From this article,
Early on, I learned a lesson that likely saved my marriage. Like many young, newly married women, I had assumptions about what a good husband did. Despite my aversion to second-wave, sixties feminism, they were very second-wave ideas.
I was young and did not yet understand how much those ideas had become the baseline assumptions. Few thought about where the ideas came from. It was just how marriage was arranged. I expected perfect 50/50 chore allocation and separate bank accounts, but like many such women who had absorbed only the feminist lessons that gave choices to women but avoided any responsibility arising from those choices, I also wanted my husband to do the traditional breadwinner duty.
Let us consider this. She did not want to be identified as a Feminist, but nevertheless, she liked what they advocated, even though she pretended that she did not. Well, at least she eventually had some introspection. Probably the Feminists of the era were ugly and mean in manner; and what woman would want to be associated with that. After all, everybody knows that men do not like that those attributes, and women, though Feminist, still wanted men.
Through her soaking in Feminism from childhood, these ideas were internalized; not going anywhere. Lots of independence stuff for her, more work for him, and the same breadwinner status for him that guys have always had. What is not to like from her perspective?
In short, my expectations ranged from logically conflicted to merely unfeasible. This made me a very discontented young wife.
One day, the morning after we scared our dog with a horrible fight about nothing, I lay in bed, wallowing in self pity because marriage was hard. I’d been the good girl. I’d done the right things. Marriage was supposed to be easy, the happy culmination to a slightly longer than expected Happily Ever After tale.
She did the right things. She followed the Feminist script. The expectations were high, and the results were not there. Perhaps part of the problem is with the expectations, but that is for another post. It seems that she is just about to an introspection point. We will see…
Looking back, I now see I was in mourning for the fantasy. Thanks to some wise mentors, the priest who married us, and two long married friends, I grew up that morning. I finally accepted responsibility. I would start worrying more about the kind of wife I was than the husband I had. I arose and started to do just that.
The change was instant. Three days later and anyone observing Jim and me would have thought that we’d always had a partnership marriage. (He’d moved to worrying more about the kind of husband he was the moment he said “I do.” My expectations were the block to our partnership and his steady faith in me was one of the reasons I got through it all.)
And what was the fantasy that she was mourning for? The Feminist Script. She tried a different script. Some might suggest it is the one described in the Bible.
And now she admits it: much of the problem was due to expectations; ones that were planted by Feminism.
As a mother, I’ve put this lesson on repeat. Ask my children how often I say, “You worry about you,” or “The only behavior you can control is your own and I expect you to do so.” They can quote me with spot-on inflection.
She teaches her children about personal responsibility. The world is an unforgiving place. It however rewards those who can channel their behaviors in a positive manner.
All of this came to mind last week. The White House Council for Women and Girls* put on the United State of Women Summit, a conference of “intersectional feminist evangelism.” For the feature event, Oprah Winfrey interviewed Michelle Obama. Keeping with the #HeForShe theme popular the past few years (turns out women do need men to help them succeed), Oprah asked the first lady how men can help women. “Be better,” she replied. “[B]e better husbands. Do the dishes. Don’t babysit your children. You don’t babysit your own children. Be engaged. Don’t just think going to work and coming home makes you a man.”
Many fathers are actually very engaged with their children. Perhaps more so than in previous generations. The ones that are not are typically from poor and/or broken homes fostered in the US by the Great Society and its successor welfare programs. Who’s fault is that?
And also do the dishes. Dunno, but there are dishwashers these days.
We women are lecturing men on how to be better fathers without regard for how we prevent them from doing so. When the first lady tells men not to babysit their children she seems unaware that often mothers or the family courts (after women initiate divorce proceedings) treat men as babysitters, or worse.
One wonders what women really do want out of fathers…
Slaughter has written on the need for women to allow men to participate as active fathers, so her Father’s Day tweet is particularly tone-deaf. “Be just as competent as…” drips with condescension, and judging from the reply thread, she did not anticipate the negative reaction. Men are drowning in a sea of condescension, where women assume they do everything—and everything right—while men can’t do anything well enough.
I think women miss their own arrogance because second wavers insisted that we focus on perfect ratios, like 50/50 chore allocation. Modern life is bound by measurement, as if something is not real unless we can chart it in a graph. Time and money make easy, convenient metrics. So we adjust standards for their measurability.
But the faulty assumption under the ratios does the real damage. We assume that mothers and fathers are interchangeable.
Why yes, the assumptions do do damage. Mothers and fathers are different. And they should be different. Parent A and Parent B just does not work. They should have complementary skills, and through these, raise well adjusted children.
With different skills, the metrics are more difficult to compare. Those looking for grievances will have difficulty adjusting. Perhaps they can go beyond that. Perhaps the well being of the children would be incentive enough.
P.S. I just noticed that Dalrock is addressing roles