Did Feminism Ruin it for Guys?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by earllogjam, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. earllogjam

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    It's hard to imagine a life where you come home to a wife, clean house, and have dinner waiting for you on the table and have it be the norm. I wonder if I was a straight guy if that would be the ideal set up for marriage. Have a wife stayed at home in charge of the house while I earned the money enough to support the whole family.

    I wonder if their standard of living was much higher with this division of labor. I wonder if men and women were happier back then.
     
  2. Penis Aficionado

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    I have always remembered a professor I had, who pointed out that in that '50s suburban lifestyle of stay-at-home moms, although one income was usually enough to support a middle-class family, most of those families owned just one car. And since hubby drove that car to work, the wife was literally stuck in the house all day (the classic '50s suburb being purely residential, with stores, restaurants, etc. miles away).

    My professor theorized that the crushing boredom of these women's lives subconsciously rubbed off on their kids, who would become the hippies and rebels of the '60s.
     
  3. hardcockcafe

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    damn....cudda happened
     
  4. D_Alfredo Hites

    D_Alfredo Hites Account Disabled

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    yes it did...in many ways.

    on the other hand, it has benefited society also.

    my fiancee is of asian descent and her parents are very traditional, which works out great in many ways. on the other hand, it is sometimes sad to see how repressed she is and how they treat their daughters as opposed to their sons.

    however, the opposite of that seems to be the "sex and the city" type woman, who we all know in real life is shriveled and loaded with venereal diseases. that is definitely not good. lol

    it comes down to respect from both sexes. they both need to respect each other. there are times that i wish my fiancee would be more like her mom, but that is just so i can be lazy and she can do everything. once i realize that, i snap back to reality and realize i am in a RELATIONSHIP, not a slave owner. lol
     
  5. Jovial

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    Feminism just challenged men to reinvent themselves, to be better than they used to be. The 21st century man has to be able to handle his career and find time for his wife and kids.
     
  6. ManlyBanisters

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    I think Jovial is 100% right about men having to reinvent themselves.

    I also agree with PA - the women had boring and, in many ways, unfulfilling lives. Some managed it better than others - some stay at home mums still do manage it better than others.

    I'm sure I could go on at length about the problems pre-feminism women faced, but that's not the topic. Thing is, I also happen to think that the men didn't have so good either. Sure, they got to come home to a clean house, dinner cooked, kids taken care of and only a few 'manly' chores to do (put out the trash / yard work / etc.) but think about the other side of the equation. Those men had no choice but to go get a job and keep that job (no matter what) so the family would be provided for. They worked from leaving school or college til they were 60 or 65 with only a few weeks off each year. Also, periodically, a generation of them had to fuck off and fight a war. I wouldn't want to be a 50's housewife - but I'm not 100% sure I'd rather be the 50's 'man of the house' either, given the choice.

    These days both men and women have far more choice in how they live their lives. We all swap between jobs, and indeed trades / professions, a lot more - we have career breaks. When I was married my husband and I went through a period where we both worked, a period where he worked and I didn't and a period when I worked and he didn't and indeed a period where we had enough put by that neither of us had to work. That's the flexibility the modern system gives people. There are so many ways of being now - not just one accepted model from which one deviates only if one is a bit eccentric or damaged. I think that is better for men and women.
     
    #6 ManlyBanisters, Sep 5, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2008
  7. B_lamdellboo

    B_lamdellboo New Member

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    Yes, Feminism definitely ruined "it" for guys.
    Also, gay marriage killed the dinosaurs. :rolleyes:
     
    #7 B_lamdellboo, Sep 5, 2008
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  8. Xcuze

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    Feminism has become a dirty word. But it served its purpose at the time & definitely needed to happen. New word, please.

    Gay men love strong, dominant women so I suspect we view this issue differently to straight guys. Or other women even.
     
  9. Drifterwood

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    Did feminism ruin it for guys? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

    First, who wants to live in an unequal society? The 50's sound awful to me.

    And then, guys need to learn from feminism. Find out what it is that you really want out of life and get empowered to go and get it.

