Skip to main content

tv   Book TV  CSPAN  October 5, 2013 9:00am-10:01am EDT

9:00 am
>> host: john from california, on the air. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. [inaudible question] .. trying to take away our takeover of the conservative movement. was it along those lines? >> guest: what you suggested is largely accurate. there's a lot of truth to that. the underlying thing, again, it is something have tried to do in the book, showed how his years in his personal life and prior to the white house some influence of what he did in the
9:01 am
white house, and you will see that wilson, you kno and you will see that wilson even when he was a college professor and college president, his real concern, having been relatively poor minister's on force to lever the playing field onomally and socially so when heet white house the real through line of the new freedom is a very progressive agenda was about introducme teardown big business, that was. what he really wanted to do was give every american the opportunity to get ahead. after the civil war has inevitably happens in many countries after wars, the desire for a change in leadership and in this case they got a very drastic change, warren harding,
9:02 am
a conservative, a very republican agenda that tried to undo most of woodrow wilson's thinking and his agenda. >> a friend of mine is reading wilson and she says with in the first ten to fifteen pages she basically learned woodrow wilson was a sex addict. >> i wouldn't say he was a sex addict. you withheld the american. that he was passionate and wasn't afraid to articulate that passion. he loved women, remained true to his wives. his first wife died in the white house and he remarried within a year, was married to his second wife. he had three daughters. most of his friends were women. he loved talking to them. loved playing to them. grew up with a doting mother and two older sisters.
9:03 am
that was the audience. >> host: next call from maryland. good afternoon. >> caller: i just finished reading about 1911, the governor of new jersey through out of the bottle when they put him in office and went along with all of his initiatives. what was he able to do? was it the force of his character who got elected based on false influence and money to come over or were there other things that work? >> guest: talking about after woodrow wilson got elected in 1911. how was he able to affect and get his agenda in place so thoroughly? was it the force of his personality? >> it is quite remarkable and boils down to a couple things.
9:04 am
woodrow wilson really was the greatest orator of the day. and incredible speechmaker, somebody who had so much knowledge walking into the room because he was so well educated and also had this very thorough more wrote -- moral sense. always knew what direction he was going in and that informed every speech he ever gave. i should also add wilson was the last president, i don't know how many governors of new jersey, only their year-and-a-half, who rode every year at -- every word of his speeches. and gave most of them off the cuff. woodrow wilson would walking to the new jersey state legislature or when he was on the campaign to lure he would have a piece of paper with five. points and he could go and our and give the most beautiful
9:05 am
speech, each paragraph following the one before it making perfect sense, he made compelling arguments because he believed in that and always had some historical example. very was talking to the new jersey legislature and they couldn't believe it, he treated them -- they followed and also they were ready after years of corruption in new jersey politics to have this really clean, strong, smart man leading them, quite wonderful. and the people of new jersey and in the country who were most interested in woodrow wilson wrote the lesser educated and wilson did something wonderful with his speeches, never spoke down to the public, never dumbed down the for changed the vocabulary, so the elevated the election. was an exciting thing for
9:06 am
politician to do. >> guest: did you feel more affectionate toward and when you finish the book and when you started? >> in some ways more affectionate because i discovered the well of the motion in this man, you cannot read his love letters, you cannot read the speech he gave that he delivered off-the-cuff again, that he delivered at the american cemetery in paris just before the treaty was finished talking about how he took responsibility, personal responsibility for every death there. so in that sense i came to appreciate him even more. on the other hand i came to dislike him in ways i had not expected. certainly the issues of race, suppression of speech and above all that he gave his life, in many ways he shot himself in the
9:07 am
foot because he was so uncompromising, so unyielding. had been given an inch he could have taken a mild but he wouldn't. he would give nothing so he really did himself wrong. >> host: please go ahead with your question or comment. >> i was wondering what role wilson played in the conspiracy, was he completely incapacitated? how much did he function? >> host: she wants to know if woodrow wilson played a role in what she calls the conspiracy after his stroke. >> he really didn't because he was so incapacitated he had no say in it. what happened was this, the doctors came to mrs. wilson and set your husband is in very fragile condition. he lost his left side, retained
9:08 am
his power of speech, he was incredibly weak physically. . the conspiracy came about that the doctors said you have got to keep all stress away from the president, any stress could cause his death. mrs. wilson said that is what a president's job is, nothing but stress. his job is to get rid of the stress for the rest of the nation. and one of the doctors said. this was the closest american ever existed in the white house. mrs. wilson often went to meetings with the president. was briefing her for years on all the memorandums he was seeing so the doctor said you really know what is going on. why don't you just start to make the decisions on what we bring to the president each day and that is what she did. he really had nothing to do with
9:09 am
that decision of that and being an invalid. >> host: as a little preview c-span is doing the first lady program every monday night and this week it happens to be ellen and edith wilson. ellen versus edith, who wins? >> ellen i'm sorry to say is one of the great forgotten first ladies because she was a first lady for such a short time. they moved into the white house in 1913, she died in summer of 1914. people know very little about her but she was fascinating. will some trusted her entirely even back to their school days when he was a college professor and she was a professor and president's wife. she was only there to edit his articles, his speeches, he had complete faith in her judgment, came up with some wonderful suggestions for his work.
