This one has haunted me since I read it:
Regarding the older vs. younger feminists: 40 years ago I was a housewife and mother who was active in the women's movement. Today my daughter is a tenured college professor and mom and is far too swamped with the myriad responsibilities of laundry, carpools, AND teaching AND committees AND driving to dance classes AND writing student evaluations AND publishing a book and presenting papers AND a significant medical issue with one of her children that--although she appreciates the activism of older women like me to open doors for her career, she has no mental spiritual or physical resources left over for joining any advocacy groups.The Feminist Movement was reaching a crest just as I was becoming a young woman.
Even my very traditional mother and aunts encouraged me that I could have it all - a career and a family. Our daughters are well educated, successful professional women who are also dedicated to their families.
Those who are married with children are very involved in organizations that center around their children: boy scouts, brownies, sports leagues, etc.
To my knowledge, they are not members of organizations that promote the advocacy of women's issues. That's not to say that they are disinterested and would not join organizations like the National Organization of Women or League of Women's Voters. They certainly are not members of The Episcopal Women's Caucus, although they support my work in it.
Right now, their focus is on their children and their husbands. Which is as it should be. I am enthusiastically supportive of their choices.
However, wherever I go - in the church and in civic organizations - the lament is always, "Where are the young women? Where is the next generation of leaders?"
Which is usually followed by "What are we doing wrong?"
I'm thinking we need to unhook ourselves from the sense of failure and understand that this may well be the "natural order" of things.
I'm thinking that, when the kids have grown up and are on their own, these are the women who we'll see at The Caucus and members of N.O.W.
I'm thinking this is exactly what we struggled for - to leave all doors, all avenues open to women and allow them to make their own choices about determining the paths of their own lives.
I certainly didn't have the choices my daughters have and granddaughters will have. My path in life was set for me by cultural and religious expectations of "the role of women".
I do not regret for one millisecond the work and struggle it took to change that.
And yet . . .
Reading a comment like this haunts me. Questions arise.
ARE we doing something wrong? DID we get it wrong? Did we not consider the fact that the psychic default position for most women is to do too much? Do we have unrealistic expectations for our daughters?
What do you think?
Does 'having it all' mean you've got nothing left?