    Now the part that some may object to. If I was leaving college now, I wouldn't consider a serious relationship until I was thirty or thirty two. I would have ten years free of any responsibility for anyone apart from me. I would work my butt off to find the right career and establish myself, I would get my student loans paid off, I would get a house sorted that I enjoyed living in, I would get some good vacations in and screw around till my knob fell off.

    Only then might I consider the "family" relationship. I would be able to afford it more comfortably, I would have grown up (maybe), I would know what I wanted from it and what I would have to give to it. Not only that but the available pool of partners would have gone from women of my own age then to let's say 21 to 32 year olds. Unless you really have found your soulmate when you are a kid, there are plenty of fish n the sea, and we don't have that clock ticking.

    Is this offensive or unromantic? Well it's how a number of cultures have always worked. In fact, I can think of a lot of women who have done and are doing just this.

    Of course I am not saying that this is empowerment for all men, in fact when I want to see what empowered men do, I tend to look to the gay community.
     
  10. B_lamdellboo

    B_lamdellboo New Member

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    Isn't it still happening?
     
  11. ManlyBanisters

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    Well - that's feminism as an organised movement / political philosphy, and yes, it is still happening. Though if you actually read that article you linked to you'll see it is more about dispelling myths / assumptions about binary gender roles. It is far more about equality of people than it is about bettering the position of women in society (which was the main aim of ealier feminism).

    Many women don't feel the need to be feminist - many, like myself, are more comfortable being egalitarian.
     
  12. Xcuze

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    Well, the relationship between men & women is always evolving. But I associate feminism with a specific time when women stood up & forcefully declared that they wanted change. This is why we need a new word for it. That same force isnt needed anymore. Gentle, intelligent persuasion would be far more effective now. The word feminist just gets peoples backs up from the get go.
     
  13. BobLeeSwagger

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    Not at all. I think of feminism as a progression toward making both men and women more complete people. It doesn't mean there aren't differences between the genders. It means both have the opportunity and options to be who they're capable of being instead of who the previous generation wants them to be.
     
  14. B_lamdellboo

    B_lamdellboo New Member

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    You're right. I agree.
     
  15. B_lamdellboo

    B_lamdellboo New Member

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    Perhaps that's more "Women's Suffrage"?
    Despite the name, feminism and that time time period/movement are two separate entities (though, of course, closely related), but I think people have gotten to used to interchanging them, that that is partly why feminism has become such a "dirty" word.
     
  16. ManlyBanisters

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    Suffrage (from the Latin suffragium, meaning "voting tablet", and figuratively "right to vote" (clickety)

    What XCUZE wrote is closer to feminism than it is to Women's Suffrage - that's far too specific and was literally just about the right to vote. The women's movement (to refer to it neutrally) was about far more than that and occured at a time when women already had the vote (in the majority of 'western' nations).
     
  17. Meniscus

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    Research has shown that some of these women dealt with their unhappiness by having affairs. There's actually some truth to old joke about bored housewives getting in on with the mailman, milkman, etc. As early as the 1940s, studies showed that something like 1 out of 10 people in America are the children of someone other than the man their mother was married to at the time of their conception.
     
  18. SpeedoGuy

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    Hmmmm.... I wonder if that might explain why I once found a UPS deliveryman's hat left on our nightstand.....
     
  19. Meniscus

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    I've had similar wonderings, but truth be told, those wonderings emerge out of my own unhappiness with my current situation, and I suspect your question is coming from the same place.

    For me, I'm single and I work about 45 hours a week. I don't leave work until 6 or 6:30 most nights, and if I run errands after work, I sometims don't get home until 7 or 8, and then I can't rest because at the very least I have to cook dinner and do this dishes, and some nights I have to clean, do laundry, wash the car, etc. If I get sick or have a headache or my back hurts, that's just too bad because things still have to get done and there's no one else to do it but me. If I don't go shopping, I have no food. If I don't cook, I don't eat. If I don't do laundry, I don't have clothes to wear, and so on. I'm completely on my own.

    But my observation is that today's couples (gay or straight) don't have it much better, because usually they're both working full time. One problem I've noticed is that people don't eat well, because they don't have the time to prepare proper meals. Hence we have the growing problem of obeisity, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. I sometimes worry that home-cooking is becoming a lost art. I don't know how people are able to find the time to raise children. I don't even have enough time for a pet.

