I became of age during the 70's and the era of feminisim. I am old enough to remember when a woman couldn't get insurance or purchase a car on her own - and when the majority of women thought that if they wanted to work, only jobs such as nursing, teaching, secretarial really would be readily open to them.
We've come a long way, baby. As we all know, now we find women virtually everywhere we find men. Many women rise to the heights of business, the arts, medicine and politics. They command high incomes and have major power. The days of the "little woman" needing her husband by her side to get a new car are long gone.
Some, however, seem to think that the end game for feminism wasn't the ability of women to be able to have access to the world that was available to men. No, these people think that the purpose of feminism was for women to "beat men" - to drive them into the dust and be done with them. I offer this review of Hannah Rosin's "The End of Men - and the Rise of Women" as evidence.
So, women have gained the right to work soul-crushing, corporation-drone, 80-hour weeks, the right to bear and raise children without male interference, the right to live alone until the stress of having a career while retaining most of their family responsibilities gradually squeezes the life out of them.
So goes the general tone of “The End of Men,” Hanna Rosin’s misguided paean to feminism’s success in marginalizing males and denying basic facts of nature (women crave commitment, men are lousy caregivers).
Rosin’s book and its (sad, harrowing) accompanying Atlantic magazine story about how women allegedly love hook-up culture (the romantic lives of these “empowered” co-eds have been reduced to 11 p.m. texts from guys who don’t even buy them a yogurt first) arrive pre-refuted by the Atlantic’s long-running leadership role in the Feminist Reformation, with its withering examination of the movement’s shattered idols.
I read about this rather ugly, brutish outlook on women and men, and could not help but reflect on my own parents. Mom and Dad were married in 1948 - a time when many men were the breadwinners, and women primarily were "housewives" that took care of their husbands and homes and children.
For my parents, this plan worked rather well. Actually, though, Dad was the one who skittered over more into Mom's side of the activities. Bouts with depression here and there kept Mom from always being able to "be there" for my sister and me. So, after facing the industrial real estate wars during the day, Dad would spend time with us and filling in for what Mom could not do during those times.
After my sister and I left the nest, my parents enjoyed a long period of relishing life without the daily responsibilities of kids. Still - each assumed more of the "traditional" roles, quite willingly.
But, as for many of us who do not die young and suddenly, today my parents have to face the forces of old age. Mom particularly has a tough road now. Unsuccessful surgery 7 years ago leaves almost any movement at all difficult and often painful. She requires an aide half a day every day. And - when the aides aren't there, everything else is up to Dad.
Right now, I'm down here visiting them. Although Mom and Dad have had giant battles over the 64 years they've been together, they clearly have always been and still remain deeply in love. Mom looked at me the other day, and said, "Daddy does everything for me. Everything. Whatever I need, he's there for me."
Dad is in remarkably good physical condition. But, memory has become more challenging and ability to perform some tasks that used to be facile for him are now not always so easy. Still, Dad believes that his number one role is to take care of Mom. "I have to stay in good shape," he explained to me. "Otherwise, I can't take care of Mom."
This sort of love and relationship might utterly disgust people like Rosin. My mother isn't pulverizing my dad into the ground - and never has. The bond between them is strong and caring - not competitive and challenging.
I am glad that I have opportunities and do not face the same prejudices that my mother did in her day. Nevertheless, do I think that many women are missing something deep and special and loving and wonderful because of this sort of "feminisim" described above?
Yes I do. A great loss. And - something that many women may not realize they are missing.
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for showing me what real love and caring is.