Every week on Monday morning, the Council and invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day. This week’s question: Generally speaking, do you think the relationship between the sexes has changed for better or worse in the last 30 years? Why?
The Independent Sentinel: I’m answering as a woman and I’m answering on a personal level. Overall I’m not happy with the changes in women and can’t speak to how men feel about them.
Men don’t hold open doors as much and I miss that. I miss polite manners, proper attire and proper etiquette.
Women now think their rights include killing fetuses up to the moment of birth. They think they sound cool cursing. A lot of women seem to have lost the modesty and self-regard that kept them from indiscriminate bed hopping and dressing like women of the night. I don’t appreciate men who live their lives like that either by the way. Do men think changes like this are an improvement?
I can’t answer for men or how it affects people overall, but to me it represents a moral disintegration of society and it sets a terrible example for the youth.
Divorces are far too common and people aren’t working as hard at making relationships work. They made sacred vows to each other that they don’t take as seriously as they should in a lot of cases.
Women have far more career opportunities now and if they put the time and effort in, they do as well as any man. I work in a man’s world and they’ve always treated me well. It was harder for me to get ahead as a woman, but it made me strive harder.
As parents, is their relationship good for children or are parents becoming too engrossed in work or drugs or other less important pursuits? There is hardly anything more important than raising children well, but it seems like less of a priority for some, at least it does here in NY. The men I know have trouble finding the kind of woman they want to marry.
I don’t believe these changes are representative of most women but it is more of a problem than in the past and parents are neglecting their children more than ever. They often compensate by spoiling them or blaming others, like teachers, for their children’s problems.
Women have more freedom which is a great thing. What they do with the freedom remains to be seen.
Minority men seem to have lost their way as family men and that is heartbreaking.
I believe in shame, modesty, commitment, loyalty, honor, selflessness, generosity and I want to see them make more of a mark in our relationships period. I think we need to reset our priorities in the male-female relationship, at least in NY.
The lack of morals by some in Hollywood and the music industry sets a bad tone. That needs to swing back a bit and they do negatively influence societal values and relationships. They are propagandists.
Men always treated me equally and with respect. That was rarely a problem for me.
I am no longer a Humanist and I no longer believe anything goes. I see the way it’s going and I think it will hurt us in the long run.
Virginia Right!: Well, having been married for the last 30 years only qualifies me to answer that question as it applies to just one woman – my wife. But as an observer of human nature, I would have to say that the trend over the last 30 years – and going back to the late 60′s – has been one where women have moved from having an accepted “place” in society to one where they are able to do anything they want without anyone raising an eyebrow. From a woman’s perspective, the freedom they now have is a huge positive. The phrase “No, because you are a woman,” is all but gone from our society. Women are free to do nearly everything a man can do with very few exceptions. And those exceptions are more logistical in nature than societal.
There has been no better time in American history for those who love freedom to be a female.
From a male point of view, the concepts of chivalry and gentlemanly conduct are, sadly, outdated. A true gentleman sees that role as an honorable thing to do. Hold the door for a lady, give up your seat – even if it is on a lifeboat. We evolved over thousands of years where males were taught to protect females. Now women are more likely to be offended by this behavior. Younger males have grown up with “liberated” females. It is nothing to have a female call a guy for a date, and even pay – although most ladies are willing to overlook women’s liberation when the check comes.
At this point, the men are forced to allow the woman to pick and choose the areas where she wants to be free and “equal” and the times when the man still is expected to be the traditional male.(Yes. The ladies want it both ways.)
As the father of a daughter, I am thrilled and excited to see her face no barriers to her life’s dreams because she is a female. But part of me is sad because the same freedom I celebrate for her carries with it greater difficulties and responsibilities. Strangers won’t hold doors or give up their seat for her and these same strangers are far more willing to let her fend for herself and not make her path a bit easier.
The bonds between a man and a woman these days are counter to our evolutionary trends. That doesn’t mean they are worse, just different. But this newly evolving freedom that women enjoy is far less compatible with the traditional family structure. The female role as the nurturing parent in a family and the male as the “breadwinner” does not fit into the new relationship between men and women. And we have yet to come up with a model that replaces the traditional family structure that is anywhere near as successful at raising children.
So on an individual basis, the relationship between men and women is better than 30 years ago because women have the same freedoms and are truly equals with men. In a professional environment, the relationship between men and women is greatly improved.
But the new dynamic between men and women is definitely worse when it carries into the family unit.
GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: Not really sure. Not being around so long – all I can say personally say is from about age 13 on, mine got better.
Simply Jews: As far as the changes (not personal, I am married for more years than I care to report), there was a serious improvement in women’s status. I do see a real empowerment of women, almost full removal of the glass ceiling and other barriers that prevent career, family and other kinds of equality. Saying this, of course there are still pockets of male chauvinism here and there, but time does its thing, and I think the overall trend is positive. As far as I am concerned, I don’t feel that my daughter’s career and life in general suffered from any “special treatment” that was missing in my son’s. What better litmus test can one apply?
Saying this, there are a few sources of potential and/or growing trouble:
- Ultra-religious sects: Islamists mostly, of course, but Judaism and Christianity in their ultra-orthodox “implementations” do degrade women and women’s status. One can see the Judaic part in some places in Israel and the Christian “contribution” especially in what used to be the Soviet Union and its East-European satellites, where the Church’s rise was extremely fast and caused a lot of turbulence.
- Militant feminism. I don’t have to tell Americans what it is, only that, in my opinion, this “movement” is far from being done in. Unfortunately, like many other revolutionary movements, feminism, once it (mostly) accomplished its goals, started to stagnate and to look for ways to reinvent itself, as any organization with a strong instinct of self-preservation. As a result, feminism produced that militant offshoot that has taken the initially valid ideas and goals to absurdity and continues to generate ill will and ridicule itself. In effect it causes more damage to feminism than male chauvinists could have ever dreamed about. But, since most of these distinguished ladies reside in the US, it’s mainly your problem.
- Political Correctness. Being a thin layer of veneer on our uncouth souls, it hides more than it changes. Just like militant feminism, PC tends to cause the opposite of what it supposedly aims to achieve. For instance, like that Austrian law about the blonde jokes.
The Noisy Room: I would say the relationship between the sexes has changed for the worse over the last 30 years. We have been subjected to massive social engineering. Socialists, operating through psychologists, have gone to great lengths to blur the lines between gender roles and burdened families with taxation to the point where the nuclear family has fractured by the necessities of income. Single breadwinner homes are increasingly rare and home raised children are rarer still.
Men have been “feminized,” women have been “aggressivized” and children, in the process of being “socialized,” are increasingly, aggressively self-important, self-centered and self-serving. As a socially engineered society produces successive generations of amoralized young adults, and “belonging” no longer includes the family, the natural relationship between men and women corrodes in favor of adversarial relationships. Even married couples compete for space and dominion within the home. Children are no longer offspring and progeny, so much as they are products of Mommy and Daddy’s success to be showcased to Mommy and Daddy’s peers or alternatively, a continuing bundle of self entitlement burden.
The engineered framework imposed on families through public schooling, non-stop advertising memes of ‘women are smart, men are dumb,’ ‘kids are smart, adults are dumb’ and ‘politically correct grouping are smart, middle class, white dudes are dumb,’ no longer supports something as quaint as a nuclear family unit having parents that provide discipline, guidance and leadership rather than money, attention and privilege.
The natural relationship of women and men, now overstressed by these artificially imposed tensions and competing priorities, continues to unravel. Men and women each had defined, unique roles in the relationship before and after marriage. Those roles have been blurred, distorted and shredded to the point that a solidified relationship and a family are increasingly difficult to define and characterize. Without morality, a grounded religious belief and a core work ethic, the family unit and the relationship between a man and a woman can only exist in a warped, corrupted form. That is what the last 30 years of Progressive secularism has brought us.
The Razor: I would say the relationship between the two sexes hasn’t changed, but what has changed are the roles. Men aren’t expected to get married immediately after school and have more freedom to be slackers if they so desire, while the sexual liberation of women has allowed men to avoid “buying the cow while they can get the milk for free,” granting men sexual freedom without the responsibility of marriage. After marriage men have been freed from the tyranny of sole breadwinner and now women are increasingly expected to bear that burden as equals. Perhaps as a result of this, men now have more time with their children and can play a more active role in their development. They can also pursue jobs that are more fulfilling to them personally instead of being forced to chase better paying positions and jobs.
Oddly enough, I believe that women have suffered the most. They now face the same expectations that men have to to be successful in a career. Instead of having the choice to stay at home with their children, many women are forced by economic necessity to return to work soon after bearing a child.
In short men have lost responsibility and gained freedom while women have achieved the opposite result. Thank you Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem!
