miles to go
Interesting column here:
But I’d like to take it a bit further.
Women began to pursue careers in large numbers a few decades ago due to feminism, yes, but my guess is that this would have happened anyway. With longer life spans and the rising cost of children and globalization, it’s difficult to imagine that half of the population could have remained out of the workforce for their entire lifetimes. And if that half of the population knew there was a high likelihood they would have to go to work, it’s natural that a certain percentage of them would prepare themselves for a decent career so that the act of working would hold some appeal.
I never had a huge desire to report to a job (I’d prefer to be a freelance writer), but I knew I needed a means to support myself. My options for marriage in my twenties were not stellar. Many of the men, boys really, I knew at that time were not looking for a commitment. The ones I dated who were looking for commitment held significant differences in values and lifestyles, or there were other issues present, like lack of sexual attraction, substance abuse, etc. I knew very few older men when I was in my early twenties; for the most part I socialized with peers my own age.
In a world without feminism, I suppose I would have just made one of those marriages work. I might have gritted my teeth through sex or had money problems. I might have hidden my true personality and ended up alienated or resentful, or gone through the pain of living with an alcoholic spouse. I might well have ended up divorced.
Perhaps the real problem is that feminism hasn’t gone far enough. In the U.S., it hasn’t gotten us to a place where we can comfortably raise children outside the scenario of a wealthy husband and a stay-at-home wife.
It hasn’t gone far enough in that there aren’t enough commitment-oriented men who see the value in an educated, competent woman who can support the financial health of a household. Who appreciate women as individuals with character and strength. Who understand that, with the longer lifespans we live today, the thirties are far from old. I know of many couplings that prove those men exist. There just aren’t enough of them.
Finally, it hasn’t gone far enough in that, past a certain age, unmarried and childless women still exist in a “placeless” space, on the margins.