    Getting back to the original question, I'm sure there were some women who did not want to work, who did not want the pressure of going into a job every day, of having to perform assigned tasks and being answerable to a superior. I'm sure some women preferred to be the queen of her own castle, setting her own tasks for the day, working at her own pace, and taking breaks when she wanted (to read, eat, watch TV, play with the kids, have coffee with a neighbor, etc.) I'm sure some women found it more rewarding to work for he wellfare of their families than for a stranger or an impersonal corporation. I imagine some single women who did work may have been looking forward to the day when they could get married and stop working.

    This is not to say that these women necessarily liked cooking and cleaning, but it may have seemed a reasonable price to pay to be free from having to work.

    But some women were extremely bored and deeply unsatisfied with life as a housewife. I think what feminism was rejected was the lack of choices, the rigid gender roles, the notion that "biology is destiny," i.e., if you are born female your role in life is to be a housewife and that's all you can ever be. If you are born male you must work to earn money.

    I'm also sure there were men who would liked to have worked less, to have had more time for their families, to have been able to spend more time at home. And, as ManlyBanisters pointed out, I imagine some men would have liked to have been relieved of the burden of being the sole breadwinner.

    So our society has slowly been transitioning to one that is more egalitarian, and that is good.

    What is not good is that the cost of living is so high that for many couples to make ends meet, both have to work full-time, and one or both of them may even have to take a second job. To get benefits, one must work full-time, and more and more employers consider full-time to be a minimum of 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, and prefer employees to work 45 hours a week or more. It's often impossible to get a raise or promotion without putting extra hours in.

    So while women have gained the ability to have careers, for men nothing has changed, except when a man gets home from work, instead of having dinner waiting for him, as often as not his wife won't be home from work yet, and it will be his responsibility to cook dinner. He still needs to take out the trash, shovel snow, and do yardwork, but he also has to shop for groceries, cook, clean, vacuum, do laundry, change diapers, get up in the middle of the night to take care of a crying baby, etc., etc.

    None of these things would be so bad if men could work fewer hours and had more quality time at home. The fact that things didn't work out that way probably has more to do with a changing economy, not feminism.

    Honestly, economics was never my strong point, so I don't pretend to understand why one income isn't enough anymore.

    On the plus side, as MB points out men are no longer have to bear the burden of providing for the family finanically, and they no longer stuck working for the same employer for their entire working life, nor do they have to stick with one career. The advantage of having a working partner is that you can afford to take a break and be out of work for a while.

    Even more importantly, equality of the sexes is inherently better than having a second sex that is essentially the servant and caregiver of the first.
     
  20. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    I truly don't know. I tend to think it's a little of both.

    By trying to place myself in those days, empathizing with men from that period, at once I get an overwhelming sense of responsibility. It's like I have a family of children who all depend on me. If I assume that, "No wife of mine is going to have to (note: it's not, "want to." Most men thought no woman would really want to work outside the home and if they did after marriage, it was because they were forced to. A working wife with an able-bodied husband was something for her husband to be ashamed of with rare exception) work outside the home!," as many men did, I get a few very particular and strong feelings.

    The first is the importance of social stability. My entire family depends upon me to see to them. My kids need school, my wife wants nice things, and all of them are dependent upon me. On Fridays I take my check, put some in the bank, put some in my wallet, and then give the rest to my wife to pay for things my family needs. I know this system and it's important that this system continue so that I know how to function within it.

    Part of that stems from an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. I have my friends, my dad, my brother and they will help me with good advice, but when I come home, I still feel very alone because everything I see, from the house itself, to every knicknack and stick of furniture, to my wife and children's clothes and food, all depend upon me. Provision for them is my utmost priority in life and it frightens me no end. Were I to become incapacitated or die, my family would be left defenseless. Though I understand it, I enormously resent that my wife would likely have to remarry. She is important to me, we talk, she reassures me, she keeps me going, but she is not my equal. In many ways she's a child to me and just as dependent as the children upon me to live.

