Sunday, July 3, 2011
It's so lonely when you don't even know yourself.
Was it good change? Truly?
Equal rights, equal pay. The ability to buy a house as a single woman. Being able to adopt a child. To have a child out of wedlock and not be condemned for it. Sexual freedom.
I'm reading a book right now that's making me wonder about all of this. It's making me wonder about the women in the 1960s who didn't want the changes, who were frightened and threatened by them. The ones who didn't embrace them. The ones who were content being traditional wives and mothers in traditional roles. Who found fulfillment in caring for a home and a family. The ones who were made to feel less than a 'real' woman because they weren't wanting to be 'liberated'. The ones who didn't feel they needed to be let out of the cage.
My mother was a woman in her later 30s when the Women's Liberation movement peaked. She never became a bra-burning feminist but I can remember the bitterness and resentment that seemed to sour her soul and made her lash out at my father. I remember the upheaval and tension it brought to our home. In all honesty, in things she said to me, I don't know if she ever should have married in the first place. A lot of what she said to me shouldn't have been shared with me. A lot of it was too adult for a young adolescent girl to absorb or understand. How did that affect me? How did it color my own thoughts and choices as I reached adulthood? I can not begin to tell you the times I'd say to myself, "If I ever do get married I won't say or do or be like that." And I haven't been.
The trouble with trying to change long-time societal traditions is we humans have the tendency to go at it in a too-hurried impulsive way. Without putting a lot of deep thought and meditation into it. We jump on the band wagon, we get the world in an uproar, and then it's the next generation...and the generation after that...who have to pick up all the pieces and try to put them all together in a cohesive way that makes sense. And for those who weren't there and didn't witness the way the original changes came about first hand, they don't have a clear picture as to how those puzzle pieces should go. They have to try each one first one way, then another. Some don't ever finish the puzzle because they have no clue how to complete it.
Some of the changes brought about by my mother's generation, the Equal Rights Amendment for one, were good for women. But it's been the changes within our inner psyche that have faced more challenges than any other time in history, I think. Because even tho we get the same pay, we have the same rights, as men do we've also lost something along the way. We've lost our sense of who we really are. Not as mothers and wives...but of our true inner selves. I don't think we really know where we stand sexually. Sexual freedom doesn't bring sexual fulfillment. Our basic nature isn't to be 'tough' and you have to be tough to survive in a man's world. I think it has brought a sense of anxious vulnerability to us. Do we really know what our role in this world of today is?
No matter how each of us chooses to live our lives, I think we women ought to respect each others choices. We don't need to condemn or judge or ridicule. If what we do and how we live brings us inner peace and contentment I do believe that's the ultimate goal of each one of us. Or maybe, as a daughter of the 60s, I'm bringing too much of my own experience into this. Maybe I'm assuming my daughter's generation just seems a little lost in the mire of what this world is becoming. Maybe I'm seeing something that isn't really there.
But I don't think so. I don't see where the 'liberation' their grandmothers dreamed for them has changed their world for the better.