I Wrote The Original ‘Opting Out’ – Here’s How Little Has Changed

I Wrote The Original ‘Opting Out’ – Here’s How Little Has Changed


n-OPT-OUT-large570Ten years ago, the chatter filled my inbox.

Today, it is filling Twitter and Facebook.

But while the medium is different, the message is surprisingly the same — and the deja vu I feel watching the debate over a New York Times Magazine cover discussing “Opting Out” says a lot about how much has changed in ten years, and how much has not.

A decade ago, the byline was mine, and the title was “The Opt-Out Revolution”, a look at the surprising choice by ambitious, educated, achieving women to “opt-out, ratchet back, and redefine work” after having children.

Today the byline is Judith Warner’s, and the title is “The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In,” a look at what happened to those women. “Had they found the ‘escape hatch’ from the rat race that one of Belkin’s interviewees said she was after?” asks Warner (who, full disclosure, is a friend.) “Were they able, as a vast majority said they had planned, to transition back into the work force? Or had they…made a colossal error?”

Her conclusion: yes, and no.

“What do you think?” I’ve been asked by friends, and readers and TV interviewers since the Times posted this latest look. Thousands of words have been written on the subject of “Opting Out” over the decade, in books and articles and blog posts and comment sections, so at the risk of adding to the pile, here are some initial thoughts: READ MORE