"Contrary to the fears of some pundits, the ascent of women does not portend the end of men. It offers a new beginning for both." So argues Stephanie Coontz in the New York Times most emailed article (as of this morning), "The Myth of Male Decline." Though polemics on the tanking of men as a gender abound these says, Coontz has some real talk—and some real data—to suggest there is a lot more to the "end of men" story.
The shadow argument for the old "Having it All" conversation, which should probably be retired along with cutesy words like Mancession and He-Covery, is the idea that men who are not breadwinners are undermining patriarchy and male power. I've wondered for a long time if the so-called mancession, which most mainstream media reported was the worst fallout of the recent recession because man jobs were declining as women were getting more work (in pink collar professions?), was good for feminism.
It's only been a little while and I'm already missing Joan and Peggy from Mad Men. I can tell because their roles this season made me think about the archetypes of women in the workplace and how some of them have played out in popular culture.
This of course was prompted by Joan's power play and Peggy's uneasy flirtation/acceptance of power.
Here in the 21st century, women who wield power in business are placed into one of a few categories. You can add more.
Anne-Marie Slaughter's new cover story for the Atlantic is out today. In it, she discusses how "women still can't have it all" and outlines some possible solutions to the work-life conundrum she's faced in her career as a professor and government official.
I don't have a child, but on behalf of my parent friends who are working and have to make special arrangements, I was outraged to read this Think Progress story about how the U.S. measures up compared to other nations.
Do you encounter male condescension at work? Does it come from men in traditional marriages—which I assume means partnerships in which women don't work? Was it verbal or in the form of failing to promote you? I was trying to figure out if I ever had this experience with women being condescending, too, because I wasn't operating according to the corporate culture the way they deemed I should. I think I can count more women like that on both hands than I can men—but that might just be my experience.
For a long time I was overly modest about my work and sometimes I still am. But I have male colleagues and peers who go overboard talking about themselves and their work. At the end of the day, they get better-paying and more frequent gigs because they know how to advocate for themselves. Nobody tells them that they need to pipe down because no one wants to hear it. Self-advocacy is huge.
I was lucky to have a combination of humble and down to earth mentors in real life and to understand how it important it was to be careful about who you take your cues from in the business world. What works for everybody else may not work for you, especially if you are a feminist.