It’s funny that just today, I was criticizing Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article in the Atlantic, for her statement that feminist are “simply airbrushing reality” by “glibly repeating ‘you can have
it all.’” I was snippily saying that I’ve never heard a feminist glibly say life would involve no tough choices or sacrifices, or that life was (some oddly capitalist-sounding) paradise in which we can have everything we want.
Then I read this in the Salon obit: “Her magazine prattled about the joys of women doing and having it all.” And I recognized how right this was, having read my fair share of issues of Cosmo. I find this fascinating, since it cleary indicates the source of that irksome but culturally pervasive view that feminists say something so glib and transparently false. I could simply reassert my rightness and say, well, Helen Gurley Brown wasn’t really a feminist, then. But there are sundry problems with being the Border Police for feminism, aren’t there! The more one reads about her, the harder it is to say that this androcentric, femininity-enforcing culturata was in no way feminist. For she was also proudly affirming of sexuality as something good and fun rather than merely shameful or wicked. She asserted that women were excellent additions to the workforce at professional levels. She is not easily dismissed. We should be so lucky to have someone say the same of us.