Friday, January 07, 2011

Life becomes what life does – I thought I knew

I thought I had it all figured out. Men would want me if I was smart, successful and not needy. If I was independent then they would find me attractive. I would have self confident. I would not need to put up with anything from anyone. I could be my own person. That seemed to be the answer.

When I was married at a young age and feeling restless and dissatisfied a friend suggested I see a marriage councilor. There was a new therapist in town name Leslie. She was promoting herself as a progressive marriage councilor who could help women open up and strengthen their marriage through independent thinking. She was successful in ending every marriage she tried to fix. Instead of promoting marriage she promoted independence.

She introduced us to Betty Friedman and Gloria Steinman. We joined the ranks of the women’s movement. We were now bonded together in a common cause – women’s rights. She gave us strength to leave a marriage just because we wanted to be free. No longer did we need to stay and be unhappy. We could now go out into the world, work, make our own money and sleep with anyone we wanted.

Looking back I can see her almost masculine looking persona. She was aggressive and downplayed any attributes that made a woman soft and feminine. It just wasn’t attractive to be feminine. Wearing pants, being in charge and being indifferent to men was seen as strong and successful.

It wasn’t about attracting men. It was about letting men know that unless they wanted to play the game our way we did not need them anymore. We were self sufficient. If a man wanted to be with us he had to let us be in charge. He had to take on a more domestic role. He had to be more emotional. He had to be quiet and let us lead. The problem was that men did not know what to do. Man by nature is aggressive. Man has always been the warrior, the hunter and the protector. It was not in his genes nor in his social upbringing to be soft, subservient, controlled and led.

So we had to establish new rules. New guidelines need to be installed. Men were now expected to do at least ½ the domestic duties as well as work. They were expected to put their careers aside for ours. Men had to develop their feminine sides. They needed to learn to cook, clean, sew and tend to the children. In many cases they assumes the domestic role, raising the children while women went out and made their mark in the world. Divorce escalated. Women were angry. Men were confused.

The ideals of the fifties faded away. We were now caught in a new world with ill defined roles.

Doctor Lynn

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