Sunday, June 9, 2013

"In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks?"

There was recently a book on the NY Times Bestseller List titled "In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks".  I saw the fellow, a comedian, on a TV interview and got something of what the book was about.  I haven't read it but the title got me to thinking about that concept in a much larger societal sense.

I don't think there is any sound-thinking person who would not recognize the vital role that women have played in our society since we first crawled out of our caves.  Sometimes their role was in support of some great man, who without the loving guidance of the wife, would not have achieved greatness.  Sometimes women achieved greatness on their own, in the face of the mores of their time and against stiff opposition.

But it is amazing the strides women have made in less than a century.  Is it even conceivable that until the 1920's women were not allowed to vote?  Or that for most of our history women were not allowed to own property?  In many cultures even now,  those restrictions, along with many more, are still in effect.  Under most Islamic cultures a man may take up to five wives and, should he want to divorce one of them he must simply pronounce "I divorce you" five times and the wife is sent packing.

Until the 1970's divorce in our own culture was severely frowned upon and the woman bore the brunt of public condemnation.  A divorced woman was looked upon as both a failure and an easy mark for men on the prowl.

Contrast that with women today.  I read a statistic recently that said that more than half of all American families are led by single women.  Expanded state and federal social programs have provided a safety net for women that has afforded her the option of reversing the traditional role and telling hubby to hit the road.  State and federal mandates on child support, and welfare and other social programs has made divorce ultra convenient.  Should the woman wish to bear additional children government at all levels stand ready to reward her with a host of social welfare programs, funded all day childcare, all day kindergarten, WIC and all manner of support.

Lest you think I am placing the blame for family dissolution on women alone, let me say that men too have found it all too convenient to chalk up a marriage as a "youthful mistake" and head out to greener pastures, with much less concern over who's going to raise and support the children.

Until 30 years or so ago, women were not as prevalent in the work place.  Male prejudice against women assuming traditional male jobs kept many jobs for males only.  It is noteworthy that, in today's severely depressed economy, it is the women who are quicker to get hired and are less likely to be laid off.

Consequently, women today have become very independent.  They need not fear the condemnation for divorce or even for pursuing an active sexual lifestyle, as men have done for centuries.  "The Pill" and Betty Freidan and Gloria Steinham all made it quite acceptable for women to assume the dominant role in our society.

Alas, the unintended consequence of this societal shift has been the death of the nuclear family with the host of social ills that have come with it.  Kids no longer have a parent at home when they come home from school.  Kids are now free to come home, hit the video games or the internet and venture into dangerous activities.  Homework is not monitored effectively.   Our schools have declined as parent participation in PTA's and Parent-Teacher conferences have become a less important event.  Drop out rates are astronomical as school has become a caretaker.

So women have achieved a degree of freedom and equality unthought of a century ago.  But I suspect there will require a period of transition as women adjust to their new roles in society.  There exists today some sort of freaky duality about what women wish to be and what they wish their men to be.  In one instance the modern western woman wants her husband to share in all housekeeping duties, be a partner, rather than an agressor in the bedroom,  show a more "sensitive nature,  while at the same time fantasizing about brutish hulks and vampires and all manner of S&M master-slave relationships.  The bookstores are full of them and women eat them up like Belgian chocolates.

Men too are confused during this transitional period; isn't the evolution of the "metrosexual" just a nudge toward achieving some sort of masculine-feminine balance?  Men are increasingly willing to undergo plastic surgery to be more youthful, buy and slather themselves with male cosmetics, tease their hair into spikey attraction and spend more time in front of the mirror to primp and pose. 

I have no idea where our society is going but, being an old curmudgeon, and brought up in another age, I don't much care for the status quo.  You can't blame women for wanting to be all  that they can be...and you can't blame the men of this generation who have been raised to accomodate the societal changes.

It's going to be an interesting ride and, if I had to bet on one sex or the other, I'd go "all in" that in "50 years we'll all be chicks".


Anonymous said...

Just few thoughts. True, the family is not what it use to be but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. It's not nearly as easy to get public assistance as you might think. There is no free flowing fountain of money for that type of thing anywhere and no one is catering to single mom's. Latch key kids are not a new thing. There are very few married couples who can afford to live on one income these days. Having a parent at home all the time is a luxury for most middle class families. However, there are many more jobs that can be done from a home office these days too. I myself have one. I work full time and tend my 3 children while my husband wastes 2 hours a day commuting to his job. Our schedules are opposite so we don't have much off time together at all. The stress and disconnect that we experience could end any relationship but we are in it for the long haul and things are not too shabby. I'd gladly give up working or have him stay home while I work, but it just isn't possible financially. I don't believe women's lib is to blame for that. Today's "woman's role in society" is not that new, especially not to those of us who are younger and know no different. I think it's usually the men and older folks who need to adjust and accept the fact that 1950 is over.

JustCommonSense said...

Thank you for your comments. While I don't agree with you about the ease of receiving benefits (there is far too much abuse of it), I agree that it is difficult raising a family these days. As I noted in my blog entry, I'm not blaming anyone; it's just the way it is. You're right, it is harder for older people to deal with the status of today's family status but that's okay. But I truly believe that school achievement and family unity was better when at least one parent is at home. Again, thanks so much for your reasoned comments. Come visit me again.

grenadavet said...

I agree that our high divorce rate is a major contributor for our societal ills, however, I believe that human nature is a permanent,unchanging part of us. There are gender differences,no matter how "equal" the sexes want to be made. It's these differences that we need to come to proper grips with, in the context of male/female relationships. There is a book which tries to do so, to the point of discussing male/female natures- it's called the Bible. From the story of Adam and Eve (read it sometime without the religious aspect but with the point of delving into human nature and gender differences) through Proverbs and the New Testament, there is running commentary and underlying messages throughout. I see these fundamental principles at work even today.

Anonymous said...

wow. You got all that insight from a comedian ?

wonder how great you'd do with say, a serious thinker.... hmm..

How's the Roadrunner and Coyote working for you too ?

JustCommonSense said...

To anon: Haven't thought of the Roadrunner lately. By the way, I see you have a graduate degree in "snark"...are you a Berkeley grad? Frankly, I don't see any "insight" in your comment.

grenadavet said...

Anon,if by "serious thinker" you mean yourself, BWWAAAAAAHHAHHAHHHA!

Anonymous said...

most interesting and relevant read that I've seen from you. We should focus on the liberal women and leave the good women alone. All the women in my family are liberal and my girlfriend is liberal. It's like they are in a cult. They have no values other than selfishness and pity. Just the other day, my liberal mother said, "I don't have any empathy anymore". They are satanic people that confirm that the Bible is a most sacred, wise document. Eve really did fuck it up! To vote exclusively on abortion says it all about these losers but in the end, they will blow away like dust in the wind. They won't be a factor much longer...