Litman (The Ignorance—Virtues of Sarah Palin, 2010, etc.) welcomes readers to her formulation of the so-called third wave of feminism.
Savvy and funny, Litman boasts an impressive resume: graduation as a registered nurse, top litigator and senior partner at a well-respected Dallas law firm, stay-at-home mom extraordinaire, and now blogger and author. As a writer, Litman is delightfully sarcastic. She enjoys turning storybook mythology on its head: why in the world would all those Disney damsels in distress wait to be saved by a Prince Charming? For those unfamiliar with the history of the women’s movement in the United States, Litman offers a useful recounting of the fight for women’s suffrage and the birth of “women’s liberation” in the 1960s. The new battle, it seems, is to help women understand that while they may be able to “have it all,” something’s got to give—and it better not be the well-being of the children. Today, she says, we are on the forefront of the final stage of equality: professional opportunities abound. But beware the cost. “Betty [Friedan] initiated the Second Wave, encouraging women to fight for the right to pursue a profession. I am fighting for the right of women not to pursue a profession,” Litman says. She argues forcefully that women need to support each other for the professional and personal choices they make. Yet she undermines her own thesis with constant admonitions to women about the dire consequences of waiting too long to have children (difficulty conceiving due to old age and the increased potential for birth defects are among her favorite warnings) as well as the psychological damage done to children whose mothers opt to spend their time in the office. She saves her sharpest barbs for Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, whose advice to professional women is to “lean in.” Says Litman: “Remember that every time Ms. Sandberg appears to give a speech about women’s issues, her book, or the great balancing act, she is taking time away from her children.”
Plenty of valuable information but marred by too much scolding.