As someone who was raised by a staunch feminist who would literally turn in her grave at the title, I know I'll risk my invite to the Women's Conference with this piece, but look, I'm beginning to wonder.
I've been studying young women (and men) for over 20 years. True, it has been mostly from a marketing perspective, but I've done plenty of prosocial endeavors and spent countless hours with preteen, teen and 20-something women in the past two decades.
And guess what: it worked in a lot of ways. If you look at some of the stats, more girls are graduating from college today. More women are getting and keeping jobs then men. Women are kicking ass and taking names. Many (I wouldn't say all) in their 20s feel unencumbered by old mores and have sex when they want to, get a place when they want to, buy or lease a car when they want to, and have a kid, with or without a man, when they want to.
In their teens, they are playing sports, they are applying to great schools, they are running school clubs; they are women, and we can hear them roar!
So what's the problem?
Well, for one thing, what about the boys? During all of this great, amazing girl empowerment phase no one seemed to talk to or about the boys... that is, unless they were shooting up a school or playing too many violent video games. Boys have been and are emerging lost and displaced, with these amazing women willing to do everything and the boys experiencing an extended adultescence with little expected of them until they hit 30. My son was given a BB gun by a friend and it spread like wildfire, so fast you would have thought we had brought a loaded shotgun into the neighborhood. Indeed, with few role models other then the sweet but oafy Zach Galafaniakis, Seth Green and Jonah Hill, you would think that the best you can hope for as a boy these days is to gain 50 pounds and have a blonde fall in love with you.
As for the women, well, sure they are emerging as strong, confident, self-reliant women, but they are also finding that doing it all is not always so fulfilling. With these less-than-desirable mates sitting around playing Halo, they wonder where all of their empowerment is meant to take them. It's great to stand on your own two feet, but it might be nicer to stand with an equal. Sure, the Tiger Mom teaches you to be resilient and achieve, but somewhere along the way we seem to have lost some of the softer side of femininity. Not the big boobs, red lipstick, but the connectedness and joy of being a woman. Sure we can have all the sex we want, but if no one is getting married until they're 30, and no one is really even dating, isn't it rather lonely? And it's wonderful these women can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and even fix the stove if it breaks, but sometimes it's nice to have someone to share the Pinot Grig with... Where is the the warmth and femininity? Girl power was supposed to make the women equal. Are we really so happy that girls are empowered enough to be bullies and threats to each other?
I'm hardly advocating a return to barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. I love my full-time job and encourage choice in every way for every person. I just would like to see a little attention on the boys and a little less pressure for the women. After all, last time I checked Wonder Woman was a comic book character, not a real person, and if I remember correctly, she and the Colonel never did get together, did they?
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