What Did Women Win When They Got Equal Rights?

The other day someone asked me how it was going and I responded with, “I think I’m winning”. Just a different way of saying I’m doing good thanks. But so often life feels like that, don’t you think? Like you are either winning or losing at the “game” of life. Like we are in a battle. For what though? For our rights, for recognition, for our job, to pay the bills, to keep our marriage together, to have it all.

Women of my era were taught the skills they needed to get by in life were the ones that would “catch” her a good husband.

Advice like “a way to a man’s heart was through his stomach” or how about this one, “A man won’t buy the cow if he gets the milk for free”.

I read an old “Housewife’s Guide to A Happy Marriage” where it advised having the children bathed and quietly playing when the father came home tired from working all day. Have her hair done and supper ready, greet her husband with a smile and his slippers and ask how his day was. Don’t bore him with tails of how hard your day was or complains about the children. Listen to how his day was and keep the children from bugging him while he relaxed.

Keep the house clean and orderly and show your appreciation.

But then women wanted rights, the right to equal pay, the right to work at jobs considered to be a man’s job. Women burned their bras, started wearing pants, started demanding their feelings be heard and all he’ll broke loose. Generations of women fought a long battle to win women equal rights. Young women were taught, you can have it all. You can have a family and a career, in fact; if you didn’t, there was something wrong with you for not wanting it all.

Sure, women deserve equal rights and no woman should ever feel stuck in an abusive relationship because she can’t support herself and the kids without a man.

I was a single mom of a boy, I made damn sure MY son could cook, sew, clean, do his own laundry and didn’t need a woman to care for him. I didn’t want some future daughter-in-law complaining that my son couldn’t take care of himself and relied on her for everything. I didn’t want my son getting married because he needed a wife to cook and clean for him.

When I was in high school girls took Home Economics classes and boys took mechanics and woodworking, it was a prerequisite to graduating. They thought it was important that young people know basic life skills. Somewhere along the way those classes got dropped, I suppose they were too sexist and stereotyping genders, but I think they should have kept the classes but made them manditory for both genders.

My son is rather a unicorn amongst his peers, not that the girls know how to cook, now no one knows how to cook.

Young people are baffled by the simplest of chores, like hemming a pair of pants or sewing on a button, making a simple supper or ironing a shirt.

Women are employed in high power jobs, making good money, and more and more often carrying the lions share of household expenses and STILL responsible (or feel responsible) for all the “woman’s work”, like cooking, cleaning etc.

Men say, “tell me what to do, I am willing to help you”.

Which translates to; I will help you do your chores because I am a nice guy. Instead of, I made half the mess and will clean up behind myself as I should because it is not your job to clean up my messes.

I still hear dad’s saying things like, “I have to babysit the kids for my wife tonight so she can go out with her friends.”

They should be saying, “It’s my night with the kids.” Or “It’s get to have daddy time with the kids tonight.”

How about what most roomies do? Whoever cooks doesn’t do dishes.

There are no clearly defined gender roles any more. Genders in themselves have no clear roles any more. The government is getting rid of titles such as Mr. Mrs. Miss. So why is it so hard to give up gender roles and just co-exist as a couple in love.

If a couple wants a traditional marriage and family fine or if Dad wants to stay home with the children, or two women want to be together, or a couple both want to be high power executives; that’s fine, but pick a partner with the same ideals and goals.

I read somewhere that a woman can have it all, she just can’t have it all at the same time.

Usually when we have too many things on the go we don’t do any of them well, or we excel in one area and fail miserably in another.

Yes women can have it all if they choose wisely and don’t set their expectations too high.

Right now, unfortunately; I think many parents are so busy scrambling to buy the over priced house, drive a new car, have 3 TV’S, travel, get the kids to all their events, keep up with the Jones, and measuring their “success” by how much stuff they have that they are failing at “Family 101”. Something has to suffer and right now it is the family unit and teaching our kids the basic skills needed to get by in life.

Everyone is running on the mouse wheel as fast as they can and wondering why they always feel so stressed and joy seems so elusive.

Society needs to stop and figure out what is truly important, where are their values, is a big house more important than time spent with your kids?

We have companies that will deliver your meals from any where, do your grocery shopping and meal planning because people don’t have time to plan meals and cook them. They hire cleaning ladies to clean the house and babysitters to raise the kids. And young people are growing up never learning to share, cooperate, work together, or be self sufficient.

Kids don’t know how to clean a toilet, wash dishes, budget, have a conversation at the dinner table with real live people.

There is a reason young men are so frustrated they are shooting up schools and killing their peers and it isn’t because there are guns in the world.

Men have been stripped of their stereotypical gender roles but not taught any skills in order to function in the world. They don’t know how to be a man and no one is teaching them. Maybe because no one knows. But we need to figure it out, and in a hurry!

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