Got in a tense argument with my roommate about the treatment of women in the past. Whether a person’s equality comes from a right to vote in government or rather by the way they are treated and feel loved.
Maybe Its my optimistic nature but I do not accept the notion that women were second class citizens or looked down upon by a majority of men pre-1960’s. I think that is revisionist in the extreme. I do not accept the notion that men treat women any better today, I think its gotten worse. I look at the divorce rate today and the raising number of single parent homes and you can’t convince me that women are on a pedestal that was not there 100 years ago. You can’t tell me that we respect women today like the greatest generation did. You cannot tell me that society respects, and values women like they did in the past because I do not see it.
We always judge the past by today’s societal standards and it is totally ridiculous to do so. Our values and priorities evolve. Things that seem obvious today would have been incomprehensible to our ancestors and it is therefore ridiculous to condemn the past as a time absent of love and kindness as we see them. Eventually society will evolve. You think women always wanted the right to vote? That they were oppressed into silence? Until a certain time it seemed common sense that women didn’t vote which by today’s standards seems absurd and yet there was even an anti-suffrage movement comprised mostly of women. So what then? Do we condemn all pre-sufferage men as women haters? Of course not, by saying you support a woman’s right to vote does that mean you love and respect all women? Nope, it is just a given. You could be a complete animal in todays society and agree with that position.
We look back at a time when women did not work outside the home in large numbers and the common public perception is that it had to be some evil man not allowing his subhuman wife out of the house while he had all the fun and it is absurd.
Of course there were cases where this was true, I’m not vindicating every man as a saint but you have to look at the values of society. Work, a job, used to be the necessary evil, a man provided for his family not because he wanted to live it up outside the home but because he wanted to provide the best for his wife and children. He worked so they didn’t have to, it was a sacrifice not a privilege. Coming from an agricultural and industrial age where the entire family had to work, on the farm or in the factories, the lower and almost nonexistant middle classes had to work and thanks to prosperity of the united states this eventually changed. Women were able to stay home, but today in popular culture this has become a punishment, a chain, and undesirable burden.
Family has become secondary to self. It is a point of view I have never understood when espoused by friends. If given the choice between working a job one half of all my waking hours, and staying home with the person I have chosen to live my entire life with, someone I love more than myself, and our children? There is no way in hell I would ever choose work, ever. Should my spouse choose to have a career than that is great, 100% support, but I am going to do my damnest to give her the option not to as well, hell if she makes plenty of money I’d tend the house and the rugrats. It comes down to what I value in life.
You can see what society values by its culture, watch movies and shows from before the 1950’s, what is important? I would argue that that was a time where women were seen as something worth protecting and caring for not because they needed it but because it was something a man wanted to do, should do.
So then what do I think about a woman’s role in society today? Is this to say that women shouldn’t work or have careers or vote? Of course not, I think those are all wonderful things but the point is you cannot judge the men and women of 50, 100, 200, 1000 years ago by the standards of today. Maybe it is just because i refuse to see history that way, it seems a bleak and dark way to view the past from atop a moral high horse.
I might lose some followers for this one, I don’t know why but it seems to happen on rants, luckily most of my followers are intelligent ladies so Im not too worried. Id love your feedback, am I wrong here? is my perception skewed? is history darker than I think it is?