Monday, April 8, 2013

Thinking About Having it all, One of the Copywriters from Space Revealed and Lilly Pulitzer

Hi everyone!
I read an interesting article this weekend, thanks to the blog Political Style, which often shares links to interesting online article. 

The article, Why women should stop trying to do it all, throws its hat into the ring of recent debates about women who work, women who stay at home, yadayadayada.  The premise is simple - we are being too hard on women and we are constantly in the attack and compare mode; we need to recognize that having it all is not necessarily desirable or attainable.  This month's More magazine has an article on the Mommy Wars.  These kinds of articles are cyclical it seems to me now; tied to the release of a book such as Lean In by Sheryl Sandburg and conveniently linked to the CEO woman of the hour who is being criticized for something.

I never noticed these kinds of articles before I had children.  Like all things in life, it is only when one gets pregnant that suddenly everyone else is pregnant, it is only when everyone else is deciding to work or not or how hard to work or not or how high we want to go up the food chain at work or not that we suddenly find ourselves suceptible to these books and articles that encourage us, abuse us or tell us to take a chill pill. 

My husband has NEVER had any of these conversations.  He has never fretted over a cocktail with another man about whether he should or should not "go for it".  He was (and still is) a great father and did half the housework and did whatever he could do while we both worked.  He never felt guilt nor did he ever expect to feel guilt.  Granted, this is a man who reads magazines about airplanes so it isn't like he thinks about this kind of thing.

This, I think, is the inherent contradiction.  Whether through natural aptitude, or socialization, women tend to be creatures who do care about things domestic.  And to be fair to ourselves, we haven't been in the paid workforce for a long time in the grand scheme of things and most importantly, our social institutions have not kept pace with our societal change.  If we had universally accessible, affordable, good quality child care, if we had employers that didn't think it was rare for an ambitious person to leave the office by 5:00 or 5:30 because not only did they have children, but they had a life, some of the angst would slowly begin to slip away.  And perhaps that isn't even possible, since so many of the top jobs really do require people who must be available for long days, evening events, etc.  And whether you are a man or a woman in these top jobs, you give up something (in my case, time for friends, time for exercise, time for peaceful reflection) that you may or may not miss later. 

I have seen huge advances in the last 20 years; I suspect that in another 20 or 30 years it will be even better.  I didn't like the title of the article "Why Women Should Stop Trying to Have it All", though I know it is copy written by a clever editor to draw us in.  Even the author herself exhorts us that it is okay not to "have it all" so long as we are content with having lives that matter.  I for one, am officially swearing on all that is holy that I will NEVER EVER use the term "having it all" again. 

But speaking of copy editors, and to change the tone of this post from slight rant to something much frothier, am I the only one who saw the little article in the J Crew Blog last week about two of their men's buyers and one of their copy editors going out for lunch?

Her name is Coco!  And she is British!!!

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OMG - I thought of Fred right away!!!!!  I think she is even missing a comma up above!!!  Oh I am giddy with delight!  She is as cute as a button and now I know why some of our copy is as it is: she is too busy lunching with the boys, and on the company tab to boot!!!  Lest you think I am being mean, I swear I am not.  I am just so darn tickled that we finally get to see one of our regular topics/bugaboos come to life.  It's as if someone tells you that there are things called pandas or Kardashians, but you don't quite believe it till you see one in real life for yourself!!

And finally, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the passing yesterday of Lilly Pulitzer, the grande dame of all things colourful and delightful, who made pink and green de rigueur for so many of us!


Lilly made fashion, and our lives more colourful.  You could not help but smile at the sunny, optimistic prints.  She was the epitome of 60s in my mind, and certainly her style has had a huge comeback recently, the simple shifts a delight for summer weather (as well as cruises, and those wonderful vacations in Florida!).


Even golden things must pass, but I am already sure that Lilly has some swatches out and is working on some new frocks with even more heavenly hues.

So that is my Monday.  I never got pics taken of the jacket I bought yet!  Jeepers Creepers!  On the positive side, The Cherry Orchard was grand and my son can play the part of a drunkard on stage rather convincingly...

Have a great day and stay safe out there!!!  You will note I am now posting at 12:01 Atlantic time, for all of my middle of the night readers....


40 comments:

  1. Laughing over your tag - I am certain that my life would have been all sunshine & ponies had my mom just named me Coco. What was she thinking?

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    1. Heehee - I am sure I would have been either very rich or very French!

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  2. hi, WMM, thanks for the mention! One Alison, the One and Only CFS, was "highlighted" on the JC website, I gagged at the fatuous copy, then blogged about it. After my first post, that particular page vanished, then went up again, inspiring a second CFS post. See thewhiningdiner.blogspot.com, June 22 and 26 of 2011.