The Right Planet: Overall, the relationship between men and women has deteriorated over the past 30 years, in my opinion. I think the high divorce rate in the U.S. might support that conclusion statistically. I have witnessed a great deal of confusion and befuddlement from both sexes as to the ever-changing roles of men and women in modern society.
I don’t believe the blame for this observed breakdown between men and women is the sole fault of just one sex, or just one societal factor; but I believe a big part of it is due to a lack of respect for people in general that has only increased over the years. We live in a very licentious and in-your-face culture which demands instant gratification (just look at the profits of the porn industry if you disagree). Additionally, we also find ourselves in a culture where the New Marxists of the Left purposefully try and destroy the whole concept of traditional family, and to blur the lines between the sexes – an androgynous culture being the stated goal (i.e. sameness).
When I was coming of age, sex, drugs and rock & roll was the mantra of the day; it’s even more over-the-top for young people in our society now. Yet I’ve witnessed death, jail, insanity, divorce and the utter heartache of many who have chosen the dissipated path of the self-indulgent and morally bankrupt lifestyle – me being one of them back in the day. A culture where everybody is running around boffing each other and indulging in every capricious whim is not a good thing. I have yet to see any good come from it, yet we’re fed a steady diet of it on a daily basis from many quarters. Bottom line: if you don’t have any self-respect, you’re sure as hell not going to have any respect for the opposite sex, or anyone else, for that matter. That’s a no-brainer if you ask me.
Gay Patriot: When you’re a gay man with many straight friends, you observe actions between men and women in a way that those straight peers often do not. Perhaps the primary thing you notice can be summarized in the apparently trite statement: men and women are different.
Each group expects something different from the interaction. Things are worse when we expect men and women to have the same reactions to similar circumstances, and try to adjust their behavior to fit certain social expectations.
Things are better for those who accept that women can do more than just raise children, but acknowledge that many women (and some men) are content to stay home and work as housewives and mothers. And treat each individual with dignity.
The notion of social construction of gender identities is itself a theoretical construction. That notion assumed that society created sexual difference, yet recent studies in neuroscience, psychology, ethnography and genetics have, as Harvard Psychology Professor Steven Pinker observed, indicated that sex differences that almost certainly originate in human biology.”
Those who respect that difference will certainly see an improvement in their relationships with the other sex and those who do not will see them deteriorate.
As the French often say, “Vive la difference!”
The Glittering Eye: That’s a difficult question, so difficult that I don’t think I can answer it. So I’ll answer a slightly different question:
“Have the changes of the relationship between the sexes over the last fifty
years in the United States been good or bad for most people?”
That’s complicated too, but I’ll answer it in two parts. The legislative and enforcement changes, e.g. equal pay for equal work, banning of sexual harassment in the workplace, have been good. However, I think the empirical evidence strongly suggests that we must conclude that the social changes have not been good for most people.
To illustrate how that’s the case, consider a single metric: out-of-wedlock births. According to a report from the CDC, over the period of the last fifty years the percentage of out-of-wedlock births has increased from less than 10% to nearly 50%. That’s not good for women, men or children.
It means that children are more likely to grow up poor and in insecure and unstable circumstances than was the case a half century ago. If you’re looking for the reason for the problems in education today, look no farther. Not to race or poverty or teachers unions or bad teachers or bad schools. Look to the changes in the relationship between the sexes. The physiological and eurological effects of stress on children means that they come to school unprepared to learn. For the kind of love and stability that kids need to thrive, they need two parents in a committed, stable relationship.
Bookworm Room: Yes, it has changed and the change has been for the worse. What we’re seeing now is a profound lack of respect between the sexes. (I’m talking generally, of course, rather than specifically.) Three decades of radical feminism have left women viewing men as an enemy determined to subjugate and rape them. Men, unsurprisingly, view women as hostile and dangerous viragoes who, merely by whispering the words “rape” or “harassment,” can destroy them. Thirty years of sexual liberation have also seen men and women (again, en masse) view each other as objects for transitory sexual gratification.
One could say that the lack of respect and the objectification of the opposite sex has always characterized men’s attitude towards women. In the pre-liberation era, women were “silly little things,” who existed to have children, clean the house and gratify men’s sexual needs. But American popular culture was never that crude. Regardless of individual attitudes, popular culture enshrined women as people worthy of respect precisely because they did give birth to and raise the next generation, and because they did support the man at home and in the bedroom.
Many women are filling the same roles nowadays as they did in the pre-liberation era (raising kids, being homemakers, etc.), but that role is denigrated. In other words, while women are now earning as much as men for comparable work, have open to them employment pathways no one could have imagined forty or fifty years ago, and get to bed as many partners as their male counterparts, the price they’ve paid for that freedom has been the destruction of a mutually respectful culture between the sexes.
