Women’s News: Millennial Women on ‘Having it All’

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Literally, Darling

Online magazine for twenty-something women

While each new female CEO weighs in on whether women can or can’t have it all, we find ourselves torn. An important topic about women and glass ceilings seems to have become a media buzzword and corporate publishing moneymaker. But what does it really mean, and is it as important as they make it out to be? Furthermore, why doesn’t anyone ask men if they can “have it all?” Is the “all” of the older generation even relevant to millennials?

As a group of young women gearing up to climb our own career ladders, we thought we’d throw in our own two cents. We’re not all of the same mind and often disagree with each other about it, but it’s time to start talking about it outside of another C-level interview.

Erin Russell:

Whenever someone mentions “having it all,” that seems to mean having a job you love, spouse, kids and preferably money. This term has somehow become stupidly prevalent throughout media as a life-threatening issue for women only, because obviously, men don’t need a work-life balance. But what the phrase seems to really be getting at is nothaving something — problems. Guess what: everyone has problems. There is no perfect way to live your life, and therefore it is impossible to have it all (and plus, where would you put it?). There will always be something you strive for, and I think, to a certain extent, that’s a good thing. Personally, I think having it all means vanilla ice cream with chocolate, waffle cone AND caramel.

Courtney Ehrenhofler:

I actually don’t want to “have it all.” At least, the phrase “having it all,” as I understand it, which means having a successful career, a spouse/life partner, kids, friends and hobbies. Eesh. That sounds exhausting. But you know what? Whenever I tell people that “No thank you, I’m not looking for a life partner/spouse/significant other/anything with more responsibilities than a pet goldfish,” I’m also criticized. If I tell people I don’t want children, I’m criticized, just as much as those successful CEOs who stand up and say, “Yes, I have a husband/wife and a kid and a job and a life,” and then are immediately accused of neglecting some area of their life or simply working themselves to the bone.

If you’re one of those people, guy or gal, who wants to “have it all,” don’t let anyone stop you. But alternately, if you don’t want a life partner, or don’t want kids, or choose to be a stay-at-home parent rather than having a successful career, don’t let those haters get you down either. No one in society is going to be happy no matter what you do, so why not just do what makes you happy?

 

Kristin Salaky:

For me, “having it all” means something completely different than it does for others. Having children is not one of my priorities in life. Neither is getting married. I am really serious about my career and if these things happen, wonderful! If not, oh well.

For me, having it all means having a good relationship with my friends, having a job that fulfills me and doing things that make me happy. For some people this may be a failure, but I think it really just comes down to what “all” is for you.

Amy Longworth:

Maybe I’d like to “have it all,” but right now I’m just trying do one thing at a time. And, unlike many of my peers, I’m concentrating on my relationship first, because moving to America to be with my fiancée is a priority for me. Is that so wrong? Is it wrong that I’ve prioritized an area of my life that has the most long-term promise? Is it wrong that I work hard at a job that is most certainly not part of my career goal, just to earn the money to keep my head above water? Is it wrong that I haven’t discovered what, exactly, I want to do with my career yet? And ultimately — is it wrong that I’m happy? Maybe it’s a relatively new phenomenon, but these days it seems that focussing wholeheartedly on anything that isn’t a career — whether you’re male or female — is frowned upon. I understand and appreciate that, but it hasn’t worked that way for me. I say, let’s just let each other get on with what we have to do.

Lydia Mansel:

I specifically remember the first time I wished that I was older and “had it all.” I was a self-conscious fourth grader standing in front of my bedroom mirror, wishing I was a skinny high schooler who had a boyfriend. In that moment, that was what “having it all” meant to me. When I got to high school, nothing had changed that much. Sure, I had gotten my braces off and learned how to use a hair straightener, but I was still self-conscious and unsure of myself. I anxiously awaited the day when I would “have it all,” and be 100 percent confident with myself.

As a college senior, I have, thankfully, gained confidence since that day in front of my mirror. Unfortunately, I have yet to find that confidence level that I so desperately wanted, and expected I would have in high school. But I’m not worried. Right now, I’m focusing on graduating, finding a job or graduate program, and making the most of my time left in college. I have no idea when I will “have it all,” but honestly, who does?

Joanna Hass:

A woman having it all means nothing. It’s just another nonsensical pairing of emotional words that serves to keep us all busy chasing a feeling rather than anything tangible. Just like “Death Tax,” “Nuclear Family” or “Gotcha Journalism,” any sort of meaning is replaced with ignorant fear at no fault of our own because no one will just sit down and have an honest conversation about it. They are the people who know there is no such thing as having it all. They are the ones who write incendiary articles for the sake of ratings and ad sales. Most importantly, they are nothing like you or me. The people who perpetuate this imaginary standard of self-evaluation do so because they know that we are less powerful when we’re divided into the haves and the have-nots. While we’re all concerned about having the proverbial “all,” we simply will never have the time to stop, take a breath and ask, “Who are they to say that I don’t have it all already?” I believe that if more women spent their lives trying to be better people instead of the best people the world might be a simpler place. There is no set of data based in reality that suggests we’re only happy when we can look around ourselves and see X, Y and Z. The worst part is that this conversation about having it all suggests there are only two sides to be argued when, in fact, this cannot be the case. Some women will have lots of things, while some do not. It’s the same idea behind capitalism, Darwinism or even the simple act of sharing the change in your wallet with some needy soul on the street. I don’t know how each individual may get their own special version of “it all,” but I do know that it has nothing to do with being a woman.

