Goldman Sachs says thanks, Double X!
25 March 2010
Why does Slate’s XX Factor exist? Initially the site told us it was “A Magazine By Women, But Not Just For Women” (the language of which is exasperating enough), and now it’s “What Women Really Think.” Personally, I can only read it if I hold my nose. Although its writers take on questions of interest to women, they most often embrace a shocking anti-feminism — appearing to assume on the one hand that women are fully equal to men, and dismissing with the other hand feminists who think otherwise.
Take, for example, this post by K.J. Dell’Antonia that might as well be a big gift to so many corporations, law firms, and universities who treat their female employees as second-class citizens if they dare seek a reduced work schedule in order to bear and raise children. Dell’Antonia writes about the female Goldman Sachs executive who was offered a “mommy track” to reduce her hours while she adopted the primary caregiving responsibilities in her family; when she wanted to return to her full-time job, she was then told by Goldman that her position had been eliminated. Suck it up, Dell’Antonia advises — Goldman can only be expected to be compliant up to a point.
That’s right, women: we are exactly the same as men, and are so fully equal to them in all respects that our requests for “special treatment” like serving as primary caregivers are abhorrent, full stop. You’re in or you’re out, moms! Employers must have their rights protected, even when they giveth a part-time job with one hand, and then with the other taketh the entire job away when it’s less convenient.
Now, I’m not saying that questions about the mommy track are simple. In fact, the question of motherhood and involvement in the workplace have been percolating for years, punctuated by the New York Times Magazine‘s famous “Opt-Out Revolution” article by Lisa Belkin and the terrific response by Susan Douglas, first in In These Times and then her book, The Mommy Myth.
But no matter how contentious these questions remain, I can assure Double X that taking Goldman Sachs’ perspective is not “what women really think.” But Goldman sends you a big kiss anyway.