties. She was wearing a professional-looking business suit. I'm guessing she had just finished up a long day at the office. She must've picked up her young son from daycare before stopping in to grab some groceries. Her son was not happy. He was throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the supermarket aisle. He was lying on his back, screaming and crying and pointing to everything he wanted. The exasperated woman was trying to pull him up by the hand, unsuccessfully. She looked like she was about to cry. Feeing compassion, I did my best to gently and unobtrusively push her shopping cart to the left as I reached for my Apple Jacks.
And who was this uncooperative little tyke, making life miserable for his mother? It was none other than pop culture superstar Kanye West.
Or maybe it wasn't. I'm not good with faces. Nevertheless, what was more interesting to me was this woman's obvious frustration. Oh, I'm sure her life is filled with pleasant moments, too. Perhaps she has Netflix? But, at that moment, wrestling a brat in aisle five, exhausted from climbing the corporate ladder, was she contemplating her life choices?
I've been thinking about her all day. I'm obsessed with the private life of a woman I don't know. Now I understand how it feels to be a politician trying to ban abortion.
There was a successful book, later a movie starring Julia Roberts, called Eat Pray Love: The Force Awakens. Or maybe it was Eat Pray Love: The Search for Something. Whatever. I didn't read or see it. It's 2016. Who has time for research?
But anyway, these are the things that seem to make people happy: eating, praying for more food, and loving life- making an emotional connection with other human beings and with our natural surroundings. Nobody wants to read a book called One Woman's Journey: Promotion, Children, Mandatory Monthly Sex Night with Your Fat Ungrateful Husband. Why? Because those things suck.
It's like when parents sign their kid up for Little League and they say, "You can win and show good sportsmanship at the same time." It's a manipulative statement, brainwashing you into assuming that if can do both simultaneously, then they must both be appealing." In actuality, you'd rather just be home playing video games, eating Doritos. "During practice, I want you to run three laps around the field in the hot sun." "Okay, Douchebag! I mean... Coach."
The morning talk shows are so busy analyzing whether or not women can be successful in business while raising children at the same time, they're missing out on the more obvious question. Rather than the unappreciative family and the weekly board meetings, might it be better to just enjoy life? There's nothing wrong with just earning a living and doing stuff you like to do: walking your dog, painting, watching Internet porn specifically designed for women where the actors cuddle and engage in sweet romantic conversation after they bang, listening to music, etc. Somehow, everything is shallow until you get to family and career. And only then does it become a worthwhile discussion. Well, I don't agree. And I bet a lot of women don't, either.
If I may speak on behalf of every single woman ever... Ladies, don't feel guilty. You don't have to try to balance a family and your career goals. Instead, don't have a family and don't make any career goals. In other words, you can have it all!
Actually, you'll probably feel more fulfilled in a job where you don't have to wear a power suit to work. And you can use those free extra hours- just think of all the time you'll save not dragging the kids to soccer practice- to fight for your right to earn a decent wage.
You see, "career" is a socially constructed concept, controlled by those in power- in this case, men. When we think of a "career woman," we're thinking of the kind of jobs that men do. You know those men- the ones getting out of taxicabs in big cities holding briefcases and walking into large buildings, where they teleconference with businessmen from China and synergize with the VP of marketing to develop strategies for corporate growth. These are the men who spend most of the afternoon playing fantasy football on-line, since their stupid high-paying jobs are meaningless and completely unnecessary to the overall functioning of a society.
Type in Google search: Women Balancing Career and Family and Hulk Hogan Sex Tape. (Warning: NSFW) Or, just to be safe, only type in "Women Balancing Career and Family." Now click on the Google "images" tab. See a common thread? Notice that all the women in the pictures look the same. I mean, yeah, they're all white. But also... they're dressed and styled in a certain way. They look like businesswomen.
How come there aren't any kindergarten teachers in the "career woman" pictures? Being a kindergarten teacher is a career. Being a dental hygienist is a career. Managing a beauty parlor is a career.
But women are kindergarten teachers. Women are dental hygienists. Therefore, these jobs aren't valued. Therefore, they're not highly paid. Therefore, the women in these professions are not part of the "can you have both a successful career and family" conversation.
Society defines career and importance not by what the objective nature of the job is, but by who is doing it. Trust me- if Khloe Kardashian and Charlie Sheen became rocket scientists, the expression "you don't have to be a rocket scientist" would take on a different meaning. "You drove the car into a river!? What, are you a rocket scientist?!"
Some Donald Trump supporters argue, "He'll be a good President because he's a businessman." But what does being a businessman have to do with being a political leader? Kindergarten teachers have to be in charge, they're responsible for people's lives, they have to keep things organized, they're on a budget, they have to keep things moving, they have to work with uncooperative brats. In other words- the job requirements to be President of the United States. Meanwhile, Donald Trump sells crappy suits. Yes, that's what we want in our Commander-in-Chief.
Personally, when it comes to electing the leader of the free world, I'd put my trust in a good kindergarten teacher than a businessman. Kindergarten teachers don't send me spam.
But kindergarten teachers are women. So they're not valued. So they don't get paid a lot. So they're not taken seriously as career women.
Now, if eighty years ago, more and more men started becoming kindergarten teachers, if ninety years ago, more and more men started taking over traditional women's jobs, and now the majority of people in these occupations were men... well, then, did you check out my neighbor's new Ferrari? Of course he can afford it; he's a nurse. Men are in jobs that make more money because men are doing these jobs.
Why do women earn seventy-eight cents on the dollar? It's not because of overt discrimination. It's not because they have to take time off to raise their kids. Rather, women earn less money because they're women. In America, feminized jobs are less valued.
And for those women battling the pay gap by becoming doctors and college professors? News flash. Doctors and college professors aren't held in the same high regard as they were fifty years ago, and they don't make as much money. Why? Because more and more women are becoming doctors and college professors.
To be a professor used to be a prestigious profession. But now, there's a correlation between the growing number of female university professors and blatant disrespect towards professors: students texting in class, demanding higher grades, and on-line websites where college kids can anonymously disrespect their teachers. Oh- and also demands for free college.
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is endorsing a plan to offer free college for everyone. Well, I doubt the country will be better with more people in college... though it might make Spring Break more fun. A more effective use for that money- and to strengthen the family unit- would be to pay women to stay home and raise their kids. But, of course, no politician would endorse that idea. It sounds absurd. Yes, "free college" and "build a giant wall around Mexico" are now legitimate, serious campaign promises. But paying women to raise emotionally stable, respectful children sounds ridiculous. But it only sounds ridiculous because that's what women do.
Ladies, having a successful career while raising a family doesn't have to be either/or. Either men will let it happen or they won't.