Hannah Panek:

You know that scene in 30 Rock when Liz Lemon is running through the airport, and she gets to security and instead of throwing away her sandwich, she shoves in in her mouth yelling “I can have it all!” That’s me. I can have it all. I can volunteer for every project and task force at work, I can make it home by 6:30 p.m. and have dinner on the table by 7:15 p.m., and of course I still have time for the gym, to serve at church, and to catch up with my girlfriends! Ha. This mentality often leaves me feeling less than stellar at the end of the day. How come I can’t keep up with the rest of my peers and colleagues? Why can’t I put on as good of a show? I’ve decided that maybe having it all really means finding satisfaction in what I choose to do, and not feeling guilty about whatever my peers or society say I should be doing. My job is not glamorous and my kitchen is not clean and there are a million phone calls I have been meaning to return for weeks, but that is OK. Having it all is not a synonym for perfection, whatever “perfect” may be.

Ella Cajayon:

As a junior in college, it’s safe to say that my future is as clear my outfit choice for the day — ever-changing and impossible to predict or commit to. So, in regards to “having it all,” I know in my heart that I will have it all if I want that. It just may not necessarily line up with what society considers as “having it all.” To me, “all” is all I want it to be. And if I see myself in the mirror one day and realize I attained all I wanted, whatever “all” may be, what more could I possibly ask for?

Meghana Indurti:

I’m a senior in college and my definition of “having it all” changes every year — every month, even. I think it’s more important to recognize that we don’t need to have it all in order to be happy.

When I was younger, having it all meant an acne-free face and a high SAT Score. Now it means that I’ll be able to travel more, find a job and maybe meet someone who openly likes to cuddle and binge-watch Netflix.

My point is, despite what Pokemon may have drilled into our brains, we don’t have to “catch ’em all.” Everyone’s “all” is so different and not one of them is better than the other. Some women want to pour themselves into their careers, some into their families, some into themselves. At each stage, some things become more important than the other. Sometimes we change our minds about what it even means to have it all. All of those things are OK.

“All” is made up of whatever you want it to be made up of. My “all” is a group of great friends, a better body, and a job on “SNL.” My friends’ “all” could be starting a bar, having a big family, and jet skiing off a waterfall. I don’t want her “all” and she probably doesn’t want mine. Or maybe one day she will. Who knows?

But that’s the point, if my “all” right now is a nice slice of pumpkin pie then I probably will “have it all”… even if it is my second one.

Literally, Darling is an online magazine by and for twenty-something women, which features the personal, provocative, awkward, pop-filled and pressing issues of our gender and generation. This is an exact representation of our exaggerated selves.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/literally-darling/millennial-women-on-having-it-all_b_4071977.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

 

Women’s News: New Study Finds Most Breast Cancer Deaths Happen in Women Who Don’t Get Screened — Should You Care?

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Dr. Elaine Schattner

Writer, physician

An intriguing new study found that the vast majority of deaths from breast cancer occur among women who didn’t have routine mammography. The report, published in the journal Cancer, applied “failure analysis” — a way, typically used in engineering to see what might have gone wrong — to expose possible factors in women’s deaths. There was a striking find. Among patients who were 40-49 years old at the time of a stage I, II or III invasive breast cancer diagnosis, 77 percent who died of the disease hadn’t had regular screening.

The paper’s method is flawed, and conclusions limited. But sometimes an imperfect study can hint at real insights. In this report, the apparent concentration of deaths among middle-aged women who “opted out” from screening and had breast cancer suggests that that not having a mammogram is a risk factor for dying from the disease. The new findings are consistent with the view, or model that was once a tenet in oncology, that early detection matters in breast cancer survival.

The researchers evaluated records of 7,301 breast cancer patients with charts at the Massachusetts General or Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The cases were detected between 1990 and 1999. Women’s deaths were noted in medical charts, Massachusetts and National Death Registries through 2007. This study, with a focus on screening, omits mention of male breast cancers. The investigators honed in on women with invasive Stage 1, 2 or 3 disease — stages when breast cancer is clearly malignant but hasn’t yet spread. It’s at these levels, precisely, when screening could make all the difference. That’s because once a woman has metastatic (Stage 4) breast cancer, early detection is no longer relevant. And by not including DCIS (Stage 0) or pre-malignant conditions, the authors avoid exaggerating a possible benefit of mammography.

The investigators identified 609 patients who died from breast cancer. It was this group — women with limited-stage, invasive breast cancer who later succumbed to the malignancy — that formed the basis of the “failure analysis.” Only 118 (19 percent) of women who died from breast cancer had tumors detected upon regular screening. Sixty women, nearly 10 percent of the group, felt or otherwise found cancer between regular screens; these lethal “interval tumors” represent screening failures. Overall, 71 percent of the breast cancer deaths occurred in women who had no screening or irregular mammography, defined as an interval of greater than two years between tests.

Not surprisingly, the breast cancer deaths occurred disproportionately in younger women. The median age at finding breast cancer for all patients in the study was 55 years, but for those who died from the disease it was 49 years. Among those women who died of other causes, the median age at diagnosis was 72 years. One point that did draw my attention is that over 25 percent of the cases, lethal and otherwise, fell into the 40-49 year age bracket at diagnosis. That’s a lot of invasive breast cancer in women who are in the midst of life, and a huge number of possibly preventable deaths.

Where I’ll go with this is to ask my readers — patients and doctors, oncologists and primary care physicians, health care policy makers and economists, reporters and editors, whoever’s in a position to act upon this news — to consider the possibility that mammography, done right, can save lives. Keep an open mind, and realize that most published studies on breast cancer screening are flawed, too, by their observational, retrospective or meta-analytical natures.

Please don’t tire of this topic. Breast cancer remains a leading killer of middle-aged women. Getting a tumor out before it has metastasized can, still, make the difference between a small surgery and limited treatment vs. life-long therapy for an incurable condition. Early detection affects the quality of women’s lives. The costs of failed detection, and late diagnoses, are great.

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elaine-schattner/breast-cancer-screening_b_3909170.html

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