Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Women, Can We Have It All?

I love it when a play stays with me. A few weeks ago, it was Death of a Salesman. These days, it is Gina Gionfriddo's Rapture, Blister, Burn, an exploration of feminism today. 

Meet Catherine, a successful attractive feminist writer and academic in her 40s. She has no man. She has no children. After her mother, the only person who truly cares about her, suffers a heart attack, fear of being alone sets in - so much so that she returns to her New England hometown and considers settling for her married porn-watching, dope-smoking, underachieving college ex-boyfriend.

Now, I'm oversimplifying Ms. Gionfriddo's wonderful and very funny play, which recently extended its run at Playwrights Horizon. However, the questions, thoughts that continue to roam through my mind after seeing the play are not quite as simple. 

As I watched the accomplished Diane Sawyer cling to Mike Nichols during the recent Tony telecast, I googled her bio to see whether the couple has any children together; I found it interesting that Diane Sawyer side stepped this reader question in a 2010 Time magazine article - Do you regret not having children? When you were younger, was it ever a choice between career and family? 

As I flipped though Metro New York, I noticed an article about the book The Spinsterlicious Life: 20 Life Lessons for Living Happily Single & Childfree written by a middle aged childless black woman who refuses to be pitied. I cynically recall the appalling statistics surrounding black marriage decline and rate of childlessness amongst high achieving black women. 

As I look around at the women in my world, I wonder - Who amongst them has it all? 
  • Robust, successful career. 
  • Loving marriage/relationship.  
  • Children (whose lives they are actually and actively a part of). 
I wonder - Can the average women in this country even have "all" these things or is "all" designated for a chosen few.

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