For much of the past year, the hottest debate in the world of women's stuff has been, Can women have it all?, as memorably answered in the negative by The Atlantic's July cover story last year. More than six months later, The New Republic's Noreen Malone, as part of that mag's relaunch, has suggested that "Beyoncé says yes" they can. But Beyoncé seems to think she's not there yet. "I felt like I had been so commercially successful, but that wasn't enough," she says in a trailer for her new HBO movie about herself. "There’s something really stressful about having to keep up with that. You can't express yourself. You can’t grow. It is the battle of my life. So I set a goal. And my goal was independence." Beyoncé seeks world domination. She doesn't want it all; she wants everything. This is the problem with having really rich ladies set the terms of the woman-stuff debate. We're talking about one thing, and they're talking about something else. While millions upon millions of women deal with the mundane struggle of making a living and raising families, the question it seems that gets asked in these stories is, Can rich women ever have enough?
Ann-Marie Slaughter's interesting, thoughtful piece for The Atlantic was about who wrote about her difficulty being a high-ranking State Department official and a mom to teen boys at the same time. While Slaughter pointed out some frustrating relics of a more sexist era at the highest levels of government, it was hard not to notice that her difficulties didn't line up perfectly with the average American woman's. As she wrote, "I am well aware that the majority of American women face problems far greater than any discussed in this article. I am writing for my demographic—highly educated, well-off women who are privileged enough to have choices in the first place." So while Slaughter struggled to have enough time for both career and family while maintaining homes in the suburbs of two of the most expensive cities in America, New York and Washington, D.C., she did not mention the struggle facing many working women: not having enough money.