Saturday, January 2, 2010

Review: Gail Collins Looks at 1960 for When Everything Changed...

When Everything Changed
The Amazing Journey of American Women
From 1960 to The Present

By Gail Collins
Hachette Book Group
ISBN: 978031605954I
471 Pages

Remember the old television program, “This is Your Life”? As I was reading When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women From 1960 to The Present by Gail Collins, this book brought back many memories of my professional career. So I spent a long time covering the book, coming back when I was especially interested, or reading straight through on some things that were not so memorable for me.

For those of my age, they may also find themselves here in the pages. For those younger, this is a highly recommended book that will allow you to find out about what your mothers and perhaps your grandmothers were experiencing since 1960.

Readers will need to be the judge—has everything changed?

Certainly times have changed since the distant past when women could not vote, own property, and was seen as merely an adjunct of her husband.

First, let me highlight a major issue about which I had not earlier known the extent of the problem. “Women serving in the U.S. military today are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq.” (p. 372)

And another: “In 1998...About a dozen 13- and 14-year old girls had been regularly performing oral sex on two or three male students...” “It was no big deal,” one of the girls told...later.”

Collins discusses the activities of Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin in being candidates for our nation’s highest offices. Certainly for some it was gratifying, even if the individuals were not those that all women wanted to support...

While Gail Collins has created a wonderfully historical document that should be on the shelves of all women everywhere, it is not necessarily a period of time that we can be proud of, in my opinion. In just 40 years, women are now able to wear slacks. We have women in all types of areas of employment and the support to enable them to run for the highest office.

On the other hand, our girls and young women are much more likely to be sexually abused. We also have a high divorce rate and many single parent families, mostly with the mother as the breadwinner. We have women who are choosing to become a parent without worrying about being married. Indeed, for those that are married, both parents are now forced to work in order to have a reasonable income.

Children are growing up faster in some very scary ways!

And, for many women who fought their way through the ranks to hold higher positions, new ways by which their positions became stagnant were developed, while young inexperienced women and men were the new ones hired.

There may have been battles won since 1960, but there are many battles yet to be fought. Study When Everything Changed by Gail Collins carefully. Learn of the past to prepare for YOUR future!

G. A. Bixler