Learning As We Go

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: May 23, 2008 12:02 PM
Here is a piece by Rebecca Walker (daughter of Alice Walker, author of "The Color Purple") that every woman -- especially every  young woman -- should read, in a world where we're often told that ambition and professional achievement is a woman's highest and best calling.

Rebecca Walker has chosen a path very different from her mother's; her life is both a testament to the cost that feminism's "do your own thing" ethic has imposed and a hopeful sign that succeeding generations can learn from their mothers' mistakes.  One particularly moving passage:

The ease with which people can get divorced these days doesn't take into account the toll on children. That's all part of the unfinished business of feminism.

Then there is the issue of not having children. Even now, I meet women in their 30s who are ambivalent about having a family. They say things like: 'I'd like a child. If it happens, it happens.' I tell them: 'Go home and get on with it because your window of opportunity is very small.' As I know only too well.

Then I meet women in their 40s who are devastated because they spent two decades working on a PhD or becoming a partner in a law firm, and they missed out on having a family. Thanks to the feminist movement, they discounted their biological clocks. They've missed the opportunity and they're bereft.

Based on what I've seen, it's all too true.