Despite the so called gains women have made in the past forty years feminism has failed. Certainly progress has been made in career opportunities, more equal pay, somewhat more influence in policy, etc. But on a whole, feminism has failed to achieve the basic attitude shift it was meant to garner. Moreover, I contend it never can.
I’m a daughter of the movement. I was in high school in the late sixties and early seventies. Just below the age of the women who were promoting it. I remember the demonstrations. The burning of bras. The speeches declaring the rights of women in the workplace. How men were going to accept and treat women as equals. The declaration that women would no longer be defined by the size of their breasts, the shape of their body, their looks.
Are you beginning to see why I say the movement failed?
What is the main focus of, not only men, but many women today? The size of breasts. The very goal of the feminist movement was to eliminate body shape and breast size as a defining factor of a woman has become the focus of today’s society. It is at the point where even tween girls are suffering from eating disorders. Failure.
Another failure; allowing and respecting the choice of the woman to pursue a career or stay at home to raise her children. Even in the seventies, the height of the feminist movement, women who chose to consider motherhood and family over working outside the home were looked down upon. I know this because I lived it.
My husband and I decided that raising our children was more important than my working outside the home. At gatherings and parties where we knew few of the people, when I was asked what I did, as soon as I replied that I was at home a wall would come down. Sometimes you could almost hear the crash. No longer was I an interesting or intelligent person worthy of continued conversation. So much for being accepted and respected no matter what you chose to make your life’s focus. Failure.
It’s funny, many children of that generation, those whose mothers worked outside the home and were thus in day-care, are choosing to stay home. In this economic time this tells you something about the effect of the choice of the mother to not be at home with their young children.
Please don’t get me wrong, I realize many women have to work. But the fact that these young mothers would rather be home with their children, sacrificing material things says much. Rather than giving their child stuff, they would rather give them a devoted mom.
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Sophie Dawson is my pen name. The real me is the wife of a farmer in western Illinois.
I have two grown sons, one of which is married to a wonderful young woman. They gave us the most wonderful granddaughter ever in November of 2010. I'm not the least bit prejudice. :)