Sunday, November 6, 2016

Wonder Women: Sex, Power and the Quest for Perfection by Debra Spar

Debra Spar was raised in the wake of the 60's, when the feminist movement was in full swing and never really considered herself a feminist or a beneficiary of the feminist movement.  Her life, though, demonstrates that it was - she is currently the President of Barnard College and was one of the few first female professors at Harvard Business School. Her argument is that in spite of women having made a number of different strides forward, they still can't have it all. Her book also serves as a call to all women to dispel and kill the myths that make them feel so woefully inadequate.

What I really liked about this book were the coherency of the arguments and the accessibility of source material - it was easily and fully annotated and easy to understand.  What I also really enjoyed was that it got me thinking about my own assumptions about why I did some of the things that I did and why I felt some of the things that I felt.

What I didn't like was that it seemed to repackage a tired, old argument that everyone knows about:  Women have struggled with the assumptions placed on them for decades (maybe even centuries).  It was repackaged to the well educated professional woman and excludes addressing issues of class, race and sexuality.  It doesn't address populations that work minimum wage jobs or who are lesbians, bisexual or transgendered.  It doesn't address women in the military.  The fact that it left out whole swathes of populations really was disappointing to me because this book could have done so much to forward the "why do I need to have it all?" sort of argument.

Generally an interesting read, but don't expect it to solve the world's problems.


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