    Not only is there no word for "thank you" in Klingon, there are no commas either. But have no fear, when the mission that Dear Leader has given Coco is completed, she will return to her home planet.

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    1. Okay - I snorted at your response! How un-Coco-like of me!

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  3. I could never pass judgement on anyone's grammar, I have no idea when it comes to things like that. Erm where should the missing comma be? May as well try to learn!

    I had no idea that Lily Pulitzer had been still with us, I would love one of those crazy dresses.

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    1. I want a Lilly Pulitzer dress, too!

      Old snotty me would have put on after florals but maybe I am wrong?

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    2. They're actually kind of great. I had two that my daughter swiped. Dresses, not commas.

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  4. So that's what she looks like, she IS cute as a button! Though she's too busy having fun to be taking writing seriously at least she recycles. ;)

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    1. TR - you are right - and I am pretty sure you must be cute as a button to be hired by J Crew, so I will not begrudge her her birthright! And I do love recycling!

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  5. I'm surprised to learn she is British, they're usually known for great writing.

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    1. That kind of surprised me as well. But maybe she is distracted by the clothese she is writing about??

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    2. OMG - now that is ironic - should be clothes, not blothese!!!

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  6. Funny, I have a picture with that same heart-painted wall that I took last week (it is in Nolita). It reminded me of the heart shirt (it is darker and the hearts are the same color as the shirt).

    I wonder if the LP stores will have some kind of window display to acknoweledge the passing

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    1. Ema - are YOU sure you don;t know the copywriter!!! :-)

      I thought the website was quite classy last night. WHat I liked was the obvious joy she derived from what she did. That is how you want to live your life!

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  7. I think Cheryl S. is criticized for emphasizing the limitations women place on themselves, rather than the external "glass ceiling". Both forces tamp us down. Need to read the book first, though, to discuss.

    There are some nice blue and green things at LP-- I don't wear pink and green--but most are still too "cute".

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    1. Lane - I am like you - i only know what she has said in interviews and those are often edited!

      I think the Lilly dresses are indeed a bit cute, but I think by a pool with a tall glass of something strong, replete with litle umbrella and peeled grapes, they would be perfection itself!

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  8. I skipped completely the second part of your post and kept focus on the first one as it speaks to me so much! Here in Luxembourg, I think you cannot have a family and a career... There are no structure for kids, I am always struggling during the summer break to find solutions for my son... Part time job are nearly only find in retail and if you have one in any other field you just stick to this job because you know you won't find another chance... I won't keep going, I will become to negative and it is only Monday!

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    1. It is similar here in Switzerland. A mother is expected to stay home, and the social system and policies here underline that (no affordable daycare, etc.).

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    2. My gosh - it is so bizarre isn't it? I have a friend I went to university with from Fiji. He told me that in their culture, women are revered and it is the responsibility of the mother and the mother-in-law to move in to help during both the pregnancy and the young years! Can you imagine!

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  9. LEAN TIMES Well WMM, around my house we have moved on from marking Ebert's passing to the Iron Lady this morning (the DH being Welsh and growing up as part of that 1980s generation not exactly mourning). Regardless what you thought of her, a real glass ceiling breakthrough and a huge national legacy, one of first politicos to really use the power of television, woman in a man's world. I might have to dig out my one LP article, a scarf, for a spot of colour.

    Also, I don't think it's simply matters domestic that are still ingrained in women. Workplace gender perceptions also start early - ambitious vs. pushy or demanding, the whole pay-work divide, I could go on. I think, generally, women think about things in terms of their social and emotional value, impact on others, considerations that simply don't cross men's minds at all.

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    1. Absolutely GF, at that time I never ever thought we would see a female Prime MInister.

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    2. We do tend to over analyze things..at least I find myself in that position.

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    3. DEBATING Blue Booby, hear yah! I think I always want to make the best possible choice. But not such a fine line between weighing up all the options and dithering. My mental ping pong can be exhausting. Men I live, work with seem to find it much easier to pick and move straight on (consequences, deal with those when time comes, or someone else will.)

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    4. I agree completely! And thanks GF on the heads up about Margaret Thatcher - have just been watching the BBC coverage on the net. I always admired her for her pluck and courage, less so for policies, but will leave that for the talking heads!

