Most people will forgive, or at least understand, women who don't work but who have children, whereas a figure who works and does not have children or a partner I am a figure of curiosity at best, and not invited to social occasions at worst. An academic friend who counts herself as a devout feminist recently tried to set me up. When she thought he and I might have worked, she said: "Great, now I can invite you to dinner parties".
Having it all means having a family life and a rewarding career without having to sacrifice one for the other.
In one of the most famous photos of the 20th century, Marilyn Monroe stands on a subway grate, trying to hold her skirt down as a gust of wind blows it up, exposing her underpants. She poses for the male gaze, but she is an unruly woman – the white
witch with supernatural powers; the burlesque star in "an upside-down
world of enormous, powerful women and powerless, victimised men". In the
photo Marilyn is so gorgeous, so glamorous, so incandescent – as her
third husband, the writer Arthur Miller,
described her – that she seems every inch a star, glorying in her
success. She can now defy the people who had mistreated her: her father
and mother, who abandoned her; foster parents who abused her; Hollywood
patriarchs who regarded her as their toy. How could she be the world's heterosexual sex goddess and desire women?
How could she have the world's most perfect body on the outside and have
such internal imperfections? Why was she unable to bear a child? The
adult Marilyn was haunted by these questions.
Outside of the Olympics fortnight, the absence of women from huge
swathes of airtime continues to be a hallmark of the industry. Of
course, the media is no different to many other areas – sport,
technology, politics – in its gross under-representation of women and
ethnic minorities. The lobby group Sound Women, founded last year to raise the profile of women in the radio industry,
estimates that just 17% of board-level executives in radio are women,
far fewer than in TV. Radio has an astonishingly high rate of mid-career
female drop-outs, who leave after the age of 35. Out of those who stay,
fewer than a quarter have dependent children. (Charlotte)