Friday, December 21, 2012
I know I am late on this one, so forgive me, but I just read Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada and I must say—I don’t know how I feel about it.
I was excited to read something that I could quasi-relate to—a book about a recent college graduate, looking for a job in print and landing one that “a million girls would die for!” I can relate to that because I landed a job that “a million LGBT persons would die for!”
Andy Sachs just landed herself a job as an assistant to the notoriously demanding, Miranda Priestly, the editor of the powerful and popular fashion magazine, Runway. Although my job entails none of the following, Andy is pretty much a servant to Miranda, who at times, can give her the most outrageous and nearly impossible tasks.
However, Sachs has a job that not just the fashion conscious would die for, but really anyone who just graduated college would die for. The job tasks are completely extreme and the work environment the least desirable, she is still an extremely lucky person.
That is why—getting to my main point of this post—I still don’t understand why we are made to feel bad for Sach’s boyfriend.
Alex, in the beginning, turns out to be the perfect partner. He is absolutely excited for Sach’s new opportunity, he is a hard working educator and he absolutely adores Sachs. However, as I continued to read further into the book, I found myself getting aggravated with him.
As most journalists can account for, sometimes the job can be demanding. It requires long hours, over time and sometimes, even dropping plans to cater to a never-ending news network. The same goes for Sach’s job. She is the assistant to the highest of high in magazine publishing and in the novel, it is noted that one year working for Priestly could guarantee Andy a job anywhere.
So when Sachs has to work late nights to make sure that she is stable in her career, her boyfriend is off pouting away because his girlfriend is one of the small percent of college graduates that got a job (finally!) and can’t spend every waking moment making him happy and paying attention to him.
What makes me angry is if this ever happened to me, I wouldn’t apologize for my actions. My career comes first—it is the one thing that stabilizes me, helps me stay afloat and gives me money to stay alive. It is also an opportunity like no other, something I spent thousands of dollars at University to study up on, so why would I put my career in jeopardy to pay every last second of my attention on a partner?
I may sound cold here, but something about Alex annoyed me. He didn’t understand Andy’s career demands and he made her feel selfish and downright terrible for being a working-woman in an era that still isn’t fair.
I understand, in a way, where Alex is coming from. Of course when one is in a relationship, they want to spend time with their significant other, however, to put pressure on someone’s career and ultimately have them choose between a job and a relationship is absolutely unfair.
It gives the message to women that relationships come first, your job comes second, which can ultimately lead to the stereotype that women belong at home.
Now, I understand that this was a type of “re-telling” of an experience that the author had in her first post-college job and granted, she stayed with her career and the boyfriend and her ultimately called it quits—but that doesn’t dismiss the idea that women are often pressured to give up their careers to take care of the household.