Interesting Debate on Women, Art & Having Kids

Art Info’s Response to Anne-Marie Slaughter’s recent controversial article in The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” asks how this issue applies specifically to women with careers in art. As an artist and designer who is about to get married this fall, I can’t deny this question fills my head regularly. I surround myself with incredible women who seem to be making it happen on a daily basis and I’m constantly amazed – picking their brains as often as I can. I think it’s great that this issue continues to be discussed on a broader scale. The article asks “Where does the drive to ‘have it all’ come from, and at what cost?” I most agreed with artist Jennifer Dalton’s response to the chosen title when she said that “‘having it all’ is an offensive way to frame the problem. No one gets to have it all; using that phrase makes legitimate feminist goals of equal opportunity seem childish, absurd, and materialistic.” She adds, “What I don’t like is her framing of women’s choices as more fraught than men’s because women inherently feel less comfortable working and spending time away from their children than men do.” The article includes many more thoughtful responses and makes for an interesting read. Are you a parent with a career in art? If so, can you share some of your discoveries?

~ illustration by artist Jennifer Dalton

One Comment

  1. Kristi Williams
    Posted July 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Hi Dana! I think the ease of balancing career anad family as well as the long term career penalties associated with motherhood vary a lot by employment sector. Although I don’t think there is a biological imperative here, the fact is that women overwhelmingly do more of the child care than men on average, especially when children are young (but there are certainly couples for whom this is not true). In fields like corporate management or law that require 60 hour work weeks for success, the time required for child care likely takes a big toll on women’s career success. And, of course, lower paying jobs with little time off for sick children and no flexibility makes for an even more challenging situation, job loss, poverty, especially for single mothers. I don’t know anything about careers in art but my experience in academia has been that having flexibility and ownership over your work makes a huge difference in being able to balance work and family. The ability to work in the off-hours (rather than being required to put in face time 10 hours a day at an office) allows one to still be productive/creative even when the demands of child care are highest. Of course, having an involved spouse makes a huge difference as well. On a positive note, a recent study found that among academic sociologists, women with children were more likely to have “ideal careers” (the researcher’s moniker for career success). http://tinyurl.com/8a4r6at
    Seems like a similar process could be at work in creative fields like art.

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July 18, 2012   1 Comment   Posted under Inspiration
Studio.

Dana McClure is a Brooklyn-based visual artist & designer working across a variety of disciplines including printmaking, collage, painting, graphic design, & time-based media. This archive is a shared collection of inspiration, work-in-process, & studio updates. { studio site }

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