9:10 am
she was also a very good artist. you as a painter and the paintings are quite wonderful. she could have had a career, she gave up this career when she married wilson. when they were in the white house she set up a little studio on the third floor so that she could continue to do a little painting in her time. was also a great gardener and decided when they moved into the white house few wanted to plant a rose garden. >> host: that program on first ladies airs tomorrow on c-span at 9:00 p.m.. next call from harvey in florida. >> caller: i have a question for you. at the history, what happened in the old days. my question is a very moderesti.
9:11 am
i don't know if you are aware of that and hopefully you are and if you are not hopefully you have an opinion. 50 years ago i went to woodrow wilson high school in portsmouth, virginia and for the first sixty years it was an all white school and since that time it has become 80% black and i believe there are 26 woodrow wilson high schools in the united states that were all named in the late 20s or late teens or early 20s and most of them were inner-city schools that a predominantly black and there is a well-financed internet campaign to appeal --y let you know what i'm talking about, to get all of these high schools names changed because all these black kids going to predominantly black schools named after a racist president.
9:12 am
>> host: certainly a great irony, no doubt about that. i am not sure i would go that far. i might use the notion of woodrow wilson as a teaching moment. woodrow wilson did introduce segregation, he did have these racist feelings. that being said he basically believed in the law of the land which was separate but equal. he believed strongly in education especially for african-americans which was extremely important. he really did want equal opportunity. he felt that integration was not the answer at that time. in 1913. should they change the names of the school? i personally don't think so. they should make a point of teaching who he was and what he stood for and what was behind that and how education which was
9:13 am
really woodrow wilson's great passion in life can make a difference in life and in the lives of students who are there now and maybe those students could do a little i am showing you, woodrow wilson, you shouldn't have segregated those institutions so here we are today. i don't think it is quite the same as waiving the confederate flag but those are decisions those communities ought to make for themselves. >> host: booktv on location for the 2013 national book festival. we agile and by a scott berg, author of the new book "wilson," won a pulitzer prize for his book on charles lindbergh. next call from craig in salt lake city. >> hello, how are you. i am just wondering about
9:14 am
taxation policies of wilson versus those of harding, what is your contrast on that? >> the very first thing the harding administration did was try to go back to the tariffs and excessive rates that were in place when woodrow wilson came into office. tariffs are often kind of misunderstood but when woodrow wilson came into office this is where the most revenue was raised throughout the government. wilson believed there was a great inequity and a lot of ways, the tariff on sugar, everybody with sugar who was everybody in essence had to pay a kind of quiet tax on sugar for on wool or cotton and wilson felt there was an inequity in that richman could afford that without having to think about it but the poor man necessarily couldn't so that is why he
9:15 am
brought in the income tax and reworked it and it was a graduated income tax which of course the redistribution of wealth and again this fits in with woodrow wilson's notion of living--leveling the playing field whenever possible. he felt this was a truly fair way. at the same time this was a great new imposition of the federal government in people's lives and that was something a lot of people strongly object to to this day so when the harding administration came in, income-tax rates went down, tariff rates went up and we went into this great republican era, 1921 until 1933 when franklin roosevelt takes office. and i think the democrats of the day would tell you in large measure all this led to the great depression, the great
9:16 am
crash. >> host: please discuss president wilson's reading habits, especially his love of history. >> is true. here is our most it debated president, our only president with a ph.d. a man who wrote a dozen books with a scholar on the american constitution. when it came time to free reading, he went to the library of congress' list of books he wanted to see which was mysteries. you loved them. this was a man who found the burdens of office so taxing, so vexatious that in his spare time he wanted nothing to do with government or politics so he played more golf than any other president of the united states, an estimated 1200 rounds. eisenhower ostensibly pay only 800. and he red light reading but it
9:17 am
was mysteries, a love the game of it, the puzzle of mysteries and that was his reading choice. he also of the entertainment. he loved going to vaudeville shows, he loved going to the movies, he was the first president to watch motion pictures and the white house and when he moved in his retirement he would go to the vaudeville theater and watch movies at least once a week. and by himself reading movie magazines, fan magazines looking for some new movie star or some new movie he hadn't seen. >> please go ahead with your question or comment about woodrow wilson. >> caller: anthony from fair way, just want to say i enjoyed your talk you gave but i wish you would have expanded more in regards to raise and i feel like you did that at the end but here is my question.
