Conference Countdown: 4 Days

June 23, 2008 | NeW Staff

Four more days!

From Chapter 2, “About Love,”

“…we lead lives that are exactly the inverse of our grandmothers’.  If previous generations of women were raised to believe that they could only realize themselves within the roles of wife and mother, now the opposite is thought true: It’s only outside these roles that we are able to realize our full potential and worth as human beings.  A twenty-year-old bride is considered as pitiable as a thirty-year-old spinster used to be.  Once a husband and children were thought to be essential to a woman’s identity, the sources of purpose in her life; today, they are seen as peripherals, accessories that we attach only after our full identities are up and running.  And how are we suppposed to create these identities?  They are to be forged by ourselves, through experience and work and ‘trial’ relationships.  The more experience we have, the more we accomplish independently, the stronger we expect our character to grow.  Not until we’ve reached full maturity–toward the close of our third decade of life–is it considered safe for a woman to take on the added responsibility of marriage and family without having to pay the price her grandmother did for domestic security, by surrendering her dreams to soap powders, screaming infants, and frying pans.”  (p. 60-1)

She continues,

“The idea that dependency is dangerous for women, that if we don’t watch out for ourselves we risk being subsumed by men and family, that lasting happiness cannot be found in love or marriage–these are sentiments that are not considered at all radical and with which many more moderate women would agree.  And while it’s impossible to chart these things, I suspect it’s this fear of dependency–more even than fear of divorce–that is primarily responsible for young women’s tendency to delay marriage and childbirth.” (p. 63)

Are men and children just accessories in today’s world?  Are we really pursuing “independence” at all costs, as an end in itself? 


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