With the recent appointment of Marissa Mayer as CEO of Yahoo!, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the issue of women trying to “have it all.” She has been praised as a trailblazer, and she has been criticized as a bad (future) mother. Articles on the issue tend to rely on immeasurable terms like “fulfillment,” recounting personal tales of women who felt they had succeeded or failed at balancing a career and a family without any evidence beyond speculation of what might have been. I believe a more scientific approach provides a clearer answer: For women who are personally and financially secure, it is more psychologically healthy to “have it all.”
Much of social psychology is based on Erving Goffman’s theory that one’s life is like a series of plays, and we must negotiate and maintain a different role, or “self,” in each of them; for example, the professional tone of an interview sounds nothing like the slang-ridden banter between friends, and it helps to establish the participants’ relationship and allows the candidate to present himself in a way that is consistent with the image of a good employee.
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