There is a saying, ”Be careful what you ask for because you may get it.”
We are living in that Brave New World, where nearly everything women have fought for in the women’s movement has been attained.
Women have the right to vote and own property which were the goals of the Suffragettes of the early 20th century. The Women’s Liberation Movement gained momentum in a pinnacle event-the 1968 protest of the Miss America Pageant. During this era women made strides by becoming a growing presence in the workforce- from 35% in 1960 to nearly 60% in 2013 . During this time women also achieved reproductive equality, thanks to the advent of the birth control pill and easy access to abortion because of the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court. Reproductive equality led to the sexual revolution. Women, unhampered by the prospect of pregnancy, were free to have sexual encounters apart from the constraints of marriage.
The newest wave of women’s progress is called feminism. There continue to be advances in the political realm with 20% representation in the US House and Senate. Women currently earn 82 cents to the man’s dollar but in some careers there is virtually no inequality . Sexual freedom has reached a point that there is now a hook up culture that is prevalent among young adults with one night stands and minimal commitment the norm.
There is a different attitude in today’s feminism as compared to the manifestation of the women’s rights movement in previous eras. The suffragettes and the libbers fought against abstract ideas and laws. They fought to change the culture and the framework of society. Today’s feminism is a war on men.
This is evident in the kind of personal attacks that are levied against men. Case in point is the ridiculous chastising Dr. Matt Taylor received over his “sexist” shirt. Never mind that he is a brilliant scientist who just landed a probe on a comet-look at his shirt!
There is also a movement of liberal feminists that seem to be driving the absurd regulations for sexual assault on college campuses. These laws are so broad that it is nearly impossible for a man in a sexual encounter to be innocent of assault. It brings to mind laws surrounding prostitution in Canada and Sweden that purport that women are always the victim and men are always the perpetrators of an illegal act.
This mean spirited feminism is giving women’s rights such a bad rap that younger women are rejecting feminism altogether.
Women have it all thanks to the efforts of the suffragettes, the libbers and the feminists. So why are they so angry? Why are young millennials denouncing the progress that they now enjoy because of feminism?
As my brother recently told me, “Being a man isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
Maybe the values that women have fought for aren’t really the ones that matter. Maybe fighting for equality with men has created a war against men. Maybe in winning these battles they have lost the war.
They have created a world where gender roles are ill-defined and relationships, as a result are less satisfying. Moreover, the sexual revolution is leading to less marriages , a disappointment to most women.
I have lived through the changes in our culture beginning as a kid of the 60’s watching bras burn on TV. As a married woman in the 80’s, I bucked the trend to have a corporate job, by having my own business so I could raise my daughter without 9-5 childcare. Then I was a woman of the 90’s who had the financial freedom to leave a marriage. I have the freedom to have a full, rich life as a single woman now.
I am grateful for all that feminism has done for me, but I am also angry about what it has taken from me.
There seems to be a new revolution brewing among the younger generation. Maybe the rejection of feminism will lead to a new kind of society where equality is about embracing the diversity of the sexes and we can make love not war.