On Monday, Juliet and Ryan basically solved the gender gap in employment and identified it as a consequence not solely of differences between men and women, but also of a misinformed American definition of success. Or something? I’ve had a stomach bug so dehydration might have rendered me confused. But let’s go with that summary, and allow me to dip my own toe into the water of American Dreamz and their post-modern consequences by offering up a scathing review of our nation’s parenting. As always, my friends, YOU’RE WELCOME.
I’ve been a mother for ten months, which naturally makes me an expert on it—for proof, check out my previous posts. In addition to being a mother, I am a person who has a lot of opinions, all of them correct. And my reaction to American parenting is similar to the one my father would yell when times were getting a little estrogen-heavy in my childhood home: “EVERYBODY JUST CALM DOWN!!!”
By the way, in case you were thinking of skipping this post because you’re not a parent, might I interest you in the possibility that American parenting, like American working, like American lots-of-things, is reflective of a sickness that resides within each of us, vis a vis, we are all trying to prove ourselves. At work, on the playground, at the PTA, on the dating scene, we have reinforcements in this quest from a culture that tells us we are constantly in control of every outcome: prenatal testing, online profiles, amassing of wealth*. We are victims of our own success as the richest nation on Earth. Our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness. Continue reading
I don’t know if you follow book reviews and what’s hot in the publishing world right now like I do, but if you do, you know there was a book earlier this year called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking. Written by Susan Cain, an introverted lawyer, she found she could use her quietness to her advantage. In Quiet Cain uses personal stories and analysis to discuss the attributes of introverts and compares them to extroverts. She discusses some strengths of being an introvert and writes about some steps which society could take to better incorporate introverts in the workplace.
I’ll have to be honest. I didn’t actually read the book (though the above summary was provided by an introverted friend who did read it). I purposefully chose not to read it because as an extrovert, I could see where this book was heading: broad generalizations on both introverts and extroverts alike, and a demonization of the extroverted lifestyle, portraying it as boorish, unnaturally loud, and disrespectful toward introverts.
And it turns out, the book can be read that way. The New York Times‘ book review summarizes:
Introverts — who, according to Cain, can count among their many virtues the fact that “they’re relatively immune to the lures of wealth and fame” — must learn to “embrace the power of quiet.” And extroverts should learn to sit down and shut up (emphasis mine).
Yikes. Apparently introverts like Cain are tired of living in an extroverted world. Cain somewhat refuted the statements found in The New York Times on her blog, but essentially sticks to the party line that living in an extroverted world is harming introverts. They’re as mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore!
Today’s introverts. Courtesy of hechovisto.blogspot.com