76. Dating: Feminism Isn’t Good For Men.
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I was born in the 60’s in South Africa when many women still stayed at home and looked after their children.
My mother did the same until I was about 10 years old. Then, because she had a head for figures, she decided to go to College, where she learnt to become a bookkeeper. Night after night she would study, well after we had all gone to bed.
Then after completing her qualifications and working in various jobs she was offered a position at a prestigious bank and there she slowly worked her way up to become their chief auditor.
Luckily my mother had the support of my father – and her head for figures helped manage a tight budget until she could help bring in a second income.
Years later, after my father had died, she bought her own business, along with 3 more and she continued building and developing these businesses until she finally retired a few years ago at the age of 73.
My mother taught me that if you choose to have a child and if you can manage on a tight budget whilst you look after the child during the formative years, you could then build your career – later on in life.
Throughout my mother’s life she showed me that we all have choices. And if we choose well – we could all go very far. She just taught me that if we carefully choose when to do things – we could probably be more successful, than trying to do too much at once.
She also taught me that any choice that I make would be easier if I had the support of a partner. I was lucky in that my parents had been good role models.
When my mother decided to start a career, her friends initially frowned upon her decision. Eventually they were all doing the same.
Women’s roles have changed over the last say 50 years and now it has become the norm for most women in the West to have a career.
Although there may still be many discrepancies between for example, how much women and men get paid for doing the same job and so on, women are still so much better off than their counterparts ever could have wished for, before say WW1 and WW2.
Economics have enabled so many women to become independent, earn a living, build their careers and so on. For some women this means being totally independent from men.
Men have also had to adapt a lot. What was required of them has changed over the years.
However, we need to be careful that as women we don’t alienate men from the roles we actually need them to play.
It is now a well-known fact that for example – 80% of most prison populations, come from broken homes that have no father figure.
Surely this suggests that men do indeed have an extremely important function to play as role models especially within a family.
Yet, so many men have been demonized and many are now purported as – all men are rapists, women haters, sexist and so on.
In Britain, there is a radio program on BBC Radio 4, called Women’s Hour. I have never fully understood why they don’t also have a Men’s Hour as a counterbalance. However, on the whole Women’s Hour is a very good program except that many of the presenters cannot wait to insinuate negatives with regards men and the roles they play.
Society today has got into the habit of negating men and this isn’t helpful to either sexes.
Men have an important role to play and women need men just as much as men need women.
Men and women are different. Trying to be the same isn’t working because our roles are meant to be complimentary.
And children need to see the roles that both parents play because our parents and their relationships are our blueprints.
As a relationship therapist I have noticed how couples really struggle to maintain relationships, if they themselves have come from single parent homes.
If children have not witnessed their parents remain in stable long-term relationships, then trying to achieve permanent and secure relationships themselves, as adults, can become an almost impossible achievement.
Yet both men and women yearn to have good relationships.
Unfortunately, I am seeing men struggle with all the roles they are expected to live up to – roles that are sometimes not theirs to play.
Consequently, I fear for men. Men under 50 seem lost. You can even hear it in their voices, which have become higher and more feminine whilst women’s voices have become deeper and more masculine – here in the West anyway.
Sadly, there is often unexpected or indeed unwanted consequences when many advances are made. And the emancipation of women has had spin offs which haven’t always been realised. It has upset the old male-female balance which has not been altogether positive and in some ways it has left a vacuum for men who now have no notion of what they’re supposed to be.
Indeed, without realising it, women may be feminizing their men: We often forget to allow men to be men. Rather than allowing our menfolk to fulfill their supportive roles in ways they know best, women often take over, do it all and without realising they could be emasculating their men.
I therefore suggest we find a middle road as women.
Compared to our grandmothers, even our mothers, we have many more choices than they ever had.
‘We should appreciate what we have and we should appreciate our men’, is what my grandmother always said – and she never had the choices we have today.
So let’s not over play our hands.
We may just find ourselves without the type of men we so want and need. Let’s not loose the men we should value.
Men are not just human reproductive machines. They have important and valuable roles to play within relationships and within families too.
And as I have taught so many times as a relationship therapist – give a man his supportive role and he might just be your mate for life. And strangely enough – there are many very nice men out there.
You may just have to be a little patient whilst he finds his way to you.
© 2016 Deidré Wallace All rights reserved.
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