Thursday, March 13

Eva Herman and no end in sight

I really have tried, the Lord (or whoever) knows I have. I have tried to fight my way through “The Eva Principle” (and I still do). But up till now, I’ve been fighting a losing battle.

It’s the content as much as the way the book is written. It’s the way Ms Herman always writes “we” when I feel she should be writing “I” instead. “We” in the book always means “all women” - and that’s what I can’t accept. I personally don’t see myself in that “we”, in the things she describes. And last time I checked, I still was a woman.

Then why, you probably ask yourself, is she still reading that damn book? Why hasn’t she made a merry camp fire with the pages and enjoys her life? Well, because I don’t believe in condemning something (a book or other things) based on second hand experiences. Just because a lot of journalists - and quite a lot of women among them - have damned the book, I can’t jump the bandwagon and do it myself. Before I condemn the book, I want firsthand experience (although I’m not a masochist).

What I’ve read this far (most of the first chapter - about one tenth of the book, I should wager), would be quite sufficient to condemn the book, alright, but as I don’t know whether the other chapters provide some more realistic views of modern women, I can hardly go on and write a flaming post (or two, or twenty, believe me, I have enough material already) about it.

What makes it so difficult, among other things, to take the book seriously, is the person writing it. A very successful woman with a career in the media is writing about all women (ignoring, it seems, the fact that most women do not earn as much as she does and quite often need to work, just to make ends meet). If she had written the book saying “I chose the career over the family and now I feel I was wrong”, it would have been okay for me. Anybody can say “I was wrong” at one point of his or her life (or more often, as far as I am concerned). But saying “because it was wrong for me, it’s wrong for all other women as well” makes my fangs and claws grow and me want to howl to the moon (and it’s not even that time of the month).

Why am I as a woman supposed to want nothing more than a husband, ten children and a nice, cosy home? Why is a man - to turn things around for once - supposed to strive for a career and never ever supposed to think about staying home, caring for the children? Why does it always have to be like that?

And in Germany, it’s still basically up to the woman to stay home and take care of the kids, once she has them. No wonder, young women these days think very long and hard about having children. It’s not children and career, it’s children or career - although various countries around Germany show, it’s possible to have both. And people like Ms Herman who say “women will only feel happy when staying home, raising the children, baking apple pie and not saying a word” rather help those who don’t want equality.

I probably could write pages upon pages, just ranting about those ideas (and her examples which make me want to question her sanity). But I will wait until I’ve fought my way through the book (probably three years after I’ve finally mastered “Lord of the Rings”, currently I’ve set that time to twenty years from now).