Avoiding Crisis

somehow all roads lead to Barnard

with 2 comments

So I was going to comment on one particular article that I had recently read this morning, but that article led to another that lead me to yet another, and well, the trail of really intersting ideas, topics, thoughts and personal points of view that I followed eventually led me to, believe it or not, Barnard. (And for all you first-timers to this blog, Barnard is my Alma Mater and I tend to talk about it quite a bit.)   

So it all started when I noticed that there had been a new post on the blog What We Said: Reflections on 21st Century FeminismMake Tea not War posted a link to a recent essay by E.J. Graff on the “Opt-Out Revolution.”  I like this article.  It’s thought provoking and really brings to light some important issues with regards to how the Family/Work issue is framed by the media. 

The article got me thinking about feminism, which I seem to be doing a lot of lately.  Which then led me to wonder whether the women over at feministing.com, which I tend to check in on from time to time — the blog that is, not the women, though I’ll admit that I have read all of their bios and they are all very interesting  —  had made mention of the EJ. Graff article.  And sure enough they had a link to the article listed in their Weekly Feminist Reader post dated March 18th. 

So of course, while I was visiting over at feministing.com, I decided to check out what else they were talking about. And after catching up on the evolution of “female”  and the “Southern Belle” feminist,  my attention shifted over to a March 20th posting titled Female Soldiers’ Hell.  I stopped at this post because it linked to an article about the psychological fallout from the war in Iraq for female soldiers, which interests me since I’ve recently gotten to know a fellow trailing spouse who also happens to be an Iraq War Veteran.  

Okay, so being the insanely curious person that I am, I noticed that the Female Soldier post was contributed to feministing.com by a Courtney Martin.  (I only noticed this because typically the posts on feministing.com come from one of the six women who run the site.)  Again, because I can’t help myself, I really am that nosy, I clicked on contributed by Courtney Martin.   

And where did it take me?  To Ms. Martin’s personal website obviously. And while I was there, I figured why not read some of Ms. Martin’s writing.  About two articles later, I noticed that Ms. Martin sounded a lot like me.  Or is it that I sound like her?  What does it matter.  We think alike, I think.   So, of course, I just had to check out Ms. Martin’s bio.  And lo and behold at the end of Ms. Martin’s bio page there it is.  AHA!  She’s a Barnard graduate herself. 

Knowing this, I just couldn’t leave without reading more.  And eventually, while skimming articles she had written in 2006, I came across Paradox of a Perfect Girl with it’s all too true description of Barnard. Ms. Martin writes,

When I got to Barnard College, I met a skyscraper dorm full of women just like me — perfect girls incurring a variety of eating and anxiety disorders via their rabid-dog achievement orientation. Zoloft and Paxil were doled out like candy. Girls traded all-nighter tales like war stories.

In the same article, Ms. Martin writes

The second wave of feminists — our mothers and teachers — created a world in which we feel entitled to accomplish anything we set our minds to; which, it turns out, includes just about everything. Now the task of the next wave of feminism is to turn the tide of this unhealthy achievement drive. Yes, women can be anything. But we don’t have to be everything.

See, I told you we kinda think alike. Kinda.  Must be the schooling?  Although she seems to have things a bit more figured out than I do.  Maybe I missed that class?  

Okay, so I could stop there, but….ah….I just can’t. Not yet.  One more thing. 

An article on Ms. Martin’s site led me to The American Prospect Special Report March 2007 that deals with the issues of Work and Family, and thus taking us full circle to the topic of the first article that got this all started.  And while this has nothing to do with Barnard, which as my headline would lead you to believe this post would end, I thought it fun to point out that I once worked for The American Prospect. It was my second job after having graduated from Barnard.  There I did it, I brought it back to Barnard.  I knew I could. 


Written by nicolemarie

March 22, 2007 at 12:27 am

2 Responses

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  1. I love it when things come full circle. I think what what Ms. Martin said about turning the tide was a good point. I’ve never really studied up much on feminism myself, but my impression of it is that one if its goals is to liberate women and give them the opportunity to choose. But if they’re forced into roles they don’t want to be in (for example, a woman who would rather stay at home with her children but who feels a need to climb her way up the corporate ladder instead), that’s defeating the purpose. I’m glad that women have the rights that they do, but it shouldn’t be about fulfilling someone else’s expectations. If women’s rights only extend to “the right to be what other people think you should be,” then it is time for a new movement: the right to be who you want to be, regardless of who other people, including women, want you to be.


    March 22, 2007 at 2:03 pm

  2. P.S.

    This is unrelated, but I wrote back to you on my blog, and I’m not sure if that’s how it works or if I should write back to you on your blog. Do you know the proper comment etiquette?


    March 22, 2007 at 2:04 pm

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