When Everything Changed

Once upon a time when women never wore pants in public and went to college to get an MRS,  jobs were often offered to women on condition that they would either not get pregnant or quit if they did.   I actually remember such an offer.

Gail Collins, New York times op-ed columnist writes about a time not so long ago, but alien to young women professionals today in When Everything Changed.

Beginning with the sixties, and segwaying quickly into the seventies and beyond, Collins has tales of women – thrown out of court for wearing slacks, competing to best the world record for ironing, vying for limited options for jobs (forget career), and more.    Famous names sprinkle the insults endured in the history – most still out there, e.g., Sandra Day O’Connor, Nora Ephron, Phyllis Schlafly…as well as great quotes…

“A good man is hard to find, so they hire women.”

” ‘For a woman to make decisions, to triumph over anything, would be unpleasant, dominant, masculine.’  Later in the decade, the original Star Trek series would feature a story about a woman so desperate to become a starship captain – a post apparently restricted to men – that she arranged to have her brain transferred into Captain Kirk’s body. The crew quickly noticed that the captain was manicuring his nails at the helm and having hysterics over the least little thing.”

To be honest, I skimmed over a lot of the book. It may seem more like “This is Your Life” if you lived through the last thirty or forty years, but Collins, whose columns in the Times I always read with relish, has a great table of contents – ending with “Hilary and Sarah…and Tahita.”

Hard not to laugh or cringe when the book gets to the present – all the way to Sarah Palin as VP candidate.    Glad the book was published before Palin got to be a cheerleader on Dancing With the Stars.

1 thought on “When Everything Changed

  1. P.S. Gail Collins Weighs In on Women Today

    Collins writes in her op-ed column…

    “She’s (Murkowski) about as entrenched with special interests as anyone, at least from a campaign finance standpoint,” said Dave Levinthal of the Center for Responsive Politics. Unlike her opponents, Murkowski got most of her money from political action committees, many of them in the energy field. Murkowski’s first step upon returning to Washington will be to lobby to retain her post as the ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

    So not exactly a victory for oppressed womanhood. However, a definite defeat for Sarah Palin. Let’s take our little pleasures where we can get them.”

Comments are closed.