9:18 am
i have always heard that woodrow wilson capped paul walters and from going to princeton, qualified to go to princeton and heard woodrow wilson -- he is the president of presidents, so black people will not go here. i would like to hear your comment on that. >> wasn't paula robison. he did grow up in princeton, new jersey. but over wilson's years as president of princeton, occasionally, one case notably, a young black men applied to the college. wilson made it very clear that he was not welcome there. i think this was less about wilson's personal prejudice than his understanding of the south. the strong southern contingency at princeton than.
9:19 am
and wilson just news that the white student, the entire student body of princeton was not going to settle for that. they would not allow and fair were a few occasions where the occasional theological student would come into a lecture at princeton and -- who was african-american and many of them would stand up and leave. wilson feared something worse than that would happen. i think he really feared for what would happen to any black student who might have matriculated at princeton at the turn of the 20th century. that may be a cop out but i believe that is what he believed. he didn't put it to the test, indeed he didn't put integration in washington to the test and that may be a real check mark against him. he didn't allow society to change. but he said i understand the
9:20 am
south and he believed the south could not accepted at that time. >> host: you had to documents to work with. >> i'm writing about a president who got almost a hundred years ago and yet new papers are surfacing and indeed within the last decade while i was working on this book, one of wilson's last grandchildren died and going through his house his family found truckloads of letters from that man's mother, woodrow wilson's daughter. going through those papers, there were thousands of personal letters from the wilson daughter jesse said year to her husband, back and forth to her father, woodrow wilson, to her children, to friends and all these things really provided great personal details which is what i tried to do in the book, to flesh out woodrow wilson. and almost at the same time
9:21 am
woodrow wilson's closest friend and doctor, dr. grayson, his last son died and in going through his house they found truckloads of papers from dr. grayson who kept meticulous account of his famous position and wrote letters to his wife revealing some things that were going on including an assassination attempt on the president that nobody knew about and a small but nevertheless secret operation the president underwent. in each case i am happy to say the family's new i was at work on the book and they entrusted them to me and only to me, no one has been through all these papers. >> host: wilson is the name of the book, thank you for being on booktv at the national book festival. >> this was part of the 2013 national book festival in washington d.c..
9:22 am
for more information visit jell-o >> next, debora spar talks about the triumph of the women's liberation movement in the 1960s and 70s and questions whether those triumphs lead to unrealistic expectations for women today. visible under an hour. >> thank you very much, stephanie, thanks to all of you for coming. i know you have a lot going on in your lives so thank you for being here today, this is the first time i am speaking publicly about the book sold is a little scary for me because you might all tell me you don't like what it is about and we will have a bad week but more importantly it gives me a chance to throw these ideas out. i'm not going to talk for too long. so we will leave time for q&a so feel comfortable, anything goes,
9:23 am
anything is fine and i'm really curious in how you respond to the book and some of its major themes. the book is a bit of a hybrid. i was talking to a reporter who said how would you categorize it? that is one of hardest questions you can ask me about the book because it is a combination, partly a cultural history. it is partly social analysis, there's a fair amount of data in it as a former economist i couldn't resist putting the into it but it is also in large part a personal story. that makes a hybrid quality bringing together the data and more personal stories than i intended originally to put in the book but they managed to sneak in. what i am trying to do is examine the status of women today and asking the basic question of how far have women really come since the feminist
9:24 am
and sexual revolution and why we still appear to have such a long way to go. what makes the book different is i am really asking these questions and telling these stories through the personal perspective of women of my generation and is not just that women of my generation have a particularly interesting part to play in this story. it is what i know. i am telling the story through the lines i think is easiest which is the life i have experienced that women of my age of experience. i was born in 1963. one of the odd things in this book is everyone knows how old i am. i can't take that anymore. if you remember your relatively recent history being born in 1963 means by the time i entered middle school john f. kennedy had been assassinated. martin luther king had been
9:25 am
assassinated, the cuban missile crisis has unfolded, woodstock had come and gone. love vietnam war had come and gone. roe vs. wade had been decided. the sexual revolution has occurred and the feminist revolution that occurred so it was a very packed ten years in social terms and i was too young to participate in any of it. if you can remember things from the time you were born to the time you were 12, you were vaguely aware of that but not part of it because you are too young, you are a kid. by the time i became and women of my generation became politically and socially active it seemed that feminism was over. and that we had won. that is a hard message to get across if you were born at a different point in time but if you were born in 1963 by the time you were in high school it felt -- thank you very much, the
9:26 am
