Wednesday, December 19, 2007

About Miss Herman

... there's basically nothing new. I have changed my approach on the book lately, treating it like one of those I had to read during my time at university. It makes it easier for me to get through the chapters without throwing the whole book out of the window. (That wouldn't work anyway, I'm living on the ground floor, it's about one and a half meters of drop to the ground).

Still, the things she says in the book make me question her sanity and intelligence. A lot of it is quite traditional stuff. Women are born to have children and not to have a career - as if one would necessarily mean you can't have the other. Women are not build for the working world, that's for men only. Other stuff like that, which you hear a lot from conservatives of every country.

And, of course, coming from a woman who put her career before her child for most of that child's life (her own daughter is 13 or so by now), it doesn't really sound very convincing. Some of those things I really can't understand, like having the child crying on the phone because she can't take it to bed herself (as the news magazine she was anchor of is on screen at eight p.m. every evening). First of all I should say that someone else wasn't doing his or her job, as she surely had a babysitter or husband/partner who dealt with the child while she was away. So what was that person doing wrong as to not instil enough faith in the child to be able to take it to bed? And if that happened often, then why the hell did she go on working, if it worried her that much? It was one of those wrong choices we all make during our lives - and we all have to live with the consequences.

What comes out when you read the book, is mostly a woman whining about what she did wrong in her own life. But instead of simply writing a book on the essence of "I was totally set on career, but I wasn't happy with it" - which would be honest -, she wrote a book on the essence of "because I wasn't happy with having a career, no other woman should be allowed to have one". In every chapter - in almost every sentence -, she is talking about what 'we' (all the woman in this world, including you, if you happen to be one) are doing wrong. What 'we' feel. What 'we' secretly dream of. What 'we' would immediately exchange our job for.

And that sets me on edge more than everything else. Had she written about what 'I' ('I' meaning she in this and the following cases) am doing wrong, what 'I' feel, what 'I' secretly dream of, what 'I' would immediately exchange my job for, it would have been honest and understandable. But she took her life - which was never average for a woman, the average woman in Germany doesn't work as a news anchor and talk-show moderator and making a lot of money - and decided that everything she did wrong was done wrong by every woman in the world. She was privileged from the beginning and able to afford to coordinate being a mother and a career woman in Germany at the same time. That isn't easy. Most women working in Germany are not doing it for the career, they are doing it for the money, so their family can live off it. Especially at the moment, when you can't say how long you'll be employed and often have to accept payment that's below what everyone would need to make ends meet, they usually don't even have a choice. But they do have women without those problems writing books about how dreadful working mothers are. Thank you very much, Miss Herman.

I've still not given up the book, but finishing it might take some time. Currently I'm thinking about writing a little essay about the contents when I'm finished reading. But, as that will be in German, I'm going to translate the essence into English as well.

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