To be Happy, We Must Admit Women and Men Aren't "Equal"
Norman Vincent Peale, author of "The Power of Positive Thinking," once wrote these words: ‚ÄúChange your thoughts, and you change your world.‚ÄĚ
His statement is highlighted at the beginning of my new book, "How to Choose a Husband and Make Peace with Marriage." Its premise is that if women want to be successful in love, they should reject the cultural script they‚Äôve been sold and adopt a whole new view of men and marriage.
As products of divorce, the modern generation has few role models for lasting love. That alone is a problem. But young women have an added burden: they‚Äôve been raised in a society that eschews marriage. They‚Äôve been taught instead to honor sex, singlehood and female empowerment.
Consider this statement by Rebecca Traister in Marie Claire: ‚ÄúThe world as we‚Äôve known it for a very long time‚ÄĒone in which a woman‚Äôs value was tied to her role as a wife‚ÄĒis ending, right in front of us. It is now standard for a woman to spend years on her own, learning, working, earning, socializing, having sex, and yes, having babies in the manner she‚ÄĒand she alone‚ÄĒsees fit. We are living through the invention of independent female adulthood.‚ÄĚ
This message is not an anomaly; the idea that women don‚Äôt need men or marriage is palpable. It began in earnest more than forty years ago, with the modern feminist movement. Feminists assured women their efforts would result in more satisfying marriages, but the result is something else altogether. It looks something like this:
1. Women postpone marriage indefinitely and move in and out of intense romantic relationships, or even live with their boyfriends for years at a time. Eventually, their biological clocks start ticking and many decide they better hurry up and get married to provide a stable home for their yet-to-be-born children. Trouble is, their boyfriend‚Äôs not willing to commit.
2. Marriage becomes a competitive sport. The complementary nature of marriage‚ÄĒin which two people work together, as equals, toward the same goal but with an appreciation for the qualities each gender brings to the table‚ÄĒhas been obliterated. Today, husbands and wives are locked in a battle about whom does more on the home front and how they‚Äôre going to get everything done. That‚Äôs not a marriage. That‚Äôs war.
It‚Äôs time to say what no one else will: Feminism didn‚Äôt result in equality between the sexes ‚Äď it resulted in mass confusion. Today, men and women have no idea who‚Äôs supposed to do what.
Prior to the 1970s, people viewed gender roles as as equally valuable. Many would argue women had the better end of the deal! It‚Äôs hard to claim women were oppressed in a nation in which men were expected to stand up when a lady enters the room or to lay down their lives to spare women life. When the Titanic went down in 1912, its sinking took 1,450 lives. Only 103 were women. One-hundred three.
Compare that with last year‚Äôs wrecked cruise line, the Costa Concordia. It resulted in fewer deaths, but there was another significant difference. ‚ÄúThere was no ‚Äėwomen and children first‚Äô policy. There were big men, crew members, pushing their way past us to get into the lifeboats. It was disgusting,‚ÄĚ said passenger Sandra Rogers, 62.
The captain of the ship agrees. In USA Today, Francesco Schettino was asked about his New Year‚Äôs resolution. He responded, ‚ÄúBone up on the parts about ‚Äėwomen and children first‚Äô and ‚Äėthe captain goes down with his ship.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
You see, the problem with equality is that it implies two things are interchangeable ‚Äď meaning one thing can be substituted for the other with no ramifications. That is what feminists would have us believe, and anyone who contradicts this dogma is branded sexist.
But the truth must be heard. Being equal in worth, or value, is not the same as being identical, interchangeable beings. Men and women may be capable of doing many of the same things, but that doesn‚Äôt mean they want to. That we don‚Äôt have more female CEOs or stay-at-home dads proves this in spades.
Unless, of course, you‚Äôre beholden to feminism. In that case, you‚Äôll believe the above is evidence of discrimination. You‚Äôll believe what feminists taught you to believe: that gender is a social construct.
Those of us with children know better. We know little girls love their dolls and boys just want to kick that ball. This doesn‚Äôt mean men can‚Äôt take care of babies or women can‚Äôt play sports. It just means each gender has its own energy that flows in a specific direction. For God‚Äôs sake, let it flow.
The battle of the sexes is over. And guess what? No one won. Why not try something else on for size? Like this: men and women are equal, but different. They‚Äôve each been blessed with amazing and unique qualities that they bring to the table. Isn‚Äôt it time we stopped fussing about who brought what and simply enjoy the feast?
Suzanne Venker has written extensively about politics, parenting, and the influence of feminism on American society. Her latest book, "How to Choose a Husband and Make Peace with Marriage," is now available at Amazon. Also available is her new Kindle Single, "The War on Men" For more on Suzanne, visit www.suzannevenker.com and www.howtochooseahusband.com.