Highly educated, 30-something white women choose not to rule the world!

This article in Salon- “Clueless in Manhattan” by Joan Walsh criticizes the article in The New York Times by Lisa Belkin “The Opt-Out Revolution”

Walsh characterizes Belkin’s perspective as a blinkered, lightweight, elitist analysis that short changes women’s real ambitions by making it OK to “opt out”, and make the non-pursuit of power and fame an empowering choice that is quite deliberately chosen. In reading Belkin’s article, however, I’m not so sure Walsh’s critique is really on point, as she mainly seems to be saying it’s OK not to want to to rule the world. Is this a valid and empowering, practical real world choice that women can make without being anti-feminist, or is this simply the rationalization of a “small cohort of privileged 30-something white women” choosing the easy way out.

Belkin-The Opt-Out Revolution -

Walsh -“Clueless in Manhattan”

Well if they don’t want to rule the world, when I reach 30 I’ll be quite happy to do it for them.

Damn. I only have 4 months left to rule the world? I have absolutely nothing to wear.

And once again they completely ignore the existence of women who don’t particularly crave motherhood OR a career. Or who crave both and manage fine.

Why on earth, in 2003, do people still assume a women can choose from only two options ? Or do both badly ? Haven’t we all got beyond that yet ?

It’s easier to opt out of ruling the world when you have married a man who is ruling the world. So you are in effect ruling the world by proxy.

If these women had to support their families, they’d go out and get a job!

OK, I will step up and admit that the description of these women fits me pretty well.

I’m pushing 30, I have a very good job where I feel that I am being groomed towards positions of power and responsibility, and I will soon be finished with my M.A. from Johns Hopkins University. I’m also married and have no kids and no plans to have any.

But I don’t really want to move much higher in my career than I am right now. I don’t want the buck to stop here. I like my job, I enjoy the work I do and feel it’s important. But I don’t want to be in charge, and money, although nice, is only important up to the point that I can pay my bills and live in reasonable comfort with something in the bank. I’m more interested in freedom from worry and inconvenience than owning expensive stuff.

Like I said, I probably won’t have any children. It’s not that I hate kids, but they just don’t capture my imagination in the way my other interests do. And I think that bringing children into an environment where they are not wholeheartedly desired is a pretty unfair thing to do.

Like Goo said, many of us have other interests that supercede career and children.

If I can speak as a member of the “XY” set…

I have no illusions that I’ll one day rule the world. I’m a techno-geek and I’ve risen about as high as I can go in this field without converting to management. Frankly, I’m good at what I do and I enjoy doing it.

As a man, I feel that I also have pressure to move up and succeed more. Saying that I’m content with what I have is going against the standard male expectations, too.

I see nothing wrong with a woman choosing to against the “feminist expectation”.

Heck, the only reason to rule the world, for me, is better salary.