Posts From Author: the feminine mystique

Wonder Women: Debora Spar on Feminism, Perfection, and Where To Next

Instead of seizing upon the liberation that had been handed to us, we twisted it somehow into a charge: because we could do anything, we felt as if we had to do everything. And by following unwittingly along this path, we have condemned ourselves, if not to failure, then at least to the constantly nagging sense that something is wrong. That we are imposters. That we have failed. — Debora Spar Debora Spar, the current president of the women-only Barnard College, has written a probing-damning-optimistic report card on the state of feminism in the twenty-first century. Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013) is in some ways a two-hundred-and-fifty-page sigh of regret. Spar’s generation is one step removed from the women who read Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique and asked themselves, “Is this all?” Growing up in the 1970s against a backdrop of increased sexual freedom, Charlie’s Angels, and a huge shift in favour of women in the workplace, it was disarmingly easy for Spar’s generation to distance themselves from the widely reported extremities of the women’s movement — Ti-Grace Atkinson insisting that marriage means rape, say, or Shulamith Firestone’s assertion that “pregnancy is barbaric”. The net result for Spar […]
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