|Topic: Can Women Have It All?|
Dear Class, You are to write an essay with at least 3 pages each (though they can and should be longer), then at least four other sources from any legitimate mainstream book, journal article, periodical, or newspaper. NO DICTIONARIES OR ENCYCLOPEDIAS, ESPECIALLY WIKIPEDIA ARE NOT ALLOWED. You must properly cite a source for anything that is not common knowledge, let alone if you quote from it (use the APA standard). The more sources and citations, the better your grade will be (for good social science opinions need facts to back them up).
Can Women Have It All?
Every society comprises people from all walks of life and who have varying beliefs, opinions, and facts about what happens around their life. The contemporary world has become highly competitive; in the process, people are being driven towards striving more and working harder to succeed. Having it all can carry different meanings for everyone since what one may consider as an achievement might not be a priority for another. When this question is asked about women, it is in most cases seen to point towards having a successful career and being able to maintain a healthy and well-functioning family. However, what it really means for a woman to have it all remains a debatable question, and opinions will vary greatly from individual to individual. Women can have it all by working hard, claiming their place in a world that increasingly embraces gender equality, and striving to achieve work-life balance in order to be able to take care of their families. At the same time, they should define goals, set out to them step by step, and certainly stay positive at all times.
When taken literally, having it all could mean having everything in life. Pragmatically speaking, such a feat may not be possible for anyone, let alone a woman. Meanwhile, debate is ongoing in both academia and popular mediato try to determine if it is possible for the modern women to achieve everything in life. In a Huff Postarticle,Michaela Fox argued that to her, having it all does not necessarily mean attaining equilibrium between a successful vocation and a family; rather, it means being content and happy with oneself (Fox, 2014). Happiness should be found in the satisfaction with what one has achieved as opposed to striving to meet societal expectations (Shannon, 2014).
In her book You Can Have It All(2005), Mary Kay points out that it is possible to achieve what one sets out to so long as priorities are laid out in the right manner. Understanding what one wants is the key to being successful as long as one works through goals step by step (Kay, 1995). Stressing and trying to be the ultimate woman, a “superwoman”, only makes one vulnerable to failure. To be successful, women should also learn how to deal with societal anticipations and beliefs, including the male dominance “fact”. Thus, this brings in another meaning of having it all, which is, knowing what one wants, attaining goals step by step and certainly being positive in person. Therefore, incorporating the two explanations, having it all implies achieving goals bit by bit and being content. By so doing, one can identify the areas that need improving and work on them.
Pressures from the expectations of the society could result to women trying to show the world that they can certainly do it. Traditionally, men were the professionals and women stayed at home to tend to their families. However, this has changed due to factors like increased living standards and the rise of sexism. According to feminists, certain forces result in the subordination of women to men unwillingly hence their value or position in the society belittled. The stereotypes about career women undermining their competence could affect how they are perceived in work places (Ezzedeen, Budworth& Baker, 2015). As a result, as women get ready to venture into the career-family world, they might feel intimidated consequently, resulting in the need to challenge the stereotype and prove they can have it all.
According to Bell Hooks in her book, feminism is a struggle that wants to end the sexist oppression (Hooks, 2000). The author points out that there is the need to wipe out the idea of male domination where every individual (whether male or female) will get relatively average chance to economic expansion and political awareness and exposure to opportunities. Feminism aspires to erase the notion of men being better than women, consequently parading for gender equality in the sense that women can be as good as men (or better).
In efforts to keep up with men and defy societal expectations, majority of women will go to extra miles to portray the image of the perfect lady who can juggle work-family duties and responsibilities without failing in either. For instance, a working mother will have to wake up earlier to prepare her husband and children and clean after them (Caine, 2009). She has to create time for morning exercises to keep fit and in shape. In the office, she has to be on time and diligently perform her duties. She has to think about her family’s dinner and children’s homework. Unexpected situations will also require her attention like sick children, financial constraints among others. This is definitely a burden for anyone and one needs to establish a way of navigating the challenges and avoid hurting themselves trying to do it all; alone.
Studies show that such women are likely to have difficulties in delegating their duties, either at home or at work (Hill, 2005). However, they can employ a domestic help for duties at home or share responsibilities with others, thus, by so doing, they will eventually get what they want. This shifts the debate from the concept of “having it all” to that of “having it”, albeitstep by step. This means they can achieve targets and goals even though not all at once.
As discussed, the idea of women having it all has been interpreted as involving career accomplishments and success in terms of maintaining healthy, fully-functional families. It can be difficult for a woman to maintain balance in these two aspects, meaning that most women are unable to have it all at once. Thus, contentment at what one has achieved so far should be the ultimate goal, which can be loosely interpreted to mean “having it”. In addition, a woman cannot be expected to do it all, meaning that assistance is needed to make it easier for them to focus on areas which are likely to yield better results.
Caine, C., (2009). Can I Have And Do It All, Please?Equip & Empower Ministries, Kindle Version.
Ezzedeen, S.R., Budworth, M. & Baker, S.D. (2015). The Glass Ceiling and Executive Careers: Still an Issue for Pre-Career Women. Journal of Career Development, 42(5), 355-369.
Fox, M., (2014). What Does Having It All Really Mean?Huffing Post.
Hill, E.J., (2005). Work-Family Facilitation and Conflict, Working Fathers and Mothers, Work-Family Stressors, and Support. Journal of Family Issues, 26(6), 793-819.
Hooks, B., (2000). Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, Second Edition.Cambridge, MA: South End Press.
Kay, M., (1995). You Can Have It All: Lifetime Wisdom from America’s Foremost Woman Entrepreneur, First Edition. Berkeley: Prima Lifestyles.
Shannon, A., (2014). Having It All: A New Definition. The Simply Luxurious Life.
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