Gender Equality/The Revolution Rages On

I have always wondered, especially when i was growing up in the placid world of 1950’s America, what it would be like to live an ordinary life, just what I imagined was a routine of normalcy and comfortable repetitions and patterns, having the same friends, the same habits, the same house in the same neighborhood, perhaps a fantasy fueled by the television shows and movies I watched as I grew up…

But lately I have been wondering if anybody these days has a so called normal life? I am not even sure what an ordinary life consists of anymore, or what a so called normal life would be like, and especially wondering does it even still exist as a reality rather than an outdated concept in this Topsy Turvy, chaotic new world that we are all living in here in America in the year 2015?…It seems we are all living life on the fly these days, creating our own new realities seemingly every few days….

But I have to say that I think the biggest internal revolution of our century has been the rise of the feminist movement, and the concomitant development and rise in gender equality…Though like most men of my time, I was initially turned off by the overly strident rhetoric of the early wave of feminists like Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and Germaine Greer, I have learned to embrace most of their core concepts as the new, fairer and more just reality, the evolution/revolution that it has become today….

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What an obvious, perfectly logical belief system to embrace, one that makes perfect sense!…. How could we ever have thought otherwise? Gender equality has rightfully become the norm rather than the exception in today’s society, and it crosses over all economic and ethnic classes…

To me, the normal life when i was a kid, like most of my fellow baby boomers, was dreaming about having a steady job, a house in the suburbs, having a wife and kids and living a nice, peaceful, safe existence…I didn’t care in these childhood fantasies if my wife worked or not, most women I knew growing up all worked anyway….

But even back then things were changing, especially in the turbulent 1960’s with all of the other social issues that were so relevant and so ignored at the time, like racism, big government arrogance and hypocrisy and social injustice, of which gender inequality was one of the hugest issues, affecting half of our society….The rise of the feminist movement also came at the right place and at the right time and was another product of the baby boomers, this time the female half of us had the inner strength and moral integrity to challenge the status quo……

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1977:  Women taking part in a demonstration in New York demanding safe legal abortions for all women.  (Photo by Peter Keegan/Keystone/Getty Images)feminists5

As I grew older, two income families definitely became the norm, out of financial necessity more than anything else, and soccer moms and little league participation for the dads and more equitable sharing of domestic chores became all the rage, there was more role changing and trade offs as per responsibilities within the home than ever before…. The stresses and strains of balancing two separate careers replaced the old black and white television views reflecting suburban models of propriety and normalcy we were spoon fed every evening as children growing up….

The evolution and emancipation of women slowly but surely began to replace kaffeeklatsches and stay at home moms like June Cleaver in the “Leave It to Beaver,” Mary Tyler Moore in the old “Dick van Dyke Show” or even the complacent Ethel Mertz and her BFF, the always scheming and ambitious Lucille Ball in “I Love Lucy,” ever dreamed of…

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Once and for all, as the 1960’s played out into today’s fast paced more egalitarian society, gender equality became the norm, not the exception… Although to this day the “glass ceiling” that women must face for the really profitable jobs, for the most powerful positions of decision making and policy planning is still an ugly reality….

At least we have overcome one old barrier for good, most employers today have reluctantly agreed to the concept of “equal pay for equal work,” an astonishingly sexist barrier that once was the norm in the business world, where a man would be paid more than a woman for the same job, just because he was a man!…

Call me naive, but I never knew that! How did that EVER make sense, in any world? Role models and expectations and responsibilities in both the business world and the domestic sphere are slowly but surely become more balanced….

But having two wage earners pursuing their separate careers has put new stresses and strains on the modern family, more so in the day to day management of the domestic sphere and the ever evolving new patterns and roles of both partners in today’s marriages or living arrangements…

It becomes more pronounced especially if the specter of job relocation for financial motivation is proposed for one partner over the other…But at least it is now open for discussion, not simply and reflexively dismissed out of hand, and often it is the women getting the better offers…

In this respect, the gender role models are still in flux, shifting and changing constantly, but I have learned to accept the fact that life, however reluctantly we resist new ideas, is always about change…….This battle for true gender equality is still being waged, but it seems inevitable, because it is just common sense, that we will evolve into a more fair, just and equitable society every passing year…

In other countries, like Israel,women are being drafted as soldiers…Men are being accepted here in America as home makers and single parents more and more without any stigma…..Single parents and gay parents have become more prevalent each passing year. And gay marriage and gay liberation well deserves to be the topic of a whole separate blog, because it is radically transforming today’s society just like gender equality for women transformed my generation of Baby Boomers…….

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We have come a long way since the early 1960’s and like most of my fellow baby boomers I have been front and center for the whole roller coaster of a ride….That my fantasy of what a “normal” life was back in my childhood would ever evolve into what is considered “normal” today would have been incomprehensible back then….

Gender equality between men and women is more than an idea whose time has come…..Today, in our ever changing, ever more rapidly evolving society, it not only seems inevitable but perfectly logical! How could we have ever thought otherwise?

There is no turning back the clock on progress, especially equal rights for one and all, as is promised to every American in the Constitution, but it is only now that it is becoming a reality…And the exciting implications of the whole gay, lesbian, LGBT movement promises ever greater change, flexibility and fairness in our ever changing, ever evolving society …..

God Bless America!

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