“Women, in other words, are not perfect, and they are not identical to men. They are instead physical and social beings, marked by flaws, programmed to reproduce, destined to age, and generally inclined to love. Any approach to women’s issues must start from the reality of women’s lives rather than from an idealized or ideological view of who they should be and what they should want. It must start, in other words, by killing Charlie and other myths of female perfection, replacing them with more attainable and flexible dreams—dreams that acknowledge both women’s aspirations and the obstacles to them that most women will inevitably confront. This rejiggering does not in any way mean that women should lower their sights or accept anything less than total equality with men. But it does suggest that women’s paths to success may be different and more complicated than men’s, and that it is better to recognize these complications than to wish them away.” (236-237)Biology causes men and women to experience different sexual and reproductive behaviors. Women prefer extended romantic or sexual relationships, while men often have purely sexual motives. Consequently, women begin relationships often at a disadvantage. Likewise, prior to child bearing women compete and interact with men on a fair basis. However, children bring about new expectations for women including everything from maternity leave and child care to pumping breast milk and loss of sleep. Women often sacrifice their careers for their children’s sake. Spar comments that feminism did not address these differences between men and women and the government does not regulate these issues. She believes companies should permit extended maternity leaves and family -friendly work environments. Similarly, she believes the government should grant women access to affordable healthcare. Spar encourages young women to contemplate the many choices they will face in the future; choices about marriage, careers, children, education, religion etc. She suggests that women should not limit their dreams in fear of failure, but understand that they cannot do it all at the same time. Spar’s preferred solution is satisficing, an economics term that suggests “a combination of cutting corners and settling for second best.” (243) For mothers, this may translate into making homemade dinners, but not breakfasts and lunches too or refraining from other career related events such as travel. Spar concludes the final chapter suggesting that women need to focus on collective goals and less on individual motives. Alternatively, she encourages male involvement in the women’s movement, specifically through communication about women’s issues. Finally, she promotes reinstating a sense of joy into the movement. Faced with a number of choices throughout life, women should choose what they wish to pursue and go for it!
Wonder Women: Chapter 10
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