28 August 2010

End of Feminism - Are Men Needed?

In my parent's generation, a single paycheck usually was enough to support the family. This allowed more for a more relaxed child rearing situation, and it also had a built-in saftey mechanism in that in rough times, the mother could pitch in to make ends meet. Today families need both full-time incomes to make ends meet and if one parent loses their job the result can be foreclosure. Couples today work more hours for less stability.

I've recognized these issues, but this article goes further along the path wondering what the growing strength of women in the workforce will do to the family structure:

Childrearing and marriage are no longer connected

...In 1970, women contributed 2 to 6 percent of the family income. Now the typical working wife brings home 42.2 percent, and four in 10 mothers...are the primary breadwinners in their families...

... it is going to become more common for women to have children outside marriage. But this doesn't mean you're necessarily going to see a rise in single motherhood. Women will be free to experiment with many different kinds of parenting arrangements, from raising children alone or with a female partner, to raising them in an extended family.

More reproductive freedom does not mean women will want to lead non-traditional lives or abandon their families. In twenty years, a woman might decide she wants children, but instead of getting married she wants to live with her parents and grandparents. Because she has the income to pay for her child's needs, and to contribute to the family home, she now has the freedom to choose this option.

...We may return to arrangements that look a lot like what people had over a century ago, when servants and nannies took care of middle-class homes while the middle- and upper-classes ran countries and businesses. Except this time around, women's incomes will be what allows a household to afford its servants. (Remember, the wealthiest families are dual-income.)

...In a future where women workers report to women bosses, fewer and fewer women are going to feel that they share a common social status with their sisters. In fact, female nurses might feel like they have more in common with male nurses than they do with the female hospital administrators who treat them like crap and cut their hours.

Women's equality with men may spell an end to women's solidarity with each other. But women will forge new alliances - ones that have nothing to do with gender. And maybe that isn't so much the end of feminism, but the beginning of a world that no longer needs it.

As a side, look at some famous man-caves.


Someone said...

I think one of feminisim's biggest oversights was not addressing the inherent patriarchal structure of our culture's workforce in the first place.

In other words, is it wrong for a woman to be denied work if she is as or more qualified than a man? Of course. But as feminism brought more women to work, it did nothing to address the manner by which working itself privileges men.

In some fields, the time taken to have a child can give a male co-worker an edge toward a promotion. Women may have to choose not to breastfeed because there is not time to pump. The list can go on.

The high cost of child care can eat a large chunk into income, too -- particularly during the child's first five years before school. Have more than one and this phase can easily last a decade.

I've read before, but don't have a link now, that the spending power of an average American family is now the same as before women went to work. The workforce, then, has doubled its employee load and not the pay. This means we are hardly any better off with two parents working.

Someone said...

Also, gauged by public school enrollment nationwide, there are increasingly more poor kids and less middle class kids.

The working professional women are not having as many kids as their poorer counterparts.

Dave said...

Interesting question.

During two recent conversations with women at or near age 50, I heard both indicate their wish that they could marry their male friends of 20+ years.

They doubted their chances because their male friends are hardcore bachelors.

Both women had not been married or in a serious long-term relationship for some time, so it may just be a mid-life crisis driven nostalgic desire for harmony. But I hope it represents a trend towards recognition of the strength of the family unit.

5chw4r7z said...

How much of the need for two incomes is our own fault?
When I was a kid my dad had two junky cars, my mom made most of our clothes and the rest was hand me downs from older cousins. When we took vacations they trips to local camp grounds.
No one does this anymore, two new cars, yearly vacations, new clothes for every season. No wonder there is so much pressure on families.

Archer said...

Not to mention that kids these days look at celphones, computers, Ipods and other electronics as neccessary items and most parents give in to them.