feminists came in, did some work, and i can go to college wherever i want and have whatever career i want, and i and done. and so as a result of this i think most women of my generation compared to women who were born only ten years earlier than us tended to disdain feminism as we were growing up and it wasn't because, speaking personally for the moment, because we actively pull back and said let me think about feminism, is it good or bad, just that it felt like it was over. and it really was our parents and our mothers's fight. you are young enough to realize it is not that interesting in the things your parents were. because you want to fight your own battles and push for the next victory. generational the we tended to move away from feminism not because we thought was bad, it
9:27 am
just wasn't our fight. what also allege into this, this was a little more complicated. a lot of what we were hearing about feminism was not very attractive. if you were hearing about feminism as a kid, just listening to what was on television you got the media distorted view of feminism so what you tended to get was this cartoonish vision in which all feminists were 83, they all hated men and they spend all their time burning their broads none of which was actually true and i had several of the older feminist remind me the didn't even burn a bras at the miss america pageant. it was a rumor that got started and state around for 50 years but if you are 12 and you are watching this you absorb it as truth. growing up, i don't want to be a feminist. that is not who i am. instead what i saw coming through the media and what in some ways i equated with
9:28 am
feminism was a different vision. i hope i am pressing the right button here, there we go. this is what i thought. i saw charlie. we saw the students, young to recognize this. if you show it to women my age and older, slightly older women shaking their heads, this ad was everywhere in the mid-1970ss and it really captured the sense of this era because it -- this was what we thought we were going to be. we were going to be the charlie merrill. who is the charlie girl? this particular version goes on to become one of charlie's angels but who is she demographically? she is as the text says gorgeous, sexy, young. who didn't want to be that? these are good words, she's clearly beautiful, she is also clearly working. she is not a stay at home mom, she's a working woman, elegantly
9:29 am
dressed, always has the briefcase in the background and in several of the ads, several have attractive men and several of the ads have beautiful little children so without saying much more than gorgeous, sexy, young what the ad is conveying is this is one working mother's life is like, you go out, you look beautiful, leave your child somewhere, the briefcase shows up, the men show up, this is good, right? who would not want this image? this is to generation that earlier had grown up on the brady bunch. which do you want to be? you want to be charlie and right around the same time -- sorry, check these wins will for you come up here, charlie's angels comes out. charlie was a big thing in the mid-1970ss but again, this is hard to remember, we didn't have cable. all there were were three channels, 4, 7, turned the dial, everybody watched charlie's angels. these were working women,
9:30 am
working in their bikinis. this is what professional life was supposed to be like. this is a very attractive model of what working woman's life is somehow like, not because somebody called you aside and said listen, this is what it will be like when you enter the work force. this is just what you were picking up through the media and so i don't mean to trivial lies this too much but what happened as a result was women of my generation's sort of intuitive lead grew up saying don't want to be a feminist because they burn their broughts and are kind of unhappy all the time, want to beat charlie which means want to be attractive, want to be working, want to have children but not really think about it, want to have men. it is a very seductive image and we kind of fell for it jenna lee originally speaking and to be a little more specific i think women of my generation and to
9:31 am
some extent still women of your generation kind of grow up believing not only that we can have everything but that it will all just kind of come to us rather national -- naturally. when i look back at this period of time i think what happened was women of my generation without meaning to, nobody sat down and decided to make this happen but we actually privatized feminism. we were the generation that brought you ronald reagan and margaret thatcher's of privatization was a common theme. we took what had been very much a collective call to social action which is what feminism was really about, it was about civil rights and eat quality, we turned it in words and made it about charlie, we made it about a personal quest for perfection rather than being about social goals. we were the ones who made it about having it all. that is not what the early feminists were saying that that is what we heard and how we
9:32 am
interpreted it. in addition at this points a little more -- is crucial, we took the older expectations that women have always had and rather than getting rid of them or even mentioning some wheat kept all the old ones and added more. so rather than liberating women from not series of confiding expectations we upped the ante on all the things women were supposed to do because our mothers and grandmothers generation had very confining expectation that you will get married, you will be a good housekeeper, you will have children, you will be a good mother, we didn't get rid of any of those. instead we set by the way you look like this and you will be in the work force and you will wear a bikini and we ratcheted up, without getting rid of any of the older sets of expectations and the result is what i call in the book the wonder woman makes because we
9:33 am
