04 June 2010

When Everything Changed by Gail Collins

My favorite things to study in my history classes at BYU were social history. I love learning about societal changes. One of my favorite classes was on the history of the family in America; it was one of my top three classes of my whole university career. I just find this sort of thing really interesting.

With that said, even if you don't often find this sort of thing interesting, I don't see how you could not like this book. It's a well-written, fairly balanced depiction of the women's movement. Although, after reading the book, I really hesitate to label it that way since it was really more of a series of movements, led differently at different times and by different women.

There were things in this book that just truly blew my mind - like the fact that women would graduate from law school at the top of their classes and then be offered positions as secretaries at law firms. Or that flight attendants would be fired if they didn't stay within certain weight and measurement requirements.

Women have come a long way! And I'm really happy for the women who worked so hard and sacrificed so much so that I could have a meaningful career OR be a stay-at-home-mom OR do whatever I can dream of. I feel really lucky to have been born when I was born. Sure, there are still problems that women face, but we really have come a long way, and it was quite an amazing journey.

My takeaways from this book:
  • My husband is awesome. He respects me, he thinks I'm smart (and it's okay for me to be smart!), and he does a ton of household tasks, (which was basically unheard of 50 years ago), he encourages me to think for myself and to make my own choices.
  • The women's movement took quite a few turns to end up at a point where we are now, which is much less judgemental than it used to be. Want to wear heels? Wear heels! Want to wear combat boots? Go for it! Want to be a teacher? That's great! Want to be a physicist? Awesome! Want to be a stay-at-home mom? Have at it!
So, take advantage of the hard work of other women, and go do whatever it is that makes you happy.


Ana said...

This is particularly funny in light of a story I just saw on Campbell Live last night - apparently some bank fired a woman because she was TOO attractive - ha!

Alice said...

Your Grandmother Stevens use to say women lost all their power when the gained the right to vote. She never missed an election.

trishtator said...

Good book review. You blogged about it before I got a chance to "read it myself."

I still will.

Packrat said...

This is a subject near and dear to my heart. Thanks for the review. I'll see if I can find this book.

Bart said...

Sounds like a good book. Which surprises me because I generally dislike Collins' NYT editorials.