Careers For Women

Many people would object that most women don’t want careers. I suspect that women themselves would agree, but I also wonder if deep inside they don’t feel the kind of puzzled uneasiness that we always experience when obliged to accept a formulation that makes us lose either way… When we say career it connotes a demanding, rigorous, preordained life pattern, to whose goals everything else is ruthlessly subordinated — everything pleasurable, human, emotional, bodily, frivolous… Thus when a man asks a woman if she wants a career, it is intimidating. He is saying, are you willing to suppress half of your being as I am, neglect your family as I do, exploit personal relationships as I do, renounce all personal spontaneity as I do? Naturally, she shudders a bit and shuffles back to the broom closet. She even feels a little sorry for him and bewails the unkind fate that has forced him against his will to become such a despicable person…

A more effective (revolutionary, confronting) response would be to admit that a career, thus defined, is indeed undesirable — that (now that you mention it) it seems like a pernicious activity for any human being to engage in and should be eschewed by both men and women.

~ Philip Slater (1927-05-15 2013-06-20 age:86)