created this myth that you would be perfect, that you would do everything and you would do it all well. i want to give you one very recent example of what i am calling the wonder woman myth and i find it so poignant that it is worth taking the moment to discuss and is this woman. some of you may remember she won the women's singles championship at wimbledon this summer. a massive achievement. this is a woman who's 28, has been playing tennis since she was 6. at the very peak of her professional success, it will never get better than winning wimbledon for the first time she goes on to her first major interview and the bbc commentator, this is not a slack news operation, the bbc commentator who is interviewing her says is it true that when you were young your father
9:34 am
really pushed you to practice so hard because he looked at you and says she's never really going to be a looker? it is just horrifying. here you are in a moment that has nothing to do with your physical attractiveness and your looks are being made the topic of inquiry. i think this is something women face every single day of their lives in ways that men don't so the good news is that women can compete at wimbledon and get the interest men's for its use to have. the bad news is they are still being valued for their looks in addition to being evaluated for all the other things they do professionally. let me leave that example out there and what i want to do for the next few minutes is take you through three sets of examples. the way this book works is i trace through the narrative of a
9:35 am
woman's wife so the book after the historical chapter look at girls and what kind of expectations we as society are putting on girls and young women, body image and how issues around body image are fundamentally different for women skills than they are for men, looks at sex which was a painful chapter to right, look at marriage, babies, housekeeping, the workplace, aging. really tries to follow the arc of a woman's life. we don't have a lot of time so i want to touch on three of these issues which are captured in three chapters and chosen and somewhat random but i thought they might be nice to touch upon. the first is beauty and body image. the second is marriage and how it has and has not changed and the third is housework which you might be a little young for but you can probably sort of imagine it. let me start by talking about beauty and i don't have to argue
9:36 am
too hard to convince people in this room or any room that we as a society still remain totally obsessed with women's bodies and with women's bodies as subjects of perfection and perfect ability. if you go back to any of the earlier feminist work this was one of the most important themes, that we had to stop society's obsession with women's bodies and we had to move beyond beauty as a standard to embrace other kinds of standards for women. as anyone think we have pulled that off? if the thing i would argue this pretty easily, we have instead once again upped the ante for beauty as a standard by which women are evaluated. go to rosy's at the corner, pick up any women's magazine and what is it about? is about beauty. we now have a beauty standard that applies not just to women your age who have always been the archetypal beautiful era, you are supposed to look like you are 22 until you are 92 so
9:37 am
far as i can tell, particularly in this city you are not allowed to have a wrinkle, not allowed to gain weight, you are assumed to be beautiful throughout the entire course of her life and one of the things i do in the book and you may have seen the glamour peace, the excerpt in it, i counted out how long it takes me not to look like a model which i never will be show up in the morning. it takes me a lot longer than it takes my husband and he uses a lot of hair products. that is all he has to do. if you think about what the standards are not for models but woman who is a lawyer or a doctor or a professor, there are standards that apply that are major constraints on women's time and energy and income. not a bad thing but something we have to be aware of and what is a bad thing is we see this with hillary clinton constantly, when
9:38 am
people are conflating their assessment of women's qualifications with their assessments of women's duty. i was talking about this topic recently with someone who mentioned she had just gone to an exhibit at one of the museums that included several corsets, things women used to wear 200 years ago to make themselves more attractive and she was commenting flippantly isn't it great the we don't have corsets anymore and then her companion said if you stop and think about it maybe it was easier when women had courses because if you think about it, you didn't have to work very hard if you wore a core set. it may have been painful but you put it on at your done. now the expectations we will retain course it like bodies without the help of the course that. what do you have to do instead? diet, exercise, which is arguably much harder than putting on a course it. i will throw that out, i won't
9:39 am
argue this point too much but it is interesting that in our so-called liberation we in fact may have made it harder for women to achieve standards of beauty because that woman in the course this really has the essentially the same shape as the woman, pick any mall, without the advantage of any kind of mechanical intervention. so let me turn and talk about marriage. you are all little young for this but i might turn the argument out nevertheless. the marriage chapters one of the more interesting ones to write because there is not that much written about marriage interestingly, in cultural studies or feminist history. if you just take it sort of at the broadest level marriage should have disappeared as a social institution. marriage is essentials and economic contracts. if you go back fence look at marriage draw history, the
9:40 am