    One other sense I get is that the social order is important to me because it tells me how to live. The Joneses are very important to me because if we all have and do the same things, then it means I'm on the right track. It's reassuring to me; I feel less lonely. That extends not just to gender roles, but racial and religious ones as well. That's an odd feeling for me. We go to the same churches, the same vacations, shop at the same places, have similar cars, clothes, and homes. Job stability is of enormous importance to me. I need to know I will have a job when I walk in every day at 9am. I need to know what my pension will be, what benefits I will have when I retire 45 years from now. Knowing that, I can plan long in advance, knowing just how much we will be able to afford in the coming years.

    That little exercise taught me a great deal about the social dynamics of the time in ways I didn't expect. Feminism must have been terribly frightening because it upset the dynamic that men came home to. The home is a refuge, a place away from the world where I can be reassured that I'm doing what's right for my family even if I harbor doubts and anxieties. I may not have the last word anywhere else, but having it in my home helps to keep my ego reinforced for all the crap I have to deal with outside the home where I have to kiss ass to customers, bosses, and other authorities. To reject that social dynamic is to reject all for which I'm working so hard and going out on a limb every day to accomplish. That my wife wouldn't want to work or wants to have equal say in our finances or day to day living (beyond home matters) makes me feel like I've failed her and my children. Maybe I think my wife is driven more by emotion than logic. Maybe I patronize her intelligence when she ventures out of women's traditional spheres of competence. I worry that she doesn't know what she's demanding because men like myself try to keep our wives from the cold reality of the world. To reassure her I don't tell her about the worst things that go on in my daily life. I don't want her to worry because it will disrupt the family.

    This is an oversimplification in many ways. There are dramas and more complex issues all throughout my life as Ward Cleaver, yet I have been raised to expect life to be this way and I don't know how to cope if it isn't. The most frightening aspect of this is that I wouldn't know how to provide for my family were things different, and they are the entire reason I do everything I do.

    Living through the civil rights era as an adult man must have been one hell of a shock. Race, religion, youth, politics, economies, sex, and feminism hit men from every single angle of their being. Nothing but nothing was certain as it seemed it would be. The wife wants a job, your son has longer hair than your daughter, nobody goes to church any more, McCarthyism, the red scare, and the Vietnam war pit the country against itself. Jobs are being lost, "lay off" becomes a word, inflation eats at your earnings, cousin Frank moves to Greenwich Village and seems unusually close to his roommate, and the wonderful suburbs that promised so much are now the focus of derision in popular songs. Then comes the energy crisis, a major recession, the technological revolution, and a popular magazine asks if, "Is God Dead?" How absolutely horrifying! Wasn't this the country that defeated Germany and Japan not long ago? Didn't we weather a depression? Surely that we survived and prospered enormously following those two events proves that the system worked. Why fuck with it? What more can we, as men, do to make things right? Men are fixers, providers, protectors, and to have so much change at once is taken as a personal insult that we've somehow not done anything right when we've sweated and worried and broken our backs to do our best for our family, friends, and society.

    ------------------------------------------

    What now comes to my mind wasn't that feminism occurred, it was how it occurred in the context of everything else. I can almost imagine husbands turning to their wives and recoiling in horror, "Not you too!" Feminism came at time when there was so much social upheaval that it seemed just another stone to be thrown at middle class men who were being blamed for all other ills of society. Feminism grew out of a greater social change that ruined not men, but the expecations of men who had been raised since birth with the promise that if they followed the rules, they would be successful at having happy families, a modicum of prosperity, and a sense of fulfillment that they did well at their jobs, provided for their families, and could earn a retirement without regrets. That was the dream they were given and worked their entire lives to accomplish. Losing that to some unknown social dynamic just rocked their world. Now men are left without the reassurance of a script to follow. You'll be judged on an adlib preformance in this life.

    I don't think men have recovered from that. I think the GOP's current platform is a reaction to that change. I think many social institutions from marriage to nuclear families, to health, child, and elder care, to even the shapes and sizes of our houses and cars, to how our government addresses social needs, to our tax and legal systems, have not yet recovered nor been reogranized to anyone's satisfaction. They're all still operating on a model that is now all but obsolete no matter how much conservatives try to resist it.
     
    #20 jason_els, Sep 6, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2008
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