IE Grapevine Updates

Sweeney: It’s impossible to have it all

“Having it all” is a phrase that commonly comes up in conversations directed towards women in the workplace, notably with public figures.

Katlin Sweeney

Katlin Sweeney

Ever since women began integrating into the work force in place of and/or next to their husbands, it has been a constant debate as to whether or not women can really have everything. Especially stemming from notable feminist texts like The Feminine Mystique, authors and scholars have been weighing in on the possibility of existing in a dominant position in both worlds: home and work.

While it may seem like an issue that has either already been solved or is a little dated, it is a debate that is still prevalent in modern society.  Women are held to the impossible standard that they need to be beautiful, successful, a good wife, and a great mom. If a woman chooses to get married and have children, she is facing the complexity of juggling roles as a caretaker, housekeeper, and organizer. Combining in a career, they are looking at the demands of being a savvy businesswoman, intelligent conversationalist, and socialite out in the world.

However, women are not the only ones held to rigid standards. Obviously not all people share the same exact problems, but the matter of “having it all” can be stretched to other groups as well. Since it is not blatantly stated that it affects more than just a few people, we tend to put these issues in a box and label them as “they don’t pertain to me.” We forget that people in their late teens/early twenties boast a similar problem.

Take for example, balancing a ‘normal’ schedule by societal standards. In order to be considered a full-time student, you have to be taking at least 12 units per semester (about 4 classes). Then factor in working part-time at some miscellaneous job, the expectation that you should be studying for hours regularly to prepare for your classes, have an avid social life amongst people in your age group, and be in a decent relationship and suddenly the standards are sky-high.

People that attend freshman or transfer orientation at their respective college are typically bombarded with the messages of getting involved in a club or working for a campus organization. However, on-campus positions tend to come with the unspoken premise that since you are attending school there, you will be even more available to dedicate your time to your work.

The demand for dedication in multiple fields is something that is possible, but not simple. The expectation for people to become better adults at a younger and younger age is affecting the levels of stress that are found in people of our generation. “Having it all” has become an issue of having way too much.

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