SW hearts Michelle Obama

Possibly my favorite political statement of all time:

I was raised to believe I could do it all, and that was very empowering. Then I got into the work force and realized there was really no support for me to do it all. ... We either have to fix that or be honest about it.

Michelle Obama as quoted in a NYT op-ed by Gail Collins.
h/t Sheril.

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the problem is the myth that you can do it all.

Life is choices, not doing it all. Some things can be fixed so that we can choose to do more. but doing it all is unreasonable expectations and about as possible as Enzyte actually enhancing male prowess.

When I hear those words of Michelle Obama, I can't help cringing at the thought of "doing it all." To me the role of Superwoman or Supermom has always come across as coercive. Why are we supposed to do it *all*, isn't that what having a partner is for? Nobody questions whether a man can "do it all" because nobody expects him to. He's beyond sainthood if he gets up in the night when the baby cries or takes an hour off of work to pick the kids up from school. I doubt we can "fix it" through any policy initiative either but honesty is a good start. How about pointing out to young women that the very idea they *should* "do it all" is a fact of the inequality we face. How about shaming our men into doing part?

I guess doing it all is a modern idea. When I was born, my father hired a full time hand to help with the ranch work until I was about three years old. I suppose it was not expected that mother could both take care of me and still be a full time hand on the ranch.

By Jim Thomerson (not verified) on 01 Sep 2008 #permalink

Great quote. . . doing it all is a myth. . . we just keep killing ourselves to attain it. . . and we don't know why we do it or if it is worth it.

What's the saying, you can do it all, but not all at once? Definitely my experience too.

By gymlabrat (not verified) on 02 Sep 2008 #permalink

MO is made of teh awesome.
Doing it all - ha.
The hilarious thing is that men don't even do half and yet they think they are doing it all. An idea of which they sorely need disabused.

Oh, thank goodness someone else thinks so, too. I was beginning to think I was failing, and now I see I'm just normal.

zuska, maybe your man doesn't do half, but the stereotyped position that "men" don't even do half as insulting as women can't do math

There are many fields in which (for biological reasons) the outstanding individuals almost always do their work while young, before being relegated to an authority/supervisory role later in life. Mathematics, physics, and many other sciences largely fall into this category, as do the military professions. Also for biological reasons, childbearing is more distracting to women in these fields than it is to men, and moreover, impossible for women to postpone until later in life.
"Being honest" to women entering these fields seems like a better idea than trying to fix it...even if it results in fewer women entering these fields.

I've yet to hear anything approaching a valid biological reason why outstanding individuals "always do their best work while young". And I'm an outstanding extra-young biologist, so one would think I would understand Biological Reasons.
That said, we need uterine replicators, darn it.

@Zuska- MO is made of God and Win.