original marriage ceremonies in the jewish tradition, it is actually a contract. there are several variations but it is essentials an economic transaction that the family is giving away their daughter to a husband in exchange for something. land, cows, sheep, a dowry but it is an economic transaction and what the woman is giving is her virginity and the promise to have children and in many cultures if a woman didn't produce children a marriage could be annulled because that was the deal. thankfully, we are way beyond that. we don't enter into marriage -- in this country at least -- as an economic bargain. while we still getting married? why, interestingly, as same-sex marriage taken over in such a huge wave following essentially the same social convention which
9:41 am
makes no sense, in the same-sex union. we have actually fetish eyes the white red ink in a remarkable way given that it is really a vested of something that doesn't exist. the other thing we have done and i will sound cynical saying this but it is true and interesting, we added a brand new ingredient into the marriage contract and that is love. which is a good thing but it is also ratcheting the expectations up because way back when, love had nothing to do with marriage. it was a social and economic bargain in the was very clear what both parties had to do. now we throw in this messy thing called love into the bargain and it actually as the nt again. i was thinking about this last night and stumbled onto something that never crossed my mind before but there's a beautiful instance of this on broadway. if you remember, some of you have been in this way, fiddler
9:42 am
on the roof, this wonderful scene where the traditional father is sort of confused over the fact that his daughter wants to marry someone she loves and he doesn't know what to do with this and trying to be a modern guy he goes to his wife of 25 years and says do you love me? she comes back to i what? and he says do you love me? her answer is do i love you? for 25 years eyewash your clothes, cook your meals, clean your house, given you children, milk the cow, after 25 years why talk about love right now? it captures something, the change, because what he is asking and what we asked as a society is you don't give up any
9:43 am
of the other stuff. i have been married 25 years, wash your clothes, cook your meals, clean your house, giving you children, run to the corner to buy the milk, and i love you. we have actually added to the bargain here. in very complicated ways, i would be the first to say adding love into the marriage equations is exactly what you want to do and it is crucial but we need to pull back for a second and say maybe this is why we are finished sizing weddings to such an extent, we have made marriage much harder. we haven't gotten rid of the older expectations and we have added this new ingredient. at the risk of sounding hopelessly middle-aged i think for your generation what makes it even more complicated is if you buy into what i fear is the dominant social norm, the hook up culture, what we are essentials expecting young women
9:44 am
to do is to be carefree promiscuous, for 10 or 15 years of their lives and then somehow to stumble into this wonderful monogamy for the rest of your lives. that is hard. enough said. let me turn finally to talk about how this works and hopefully none of you are doing too much housework these days so we hope you clean your dorm rooms. if you go back to some of the older feminism, absolutely explicit on this point, women were supposed to be liberated from doing the housework. the core of the argument is women have to stop polishing their floors so they can go out and actually do real things that have a real impact in the world. we were supposed to move away
9:45 am
from washing clothes and cooking meals so we could have professional, fulfilling personal lives. i would argue none of that has actually happened. that in fact rather than women and to some extent men moving away from doing housework we are actually doing more housework and we are doing housework to how much higher, almost surreal level of expectation. what women expect their homes will look like and be like and feel like actually takes many more hours than their mothers or grandmothers were expected to do and if you want proof of this go to rosie's, pick up any of the shelter magazines on the stands and look at what you are supposed to be whipping up for dinner every night. look at what your bathrooms are supposed to look like, look at what your bed rooms are supposed to look like. these are things that take hours and hours and hours of work every week to pull off. just because it is the fault
9:46 am
bottom time of your arrival a couple random photos but i think they are telling. do it yourself halloween costumes, right? when i did halloween you went to the drugstore and bought a mask, done. real easy. now my kids are trick or treating, thankfully there grown up but i am supposed to be making these creations. these are really hard to do. if you are working at a what firm or investment bank, you don't have time to be selling robe's and yet somehow that is the expectation. when you are done with that you should be making the magic paula they cupcakes because if you don't bring the magic paula they cupcakes to the bake sale which as far as i can tell, every school your child attends, you are a bad mother. on your way to your meeting or conference call or your international trip you're going to be whipping up a little cupcakes and then finally on your weekend doing the bird feeder because you are taking care of the birds in addition to class parties on halloween
9:47 am
cupcakes. i am exaggerating a little bit but not much. cool up real simple magazine which has the gall to call itself real simple because everything in there is really hard to do and i can't do it and it is easy to laugh at this stuff but this becomes the dominant social norm and you don't do this you feel bad and i am older than all the students in a room but one of the things i hear all the time from women whether they are working or not working or mothers or not mothers or married or not married, straight or not straight is built. the deal that somehow they haven't done what they were supposed to do because what they were supposed to do or what they felt weber supposed to do was everything. and nobody can do that. let me just add or end as these are supposed to end, what do we do? how do we fix this mess that we have gotten ourselves into?
