I couldn’t let the day pass without writing about some of my thoughts and reflections on International Women’s Day. With the plethora of articles talking about the end of men and how “feminism” is to blame, it is more important now than ever to take a step back and thank the women who came before us.
Too many of us have a bad habit of letting nostalgia cloud our perspective. We get so caught up in reminiscing about the “good ole days” that we actually begin to rewrite history. Others are so distraught by their own poor choices that they long for the days when they were oppressed and could not make choices at all.
The pattern is all too familiar. Someone writes an article in the New York Times or some other publication with bombastic language warning readers about the end of men, the war on boys or the demise of masculinity as we know it. Numerous pundits, bloggers and academics weigh in and before you know it feminism becomes the inevitable scapegoat. You see, if it weren’t for these feminists being all bitchy fighting for their rights and stuff, then men would know how to be men! Who can blame them for being in a state of extended adolescence?
Another popular story is that of the “lost generation of women” who for all of their success, can’t seem to find happiness (a man). Thanks to the birth control pill and evil feminists telling them then can “act like men,” these poor lost souls have wasted their lives having meaningless sex only to find themselves alone at 42 with no husband or children. These women usually have a long list of people they blame for their plight. “Feminists told me I could have it all!!!” Is one of their typical complaints/excuses.
You will then hear scores of stories from folks proclaiming to be “old school” taking about how things were back in the day. How men knew how to be men and women knew how to be women. And how things were so much better back then. And that today’s problems in our society are all the fault of men and women not “knowing their role.”
I find these arguments to be not only sexist, but incredibly dishonest. Was life better for the woman who died as a result of a back alley abortion? Or the woman who was beaten by her husband who had no recourse because domestic violence was considered a “private matter”? Was it better for the rape victim who was shamed to silence? Were things better when women were not allowed to vote? Should we long to go back to those days?
It is also an absolute slap in the face to blame the women’s rights movement for our personal failings. Feminism is not a self-help program. Freedom is about the right to make choices. Sometimes hard choices. Sometimes heartbreaking choices. Sometimes incredibly stupid choices. But they are ours to make. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.