In the 1950s, life was simple. Boys walked to school ten miles in the snow uphill both ways, and then they got steady menial jobs with a promise of cradle-to-grave employment, and a good, submissive wife who stayed home and never demanded anything. Unfortunately, as Rosie Boycott claims, second-wave feminism eradicated those good old days, so now life is more complex.
When I was young and my father was temporarily unemployed after leaving the Army in the Fifties, there was no question that my mother might step into the breach and go out to work. We just went short of money.
Nothing is so straightforward any more. My mother needed my father to keep a roof over her head and food on the table for her children.
Women don’t need that now.
That’s one way of looking at how great life was in the 1950s. Another is that it was fraught with poverty and absurd social restrictions and saw a steady destruction of women’s selves. The thing Boycott says that comes closest to evidence that “My father’s generation defined their wives: nowadays, the role has completely reversed and men are defined by women” is a statistic that 39% of married women believe that they make more money than their husbands. Never mind that Britain has a wage gap of 17% among full-time workers; because a minority of women believe they earn more, feminism destroyed men.
The rest of the article is standard for men’s rights rhetoric. For example,
Jobs which give satisfaction, especially for poorer white males – who are now the worst-performing group in our education system – have become almost impossible to come by.
Women, meanwhile, are groomed relentlessly to succeed. How did we get into such a predicament? No feminist I ever knew wanted to see a world in which men were beaten by women: a world in which one dominant group was just replaced by another.
Our problem is, I think, largely to do with the fact that our ideas of success are still derived from making money and being top-dog in the office.
Sadly, women’s liberation, which ought to have made it easy for both sexes to choose their roles in life, has actually managed to denigrate the role of motherhood and caring.
No feminist I know wants to replace patriarchy with matriarchy, either, but since that’s not what has happened or will happen, it’s a moot point. Following Betty Friedan, feminists used to argue that full-time caregivers were especially prone to depression because they had no large group of coworkers to socialize with. I’ve heard of studies that nail the evidence for that down, but I can’t find them and I’m not going to base my posts on linkless “studies say…” hatchet jobs. But the part about denigrating the role of motherhood is still an exaggeration of the idea that defining one’s life based solely on caring for others makes no sense.
And that was in the 1970s. Just like feminists today no longer say that the most important feminist battle is suffrage, so do they no longer say that leaving home to work is the most important thing. First there’s the issue of pay inequality, and then there’s the issue of work-family balance. Although part of the latter emphasis is empirical – flex-time reduces gender discrimination – it’s become about more than just that.
That’s at least as far as feminism goes. There’s been an erosion of men’s position, largely because in many countries, real wages have not kept up. But that has nothing to do with feminism and everything to do with Reagan and Thatcher; easy as it is to blame all of men’s troubles on women, in Britain there’s only one woman who’s really responsible.
While their traditional role in society is being ripped from them, young men are losing the social compass which once came naturally. Women now demand that their men not only succeed in business and maintain a fat bank balance: now they’re expected to be emotional, open, caring-and-sharing types, too. That may be fine for some, but for others it is clearly not.
And finally, the world is moving on from the simple life that enabled every halfwit to have a decent job and stunted every person with a functioning neocortex. It’s called progress. It’s expected that people who can’t keep up with more complex expectations than being a brute are irrational enough to blame feminism for their troubles. But that doesn’t mean they should be indulged the way Boycott does, especially not when they’re the same kind of people who’re against showing anyone but themselves any kind of compassion.