9:48 am
i actually don't think it is all that hard. there are some problems out there, syria, you say i have no idea how we get out of this. this one at least in theory is not that hard to unravel. what do we need to do? we explicitly have to give up on perfection. every moment of the day and every opportunity, and i know this is really hard in a context like this. rather than focusing on how perfect you are or how less than perfect your friends might be, go for something less than perfection. this is something i try to do in the book. i am terrified of it because i put a lot of my personal stories out there but i am trying to get the message across that nobody is perfect. all of us make choices. all of us are bad at something. all of us have body parts we don't like and pieces of the family story we don't like and mistakes we have made. not the we need to where all our dirty laundry on our sleeves but we need to be more honest, particularly women who have been
9:49 am
successful in saying here is where i screwed up and otherwise we are selling you a bill of goods and need to stop doing that. related to that, this is something you can start thinking about, not today but over the course of the next few years, think about what areas of your life really matter to you. what do you really want to be good at? what do you enjoy doing? where do you want to put your energies and this is the crucial second part, where else are you going to pull back? if you're going to focus on x you have to stop doing less ofy or you have to give up ony and let someone else take care of it and that is a crucial distinction and set of decisions to make. related to that i think all of us as individuals in society have to understand life is about trade-offs. men understand this more naturally because they haven't been subject to the same massive
9:50 am
shifts over the last few generations. if the man makes a major presentation at work tomorrow he is not going to play baseball with his kids tonight or mow the lawn. the more intuitively says that has got to wait, i got to do this could women tend to try to do it all. even if the next presentation is tomorrow they want to make sure the kitchen is clean before they go. i was talking with a tv producers this morning and confessed that before calling me to do this interview she spent an hour cleaning her kitchen before the housekeeper came. we all do this. we need to stop doing that. we also need to recognize that this is more provocative but i throw out, fairly big item in the book. we have to realize biology matters. one of the mistakes feminism did make was it sort of tried to push biology to the side. arguing that women really needed to be seen as the same as men. i can understand historically why people made that argument
9:51 am
but it has done us a disservice because women biologically are different than men. those biological differences are not relevant in most cases they are relevant once children enter the picture. right from the first moment as soon as the woman has a baby she is hoping to go back to work her life is different than a man's who has just become a father. i had this conversation, fascinating to me, with same-sex couples where even if it is two women in the couple and one of them has the baby and the other doesn't it affects her in a fundamentally different way because having a baby is a big deal. kid doesn't destroy your life by any stretch but it affects things differently and the work place doesn't recognize that and women tend not to recognize that and men just don't want to think about it and yet it has to be at least part of the conversation although it is admittedly an awkward one but unless we recognize that fact we will never fix the workplace issue because we know women falloff
9:52 am
though work track after a they have babies particularly after the second child. we also crucially and this is a big argument as well, we have to bring men into the conversation. right now if you go to women's networking events or diversity events there are only women there. and that is never going to solve the problem because if women are in a corner by themselves networking the guys are running the world next door so we need to bring the guys in to the women's diversity conversation and make sure women are spending too much time just in women's networking groups because they become ghettos really quickly. most men i know whether from personal interest or because they are running corporations or organizations want women to succeed but don't know how to make it happen. each and every one of you will have a million opportunities in your life to help the men in positions of power make it easier for women, you just need to tell them and bring them into the conversation, invite them
9:53 am
into the room particularly with young men before they have gone too embedded in their own careers and lives. we also need and this brings the argument full circle for me, we need to go back to the earlier goals of feminism. feminism in the incarnation that i missed was really about liberating women. it is a word that has fallen off of our vocabulary said it is a crucial word. feminism wasn't supposed to tie women to making halloween costumes and bird feeders, wasn't supposed to tie women to another more constraining set of expectations. it was supposed to free women, to give them the opportunity to make their own choices. it was supposed to give women as a group civil rights, reproductive rights, the ability to fight for broader social goals. we need to get away from this personal focus on am i having it all and doing it well to what can we as a group of concerned
9:54 am
people, women and men, due to make the world a better place? we need to go back to those social goals reminded ourselves along the way that this was supposed to be fun. we were supposed to find joy in this interview are spending your lives beating yourself up to try to achieve some illusory goal of having an all or being perfect you are blowing it. because you need to go back and think about what this was supposed to be and how as individuals and as the group we can find a little bit of happiness, a little bit of july and take everyone along with us towards hopefully a happier place. so let me stop there and i would love to hear any questions or comments or thoughts, criticisms you might have. if you wouldn't mind going up to the mic, would love to hear your thoughts.
