Posted by: camillecarson11 | March 12, 2014

It’s A Man’s World… We’re Just Living In It

This series was presented by Steve Harvey in order to examine why it is that successful black women remain single. Callan suggests that their is a balance to be obtained between work and family. However, now that women have the equality to obtain the same job as men, some opt out of that, thinking that it can come later. For Callan, she lost her personal relationships for sacrificing for her job. However, the pendulum can also swing the other way. Some women, as discussed by Graff, choose to leave the work world for the familial life. Graff goes on to discuss the “choice” they make to become part of this moms-go-home phenomena may not always be the first decision that a woman may choose, but it may be used as a last resort in order to achieve the dream. What society fails to realize it that although there is now equality in the workplace, it has not changed the norm of a woman’s duties, only added to them. This sometimes leaves women with the decision to make between family and work.

In Harvey’s series, Sherri Shepherd discusses that as women, we first want to achieve success and then look to have a personal life. However, I feel that when you fully focus on work, you are missing out on many relationships because your only focus is work. This is not the balance that Callan is referring to. As women, in order to have the real dream, we must learn to balance home and work simultaneously. However, this is a hard thing to manage dependent upon an individual’s career goals.

Women are back to either playing in the balancing act, or letting the glass ceiling, or as Belkin puts it, the “maternal wall” place careers on hold. I am not saying that having it all is impossible. But it can be hard when a society does not understand the true problem lies with us, and not with women as a group. We are playing by man’s rules where work can be the main goal. We cannot win by these rules when our priorities are not set up like that of a man’s.

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Responses

  1. I, too, think that society is only making womens’ lives harder and making it more difficult to balance our lives. While some mothers may seem to be “superwoman,” it must be extremely hard to have a successful career while also balancing a stable family. I think that the norm that society places on us is unrealistic – assuming that every woman desires both a career and a family. Some women are happy with their jobs and that is where their passion lies, and that is great! While others find their happiness and fulfillment in their families. And then there are those who mix the two together to have the “ideal” life.

    It’s definitely changing throughout generations, though. I know that anytime I go to visit my grandparents, they are guaranteed to not ask me about school, but instead ask me about my love life. When I tell them that I do not have a boyfriend and am working hard to put all of my effort to get into medical school, they are shocked! Back then, it was typical for the man to go to school and have a career, and for the woman to marry young and stay at home. This whole “not having a boyfriend” thing doesn’t make sense to them! However, I am perfectly happy with my work/school/social balance as it is, and I think that this is the same mentality many women have at various ages!

  2. I, too, agree that work-life balance is crucial and has simply added to a woman’s duties, but I also believe that compromise is a part of life. In order to be successful (whatever that may mean) it requires postponing parts of life wether that be a family for a career or a career for a family. I agree that if one’s only focus is work in order to become successful in their desired career, other important parts of life become more and more of an afterthought, but I also believe that achieving a balance is possible. It is possible to be successful at work and come home and be a good spouse, mother, girlfriend, friend, etc. I also believe it is crucial to see that though we are living in a “man’s world” women have made many parts of this world our own. In order to break through barriers and break through stereotypes, like you said, it is crucial to not only reevaluate our priorities, but to also learn that balance is the key to happiness and success however it may be defined.

  3. I agree and think that women’s work-life balance is becoming increasingly more difficult to balance and maintain. Our society presents a struggle to create this balance, and that women must be either a mother or have a career; there are only rare cases where both can be maintained.

    It seems frustrating experiencing a glass ceiling effect even when we’ve discussed how our society is more set in a labyrinth. It seems that the more we focus on progression and essentializing experiences that must be individualized, our society is thereby its own enemy. We must focus on the individual experience of others to work towards establishing a sense of purpose within women. Success is different for everyone, and just because a woman may either choose a career over having children, or vice versa, society’s effects on these women should support either decision rather than one over the other.

  4. I feel like this is such a tricky subject to talk about considering that no matter what gender you are, you will still always be forced to balance multiple things at once. For example, as college students, we must learn how to balance school life with our personal life. However, I do think that the concept of “having it all” is much easier said that done for women in the workforce. Especially after reading the articles we have read it class, it seems like more and more women are forced to pick between one or the other. It is like you can have an incredible family life, but then your work life will have to be more mediocre in return and vice versa. It’s sad that many women feel like they must pick and choose between having a better work life versus having a better home life, when in reality, you should be able to have both. I just think that it comes down to how our American society views work. Compared to a lot of other say European countries who believe in taking hours-long breaks during the workday to make time for other things, our American mindset is more focused on work now, play later. This may put a higher pressure on women than men when it comes to having children, since women are also typically considered the main childcare takers. This is especially true for single parents, who must come home from work to then participate in a second job of taking care of the house and children. As you mentioned, it comes down to personal preference between where women view their priorities. But, I think that until we change our definition of what women’s roles are in the workplace, we will still be me with this issue. We just have to learn that it is possible to prioritize between work life and personal life, just as long as the balance is healthy and doesn’t put a strain on one choice over the other.

  5. The balancing act is hard for everyone in the work force, however I do believe that women are more scrutinized for their balancing decisions. Yes, we are living in a mans wold, however it is rapidly changing. From my personal experience, many men are work oriented, but I have seen more and more men leaving the work field to stay at home with their children. We have movies such as “Daddy Day Care” and other shows that display fathers as the care givers and the mothers as the working class. In this case, the media has encouraged men to look at things differently. Nothing says that women HAVE TO stay home with the kids. So yes, we are living in a mans world, but we are also making strides to change that and make it more even for both genders.

  6. I agree with the whole idea of the “maternal wall” in terms of when women return to the workforce after having children. When women return to the workforce, depending on position, may have lost touch of certain skills simply because of their leave. Some other subordinates or fellow leaders may also have opposition due to their leave. It’s very unfortunate to think that others take envy for maternity leave but culture seems to make that a general trend. Finally, this “maternal wall” can limit a women from taking higher positions. Women are sometimes not chosen for roles due to fear of having to leave for a pregnancy. Personally, if a female leader is competent, there’s no need to ignore her capabilities simply because she could want to become a mother.


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