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Late Night: ‘Time is going to be your greatest enemy’

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This person can bite me: 

KOOIMAN: I fit into that category perfectly. I’m single. I’m 29 years old. I’m very career-oriented. What is your advice in just a couple sentences?

VENKER: My advice is, as the years go on and you find that you want, if you do, to get married and settle down, to understand time is going to be your greatest enemy. Not your husband, not men, not the government, not your employers. It’s time, there’s just not enough time in the day to do everything. So if you learn to embrace that side of yourself that isn’t about work — in other words, the nurturing side, the motherhood, all of that — it’s okay to let your husband bring home that full-time income so you can have more of a balanced life. And we should really be thanking men for this, not saying they’re in our way or not doing enough.

Venker has previously argued that, as women become major breadwinners and stop acting like “traditional women,” they are becoming increasingly more annoying and less marriageable to men.

Delightful. Because every man wants a woman with no interests besides him. I’m not saying such guys don’t exist, but so do fellows who enjoy their wives having work that excites and motivates them and oh, yeah, pays them a little bit too. Men’s identities may be tied to their paychecks but in the case of a lot of guys I know, so are all their anxieties, and some extra cash can really ease that burden.

You know who else exists? Men who want that balanced life, too. Men who want to spend time with their kids. Men who, heaven forfend, enjoy doing things around the house, taking care of their families, enjoying weekends or nights that aren’t spent in the office. I don’t know when we decided that the norm was for men not to give a fuck about the women they married or the children they fathered, but I know too many examples to the contrary not to feel outrage at the stereotype.

God, there’s so much wrong with just this one paragraph. Work can be nurturing. Plenty of women who don’t have children, who aren’t married, have nurturing and fulfilling roles in their communities. Plenty of women don’t give a shit about nurturing anyone else, either, and that also hurts no one. Plenty of women change their minds about these things, about what they want and when they want them. Plenty of women don’t. I so loathe this idea that every working woman, especially a very driven or successful one, secretly pines to breastfeed and knit. Somehow we never hear the reverse from these scolds, that all women secretly want a corner office or a crew to boss.

Somehow we never hear that all women secretly want both, and have been prevented from feeling like it’s okay to want both by beasts like this who have a book to sell. (And if she’s so traditional and non-threatening and marriageable, why isn’t she in the kitchen making a sandwich, anyway? Why is she on TV with her hair done, threatening men like that?)

It’s nobody’s business what your secret heart wants. And it’s nobody’s business but yours what choices you make and when you make them. All the fucking tick-tock noises and talk about geriatric uteruses and regretting things later on is just insecure people trying to make you feel bad so they feel better.


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Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel is a 10-year veteran of the newspaper business. She publishes First Draft, a writing and politics blog, with her partners Holden, Jude and Scout. She is the author of the books Chicago's Historic Irish Pubs (2011, Arcadia Publishing, with Mike Danahey) and It Doesn’t End With Us: The Story of the Daily Cardinal, about a great liberal journalism institution (2007, Heritage Books). She also edited the anthology “Special Plans: The Blogs on Douglas Feith and the Faulty Intelligence That Led to War” (2005, William, James & Co.) Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Daily Southtown, Sirens Magazine, and Alternet. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two ferrets, and approximately 60 tons of books.