Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Why Women Can't Have It All... Or Can They? (**HealthyButJuicy REPOST**)

I just stumbled upon's recently-published article: Why The Woman Who 'Has It All' Doesn't Really Exist'.

'Why Women Can't Have It All, According To Barnard College President Debora L. Spar', though, is the title that actually appeared on my Facebook newsfeed and one that drew me in.

Barnard, in case you didn't know, is Columbia's all-women sister school— I went to Columbia, only reason I know. I was curious to see what this Barnard president had to say, expecting something empowering and inspirational. Something on the lines of: 'Feeling down about yourself? [Yes]. Don't feel bad because it's an ideal/unrealizable goal anyway. [...Ok, but that's not what Facebook is telling me...].

The article's headlining photo is a woman dressed as Wonder Woman running in New York City's midtown with a hoard of other women running after her trying to keep up.

As you can see, the woman is 'svelte', 'scantily-clad', hair so thick 'like Beyonce', beautiful enough to be in Glamour's publication, and, actually, real. How appropriate. Does she, the model, have it all..? Clearly, I'm missing the point but the image is loud, hard-to-miss, and relevant. No?

Spar touches on major life areas— self-image, marriage, motherhood, and career— pointing out despite womens' increasing freedom, we are pin-holing ourselves into a greater misery than when we were suppressed. She writes, 'Feminism was meant to remove a fixed set of expectations; instead, we now interpret it as a route to personal perfection. Because we can do anything, we feel as if we have to do everything. In other words, women today face towering expectations: a pileup of the roles society's long heaped on us, plus the opportunities feminism created.'

On this note, Spar has a point. While feminism has opened a lot of doors, at the same time, it has also increased the pressure to achieve more. But is that a bad thing? And is striving for more the same as trying to be perfect? It's one thing to beat yourself up over things you can't necessarily control like finding your soulmate or even landing your dream job— yeah, that's not HealthyButJuicy— but it's another thing to blast others for trying to reach their goals and criticizing 'Why Women Should Stop Trying to Be Perfect'.

Because what about the writer/speaker herself? Spar is the president of 'arguably the most important all-women’s college in the United States', or at least that's what is touted on her book's description on She is a mother of three, is married to a husband whom she 'adores', and engages in the daily 'burden' of keeping up appearances by spending about 282 hours per year on beauty (unlike the noted, average 30hrs/year compared to men).

It's funny. She shares...
On beauty: 'Any magazine rack confirms our obsession with one scantily clad celebrity after another... As a requirement for success, beauty becomes just another burden.' Huh? Why is this woman publishing her thoughts in Glamour of all places?— a woman's 'guide to the latest fashion trends, outfit ideas, hair + makeup how-tos, and celebrity scoop', and where the focus is all about beauty and 'burden'.

On marriage: 'Marry someone you love and like; finding a person who doesn't care if you're perfect is a good start.' You hear that ladies?! Stop wasting your time on douche-bags you don't even like. Duh. It's easy as finding a box of fiber cereal for breakfast, a great way to start the day. Try the supermarket?

On motherhood: 'Now we've set the standard that if you can become a biological mom—by spending exorbitantly and undergoing endless medical procedures—then you should. Is that liberating? To me, it feels like another way women have to be perfect or, in this case, perfectly fertile.' Ouch. Let's seriously hope her infertile 'friend' doesn't see that comment...

On work: 'Professional women are frequently asked, "How do you do it?" I hate the query, because doing it all, as is expected of women today, is not doable.' But seriously, how did she do it?

Her conclusion: 'The most crucial thing for women to know today? No one does it all. We each, if we're lucky, will have our chance to leave a mark on the world, but we are trying too hard to be perfect. So don't emulate Wonder Woman; think about what's wonderful to you instead. Then boldly, audaciously, joyfully, leave the rest behind.'

In other words, 'You'd be lucky if you have any impact in this world. Stop trying to be like me. And just settle.'

HealthyButJuicy thinks otherwise.

On beauty: To reiterate MissGlamorazzi's philosophy, 'Makeup is a supplement, not a requirement.' Other than maintaining acceptable hygiene (ie. showering), if you adhere to a beauty routine that feels burdensome, stop it. Use the time to work on your inner beauty.

On love: Source

On motherhood: However you became a mother— through sex, adoption, or one of the 'at least 15 additional ways.. none of which involve sex'— makes you no less of a woman nor crazy.

On being a homemaker: Spar referred to the toils of having to make this dish— Harvest Vegetable Pancakes With Greens and Goat Cheese via Martha Stewart's Everyday Day Food magazine. This is yet another case and point about the author and reason to question how relevant what she is saying is to the average consumer/woman/reader. Who makes vegetable pancakes with beets, carrots, potatoes, and chickpeas? From scratch? Seriously. Who? At the risk of sounding controversial, people who are health-conscious might. People who have the time might. People who are highly educated are the most likely. Time and time again, studies show folks with higher education tend to be healthier. It's an unfortunate disparity but one that still has not yet been bridged. Moreover, it doesn't help when leaders in our educational field don't help, or even make the gap wider with garbage to sell.

On work: There will always be someone out there who is better than you. Likewise, though, there will always be someone out there who lacks your talent. But who even cares? It's not about them, it's about you.

The HealthyButJuicy conclusion: Like everything you hear about health, take what Spar is saying with a grain of salt and always ask questions. Is she a reliable source of information? What will you do differently (if anything) and, ultimately, will your actions make you a better, happier version of you?

All in all, women can't always get what they want. That much is true. Neither can men. But does that necessarily and automatically restrict your ability to be happy, to have drive, to be HealthyButJuicy, or to have it 'all'?

I'm single and unemployed. I lost 10 years of my life to illness, and friends and career-building time along with it. I have this beautiful sunshine I call daughter and the most amazing mother that is an angelic warrior who loves me. I smile. And I laugh. It's not a perfect life nor am I expecting it to be but I kinda feel like I do sorta have it all... Is that crazy?

What're your thoughts? On Spar's opinions, article on women, perfectionism, and having it 'all'? Share below in the Comments and/or Tweet us your thoughts. We'd love to hear!

Happy Healthy Juicy Women! HealthyButJuicy believes in you! xoxo :>

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