Elizabeth Edwards' Mistake

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
May 6 2009 1:18 PM

Elizabeth Edwards' Mistake

Meghan , Susannah, Hanna , I think Maureen Dowd is right when she asks: Why is Elizabeth Edwards dragging this scandal back before the public? It just makes her look naive and foolish, and reminds us what a slimy cad her husband is. Dowd mentions, as have so many others, that Elizabeth herself could have been a successful politician. Her situation now speaks to the dangers of subverting one's entire life to the ambitions of someone else. Anne , I also agree that Margaret Thatcher doesn't get the credit she deserves for being a path-breaker and a role model. But also a model was her husband, Denis. He had been a successful businessman and while he was supportive of her career, he mostly stayed out of the way. Angela Merkel's husband, a scientist, barely ever shows up for her official events. These husbands of successful, ambitious women are perhaps better role models of what we should expect of a political spouse than Elizabeth Edwards' head cheerleader.

And while we're on the subject of ambition and marriage, Dahlia and Hanna have a fascinating look at why so many of the women on the short list for the Supreme Court are single. They raise the point that the pressures of getting to the top of the legal profession may discriminate against women with children. So it's comforting to remember that two women who got to the Supreme Court first, when women in the law were a distinct minority, were both happily married with children.

Emily Yoffe is a regular Slate contributor. She writes the Dear Prudence column. 



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