I had to do some serious deep breathing after I read this letter to the Orlando Sentinel.
Diane wrote against women in combat, against women going against their “natural roles” in society:
“However, feminists have shrilly begged for “equality” for so long, and now they have it; or do they? Not all women want it; nor do men. Equality is physically and emotionally impossible. Society flounders and becomes coarse and nonproductive when men and women do not accept and assume their natural roles.”
Diane, you might think insisting on equal opportunity and pay is “shrill” and unladylike (you poor dear… does your husband haughtily scold you when you forget to warm his coffee or buy his favorite poppy-seed muffin?)
Let me explain so I don’t sound like I’m against traditional roles for men and women. I’m not.
You might prefer a traditional role in your home, wonderful, have at it, but don’t insult men and women who want opportunities once not afforded or expected of them.
Don’t insult men and women who prefer non-traditional arrangements for their family.
In my family I do the bulk of the cooking. My husband however, makes his own breakfast (I make his if I’m making mine) and lunch and often, his own dinner, so does my teenage daughter.
When our daughter was little he did diapers, bottles, and every other non-breast feeding child care task. He does his own laundry because he did his own laundry when we met, and, he’s a messy guy who piles clean and dirty clothes into one indiscernible mega heap so, I saw no need to take over this laundry fiasco when we married.
We both carpooled our daughter when she was younger. I worked for a while after she was born. I’ve stayed home ever since. I’m a writer. My husband also works from home. We both grill. We both take muscle strength classes. We both clean the kitchen. We had one child by choice. We all share in kitchen duty.
My husband takes out the garbage. I do the weeding. He serves himself, sometimes I get him a plate. I’m on a Board, he’s not. I volunteer, he does too. He does most of the long driving because I hate it. I do almost all the grocery shopping and 99% of holiday decorating.
Traditional family? Meh. Traditional-ish? We divide labor by common sense, fairness and gut instinct, not gender.
“Natural roles” simply don’t exist anymore except that women and men still come pre-packaged with baby-making parts.
Alllllllthough, not all women and men want babies, so are they unnatural? Let me clarify, if your friend Charlotte can’t make babies OR doesn’t want them, is she unnatural? Am I unnatural because I stopped at one child?
YES to your point Diane, our brains are different, no arguing that.
YES our bodies are different. By and large men have stronger upper body strength (although I’ve seen some kick ass strong women in muscle conditioning class who haul weights bigger than some of the men’s, sooo….).
But, who cares about our differences? Women (and men) deserve access to every job available on the planet IF they can do the job.
If over time co-ed combat works out, great. If it doesn’t then I’ll be the first to say women, sorry, you need to stick to non-combative roles. Only time will tell. (“Women in Combat: Pros and Cons”)
Diane wrote: “Society flounders and becomes coarse and nonproductive when men and women do not accept and assume their natural roles.”
Well now I do declare!
Yes, one finds it unbecoming and quite unproductive when a person of the female persuasion does not understand her natural role as wife and mother, and when she uses phrases not delicate or honoring to the feminine sensibility. Women are precious unspoiled flowers whose petals will wilt under such masculine pursuits or unsavory language.
What a load of archaic crap.
I love being feminine and (most) that comes with my femininity. I loved having my baby (minus childbirth, I’d give that horror away in a heartbeat). I love men being men (the muscles and other parts that differentiate us, and all that), but this natural role nonsense is pitiful.
Diane writes of women in uniform: “I find it rather sad that a woman is content to be admired because she is masculine. To what purpose?”
Her job isn’t to turn on her fellow soldiers with her feminine-ness. Would pink fatigues suit your delicate sensibilities better? Maybe some pretty little lace to dot the collar so the male soldiers know right away that underneath those boyish boob-flattening fatigues sits a girly girl?
Diane used the old sitcom “All in the Family” (“girls were girls and boys were boys”) to illustrate her point.
What I want to comment (but the piece is closed to comments):
What Diane, you fail to understand about one of my favorite sitcoms of all times “All in the Family,” is Archie and Edith’s characters were used to HIGHLIGHT that which was CHANGING in an era when racism, sexism and traditional gender expectations were CHALLENGED.
Norman Lear, ma’am, knew EXACTLY what he was doing when he wrote “All in the Family.” But do you know what you’re saying when you refer to “natural roles?” Define your role as you will, but allow others to define their societal roles as they will.
THAT’s the natural role of human beings, in 2016.
Image credit: By CBS Television (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
“Women in Combat: Pros and Cons”