Maggie’s Notebook: It’s my opinion that the relationship between the sexes has changed for the better, but not due to any significant influence coming from the “feminist” movement. Female college students have steadily outpaced male applicants for years. Higher levels of education have opened doors and minds. Since the 70′s, women have learned that they can support themselves, and their children if they must. It has been a long rocky road for women to receive equitable support for their children from a former spouse. On the other side, it was a long rocky road for a man to gain access to his children once he was out of the house. Today we see mothers and fathers living in separate households, but both interacting with their children, supporting each other and sharing responsibility. Fathers are closer to their kids. It’s a very good thing not to be faced with raising children alone. Two thumbs up to parents who act like adults.
While the “glass ceiling” is still said to loom, there is no doubt women have risen to professional levels that were only a dream in the 60′s and before. Today, with the knowledge that you can work or not, there has been a turn-around. More women want to be home with their children in the formative years, and some Dads want to be stay-at-home Fathers. Women have had the work “experience,” or know that they can have it, if they want it. There is no need to feel defensive about either choice, unless you want to listen to, and be influenced by, Liberal women who view Mothers not working outside the home as having no worth. Do we care what they think? No we don’t.
Politics has long been the purview of men, but no longer. Today women are as involved in government as men, whether through public office or simply blogging their hearts out. With technology, women can stay at home and work or not, and understand the world on the same level as a corporate executive. We can have it all, but more importantly, we can have what we really want.
I often think of the burden the man of the family has, to know each and every day that he must get up and support his family. Those who do, or who try with their entire being, are to be praised – because the same is not expected of women. Full disclosure: I was never faced with raising my family by myself and I am grateful for it. My husband has always shared responsibility equally with me. The days of ignoring the mind of the “little woman” are gone. I am blessed beyond measure, but God knew what he was doing when he didn’t plop me down in a covered wagon on a prairie somewhere to pioneer a new land. I would have failed miserably. In those days we had ‘real’ women and real ‘men’ who fought everyday to survive. What could possibly have been more difficult?
Ask Marion: The relationship between the sexes in the United States and in the western world has experienced tremendous upheaval and change in the last 30-years resulting in the revising of traditional gender roles which have affected not only actual interplay between couples themselves, but also American life in general: in the home and between families, in the workplace, at school and throughout all aspects of American life to some degree.
This change has happened so quickly that men and women are still trying to sort out what their roles are, what all the new rules are and what they mean to them. And many would say that both men and women are increasingly willing to work together to learn to live within their new roles, share tasks that used to be more gender specific, negotiate feelings as well as adjust to the sometimes unnatural rules like language police to avoid hurt feelings at work. And some think that the new expectations will result in better workplaces, better relationships, better families, better schools and better lives. I for one do not.
I believe that the new focus on flattening the differences between the sexes comes with a large price. It requires both men and women to fight their natural instincts, their feelings and intuitions, and sets up false narratives for both sexes to interact and live within. In many ways it makes life a lot harder. Women are no longer expected to be the ‘keepers’ of the house, but in reality they are in most families. And although men generally are open to encouraging and supporting the successes enjoyed by the women they share their lives with, some find it hard to celebrate a woman’s triumphs that exceed their own because they feel it diminishes them, which then in turn ultimately undermines the relationship(s). It now puts partners in competition at almost every level.
We are all instinctively animals and the rules of society and religion were the balance. The women’s lib movement promoted by Progressives and the Bill Clinton/Monika Lewinsky affair, in addition to the drug culture, changed the sexual landscape in America and was the beginning of the breakdown of the family and traditional values.
There are no longer clear rules and choices, which in many ways makes modern relationships more difficult and in other ways actually limits choices. Women and families who choose to have the wife and mother stay at home and be homemakers, stay at home mothers and more traditional wives are often diminished by their more modern and hip counterparts. And conservatives who believe in waiting to have sex until marriage, traditional marriage and make pro-life choices with God at the center of their relationships are coming under increasing fire even though those choices generally produce stronger families, more enduring marriages and in the long run a stronger country.
In the end, the changes in the relationship between the sexes has weakened those relationships for most, because the two parties are always in competition instead of working together for common goals and with the weakening of enduring relationships and marriages comes the weakening of families which are the backbone of society; weakening America herself.
Well, there you have it.
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning. It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it.