You Can’t Escape The #HavingItAll Debate

Anne-Marie Slaughter

The phrase “having it all” has brought the interwebs to new levels of squeamishness in response to that Atlantic piece you keep hearing so much about. While I personally dismiss the phrase as nothing more than a hook for silly daytime TV, the reaction to Anne-Marie Slaughter‘s piece on family and work has incited constructive responses everywhere. But as women throw down the piece in tears (as Anne-Marie claimed), or frustration, “having it all” stands to be redefined for this modern debate.

Although the author may have chosen to anchor her analysis in the popular phrase for the reasons she tweeted above, not everyone is in agreement with her assessment of what it even means to “have it all” — not surprisingly. So as women and men seek to define for themselves what constitutes a satisfying family and professional life for themselves, some ladies took to Twitter to scrutinize this cringe-worthy tagline to a much larger movement.

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  • Frances

    The last one was spot on when it comes to how I feel.

  • Eileen

    Ugh. This is why I hate Twitter.

    Professor Slaughter discussed the trials of “having it all” as it is defined for a very narrow group of people – as she made completely clear in her article. I’m also gonna guess that that narrow group of people comprises the majority of The Atlantic‘s readership.

    The last slide is like the woman who says, “Well, poor mothers have always had to work,” when wealthy women argue that there’s nothing wrong with being a working mother. True, absolutely. But it’s not actually doing anything for anyone.

    • jack sprat

      Bless you, Eileen. I hadn’t read your comment before I posted my own. In context, I find your last sentence most compelling. Let those who ignore it, or worse, take umbrage, do so at peril of their very souls.

  • jack sprat

    The “Having It All” debate is what it’s always been, a pseudo-crisis that is entirely confined to that relatively small portion of the population which has (or almost certainly, shortly will have) the means to ignore those who’ve been left behind. Existential guilt imposes a heavy psychological burden. Best to distract it with faux “burdens” of one’s very own.

    (No, volunteering at the soup kitchen–or eating pate at a fund-raiser for a charity which spends most of its money on salaries for your own idiot relatives–doesn’t count.)

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