Rachel's Blog: Haussegger's Wonder Woman

Wed, 22 Feb 2006

I was going to write a review of Virginia Haussegger's Wonder Woman; The myth of having it all, but it turns out Leslie Cannold already wrote one and there isn't much to add.

Wonder Woman is the follow-on from that infamous article Haussegger wrote in 2002 lamenting her own unanticipated childlessness. In the book she further explores the "creeping non-choice" of post-Baby Boom women and how the loud voices of career-promoting feminists of the 70s and 80s drowned out that other "choice" of personal relationships and children to the point of firm exclusion. The stories of many middle-to-upper class women are related throughout the easy-to-read book and, as is to be expected, they are engaging and wildly varied.

Haussegger has another article in today's Age commenting on the truth that Australian women dislike debating feminism (I would extend that to say Australian women won't debate feminism), but again she has the problem that Cannold has pointed out; that

Haussegger lacks the tools to extricate herself from the circular path of self-blame and DIY solutions that have characterised her journey, and to cut a clear path forward for her female readers.

Today, amongst her "Me too!" cries in defense of Maureen Dowd, Haussegger's less than helpful comment is

...the women of Australia need a lot more petrol, and a lot more grunt, to move the lead in our boots.

I will say though, that the best part of reading the copy of Wonder Woman I borrowed from my local Liberal-voting-heartland library is that it is worn out. Cracked spine and thumbed, yellow pages. Clearly it has been very well read, despite its being less than a year old. Heartening indeed, perhaps we will debate yet.