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  10. Congratulations for your son( although I won't ask where he did his character study)! Lilly, it should be remembered got her start selling her wares at a fruit stand, and was the center of a most publicized and lurid divorce. Lawyers for the well heeled always tell the most outre tales. The company that owns Lilly now is opening shops like mad. Ironically, one has opened in my mall this weekend.Interesting that you bring up the Kennedy family. Caroline has been in the periphery of my consciousness, ever since there was talk of naming her to the post of US ambassador to Japan. A most grave position, given the current climate with North Korea. And as GF noted, the passing of Margaret Thatcher- another strong woman. RE- the "having it all" articles, and indeed the copy-writing. I always assume they are written by recent college graduates who can not even begin to envision the scope of ALL- marriage, housing issues, child care, divorce, aging parents, economic downturns, catastrophic illness, major employment loss, insurance woes, etc- often concurrent yet, so I use that as my frame of reference. Looking forward to seeing your jacket!

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    1. Knityarns - excellent points! And has Caroline been named? I sort of lost track of it last week and then of course there is all the monetary issues there as well!

      I find that the older I get the more complicated I see every issue and the less absolutist I am becoming. Except about saying no. I am getting really good at that!

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  11. The "mommy wars" has been a very sticky subject for me over the past 25 years. Unfortunately, women are so busy doing so many things we have not found the time to unite and take over the world. Although I am a Republican and not a huge Clinton fan, I can not help but think that I may have lost my chance to see a woman as President of the United States. Not sure when another very qualified woman will be willing to put up with all the sh**.

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    1. BB - this could be your chance!!!! We need civil debate, not demonizing debate. In Canada right now, many of our provinces are led by women (the equivalent of Govenors in the US). having worked closely with politicians I think they have thankless jobs and they often do thankless things with those jobs!

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    2. BB I always struggle with the incredible level of scrutiny and the endless campaigns American politicians endure. While it is changing with the media landscape, up north and across the pond we just don't seem to get into the nitty gritty of public officials' spouses, children, university shennanigans, wardrobe...in quite the same dredging way. And yes, elections take a month here, not a year.

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  12. Strangely, I've been thinking about how hard it is for this generation of men. My daughter, and all her friends seem to want their husband to succeed financially, but also be available and not work endlessly. I actually know a young woman who's divorcing her husband because he works as a high powered lawyer, and is of course often consumed by work, while she enjoys her life as a part time yoga teacher and travels the world to yoga workshops. We live in confusing times. Maybe I should just buy a Lily Pulitzer dress and be quiet?

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    1. Kathy, I think you are right about have cake and eat it too (at same time) mentality - across gender lines. Maybe it's that not multi-tasking/ doing or having it all is now seen as a flaw?

      It's not enough to bring home the bacon (or tofu) anymore and fry it up in a pan, we are supposed to find the best pan for the lowest price, make sure the vittles are farm sourced, wash up afterwards and give a running commentary on cooking while we're doing it.
      Modern life and the concepts of involvement and self-improvement are exhausting in that sense.

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    2. Interesting if young woman's moble/ part-time career is financed at all by exiting husband's income? I also think we now expect perfection out of marriage or any kind of domestic partnership more than previous generations. Have a harder time with commitment, recognizing that keeping it together is work, there will be tough times, not just wine and roses - or beer and a big screen TV.

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    3. I think it is indeed confusing times, and I think that men are just as confused as women. Having been married and have us both working high profile jobs at same time, it is hard. But we both missed seeing friends and family. We could keep up with kids, but little else. These are challenging times and we North Americans are being forced to compete and be productive as never before. I don't know the answer - I don't think there is one, but I am sure I will want to help my kids with their load someday!
      When is your trip Kathy?

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    4. Get Fresh - yes, it's all financed by her husband. She's currently in Thailand at a spa/retreat "thinking it all over". She's a wonderful young woman, but I see this all the time. I had to have a serious talk with my daughter as well when she started to complain to me about her husband's working hours.
      Wendy - leaving on Thursday morning - I love road trips!

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    5. Oh yay Kathy! I love road trips, too!

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  13. I don't believe anyone, woman or man, truly ever has it all regardless of how things may seem or what they tell you. Life has a way of dealing a rotten hand now and again and even people who seem to have been raised in perfect families will tell you horror stories. We all have choices to make. You just never know what goes on behind closed doors.

    I could never see the appeal of Lilli Pulitzer designs. Maybe I'm not the right demographic but I don't recall any of my relatives wearing such styles either. I guess we're more of the bland variety.

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    1. Xoxo - I have seen the shoes you covet - you are anything but bland!

      Hear hear on never knowing it all and I know you have been indeed dealt the rotten hand now and then (as have I and everyone here) and it does give you perspective and I think the greatest dignity is putting one step in front of the other some days!

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  14. Wore my Lilly proudly today in honor of a great lady. I've loved Lilly since I was a teen. I'm just sorry that it's not already summer so all of us Lilly lovers could send her off with a flourish of pink and green!

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    1. I think it is so awesome you wore it! It is snowing here today - hard to imagine Lilly...

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Kindness is a virtue...