A promotion at work, a happy marriage, and more time with the kids: Can women have it all?
Anne-Marie Slaughter, a woman who seemingly had it all—having worked as a State Department official, a law professor, and a Princeton dean with two teenage sons to boot—took that question, and in a recent cover story in The Atlantic, incredibly answered no.
The article, titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” suggests that we, as a society, have to be more realistic about the possibility of balancing a career and a family—because, according to Slaughter, it’s much harder than we’re led to believe. (Cue: controversy! Check out this response from Slate.)
For all its heat, this is hardly an issue unique to our time, according to Rachel Mesch, a SUP author-to-be. In fact, Mesch traces this controversy back 100 years and across the Atlantic (pun intended) to the covers of French magazines in the Belle Époque. Instead of being docile, women were photographed as climbers, scholars, and athletes—capable, that is, of both femininity and feminism. In other words, a century ago people were already talking about what we refer to today as the "modern woman."
For more on this and the path taken by 20th-century feminism, look for Rachel Mesch’s upcoming book, to be released in Fall 2013. In the meantime, get a taste for her book in her recent piece in Slate.