never married, over forty, a little bitter


I found this interview fairly confusing except for the end:

In the wake of your book and “Lean In,” there’s been a lot of discussion about women balancing work and family, but not much discussion (with some exceptions) about women actually working less, or actually having more time to spend with your family — or just yourself.

Yeah. That’s really funny. This happened to me as a lightning bolt on the stage. I think I was talking about the wage gap – the problem with the way that we talk about the wage gap, the 77 cents on the dollar, is that some portion of that is due to the fact that women work fewer hours. So I was thinking, OK, in order to close that wage gap — some of the wage gap, not all of it — you could just work more. And then it occurred to me — well, that’s stupid.

Instead of saying we want to close the wage gap, we want to work as hard as men and be eligible for all those jobs, something deep within me suddenly rebelled. Maybe it’s because I’m 40, and I was like, I don’t actually want to. I don’t want to. I would rather that you remade – again, this sounds gaga idealistic – but I’d rather you remade the economy so we had six weeks of vacation and everybody worked a little bit less.

You sometimes read studies that are like “young millennial boys in their 20s have the same expectations of the workplace as a 42-year-old woman with three children. They want more flexible hours, and they want more time.” It’s what we’re after — and that’s kind of why I’m happy that Anne-Marie Slaughter has framed it not just as another woman’s issue, but a kind of care-taking as a part of the human experience and something that makes us who we are.

Now, care-taking is still being cautious and safe. It doesn’t allow for a young person who doesn’t want to care-take, who wants to do something else with their time. But it’s a little step in the right direction. It’s a little step in recognizing that we are not working machines. Even these discussions that Arianna Huffington has about rest, if you actually read the language of that, it’s like “rest in order to perfect the machine.” We use all these battery metaphors, like “recharge yourself” and “rest so when you go back to work you can be more productive and efficient.” It doesn’t allow for the fact that you might not want to be successful at all, that you don’t want to be thinking of that as your ultimate goal.

So that’s where I am in life, in my year between start and finish. Maybe I was just tired of being on the book tour too long, but that definitely hit me one day. I was like, “I don’t want that.” But I’m really not alone. A lot of women say that on surveys and it drives people crazy – like I edited a great story for XX once about Dutch women in Holland and how the Dutch government is desperately trying to get women in Holland to work full-time, and unlike other places, they add incentives, they’ll do anything to get women to work full-time, and they don’t want to. And it’s not just women with children – like the answers they give on forms are like, “I want to go to a yoga class,” “I want to go to coffee with a friend.” And we laugh at that, but there are worse things. There are worse things than being a Dutch woman at a yoga class at 3:00 on a Thursday.

the loneliest planet

I’ve been watching Julia Loktev’s The Loneliest Planet this weekend and the central piece of dramatic action has struck a nerve with me. I can’t entirely recommend the film–it is slow as molasses–but it certainly captures the way a relationship slowly shifts once hidden priorities are revealed.

It reminds me of the relationship with my roommate. He just bought his own place in my building; in the long run it’s for the best for both of us, but in the short-term I’ll be exposed to more economic uncertainty. We are getting along fine and some playfulness is back, but after having witnessed a “me first” mentality in him, I can’t imagine things will ever be like they were.

A bit about the film:

This new movie wonders, with equally piquant existentialism, what happens when a stupid glitch or a selfish gesture upends your belief — be it romantic or religious. How do you go on? People will argue that Loktev is flirting with commentary on gender roles. There is that, but the movie is more sophisticated than a sort of feminism. Under similar circumstances, any relationship of any combination of genders would undergo some kind of self-examination. The movie captures a kind of tragedy of self. Who, really, are you under the X-ray of pressure and can that person be overlooked or forgiven?