9:55 am
>> you talk about how women don't have to have it all and -- does that conflict with your position which is extremely competitive women's liberal arts college? >> a great question. and i think it is one that we as administrators and u.s. students have to constantly struggle with because i don't think anybody ever stands up in front of the room and says each and every one of you has to be perfect and yet somehow you are hearing that, you are expecting that and that is not specific, you find it at any of the other elite colleges for better or worse. i think the struggle for us to make it ok for you to realize you don't have to do anything, you shouldn't be doing everything and you need to legitimize that among
9:56 am
yourselves. >> within high school lawyers applying for colleges there is such a huge focus on doing at all. how would you address that? >> i have a paragraph in the book i hope you will have a chance to see, i began ranting and kept it as a branch in the book. when you apply to colleges we really don't need to hear that you have started 4 and geos before you turned 18 and in the captain of 42 separate varsity teams. what we are really looking for is who you are. tell me you have a passion. tell me you are in love with something. tell me you have given a chunk of your life to pursue something you care about and that is how we make -- don't look for perfection. somehow it is all of the colleges, we have a responsibility to get that across. i say this at every opportunity i have.
9:57 am
we are not looking for perfect people. we are looking for real people. somehow we have to get that message across to high school is because as you know you are killing yourself to get into college and that doesn't do you or us any good. >> i was just wondering what got you interested, what got you to write this book, what made you decide to write this book? >> great question, thank you. as i indicated in my work i didn't study feminism in college. i was a political science major, i never read feminist theory. i traced into the working world imagine what my life would be like, charlie. i didn't have any interest in being part of the women's groups or any of that stuff and it was only later in my life when i all of a sudden, it was all of a
9:58 am
sudden, began to notice i was the only woman left standing. many of my college friends, female friends had left the work force, most of the women who started with me at each b.s. faculty members, were gone. most -- many of my students at harvard business school who were really smart accomplished ambitious women were not staying in the work force. i started just wondering as one does what has gone wrong? right around the same time i was also because i was the only one left standing was increasingly being asked to work, help people think about the women's problem at harvard or wherever it was and became convinced there was a woman's problems so i started working on this book before i came so the title of the book at that time was confessions of a reluctant feminist which was the title all publishers told me i couldn't possibly use but it actually captures a large part of what the book is about and
9:59 am
that is a personal peace, talking as someone who didn't think feminism was important and realizing later ron perhaps too late that my life as all women and my friends's lives as women had unfolded fundamentally differently than men's and i wanted to expand that. >> do you think may be working is better than being a housewife? i talked to guy friends and girlfriends and the guys always say what is wrong with being a mom? why does the world make it seem like being a housewife is not that is being a housewife is not doing the best you can at being a working mom, like the better option? >> i don't want to sound crazy, i think people first of all are incredibly lucky if they have the ability to make that choice. most working mothers are working mothers because they have to be working mothers and that is a crucial point.
10:00 am
if you do have the choice, i think women should be trying to do what feels right for them and one of the things women do a bad job that is not legitimizing other women's choices. one thing you will see, your too young but anyone old enough to have sat on the playground with their kids knows this little scenario that gets played out a million times, do you work? do you stay at home? a lot of judging going on. ..


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on