I haven’t read the book yet (it comes out today), but this is from Sunday’s NY Times Q & A with Debora Spar, President of Barnard and author of Wonder Women: Sex, Power and the Quest for Perfection:
“….I raced home from work, I was putting dinner on the table, and I was racing out the door to go to a PTA meeting. My son, who was all of 8 at the time, said, “Why are you doing this?” I looked at him and said, “It’s very important to me that I go to your school.” He said, “Why?” I said, “Well, I’m part of the community and this is about you and your school.” And he said, “I want you home.” It was one of those moments. I realized I was trying to be a perfect community member on top of being a professional and a mother, and I couldn’t do it all. I stopped going to PTA meetings after that.”
The Times says that in her book, Ms. Spar argues
that at every stage of life, from childhood to old age, women are straining to reach impossible standards.
“My generation made a mistake,” Ms. Spar writes. “We took the struggles and the victories of feminism and interpreted them somehow as a pathway to personal perfection. We privatized feminism and focused only on our dreams and our own inevitable frustrations.”
Is Ms. Spar’s generation my generation? A 40-year-old’s? Not sure. But as the mother of two daughters, I’m interested in the possible ramifications of what Spar calls the “privatization of feminism.”