|Week of: |
March 26, 2000
|Gee, Mom, Thanks for the Bad Advice!
by: F.R. Duplantier
"Do something with your life; don't depend upon a man to take care of you; don't make the same mistakes I did." That's the advice that today's women received from their mothers, observes Danielle Crittenden of the Independent Women's Forum, and look what it got them: "They are the women who postponed marriage and childbirth to pursue their careers," says Crittenden, "only to find themselves at thirty-five still single and baby-crazy, with no husband in sight. They are the unwed mothers," she continues, "who now depend upon the state to provide what the fathers of their children won't -- a place to live and an income to support their kids. They are the eighteen-year-old girls who believed they could lead the unfettered sexual lives of men, only to end up in an abortion clinic or attending grade twelve English while eight months' pregnant.
"They are the new brides who understand that when a couple promises to stay together forever, they have little better than a fifty-fifty chance of sticking to it. They are the female partners at law firms who thought they'd made provisions for everything about their career [but anguish over leaving newborn] infants in a stranger's arms. They are the young mothers who quit their jobs to be with their babies and who now feel anxiety and even a mild sense of embarrassment about what they have chosen to do. . . ."
In her new book, What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us, published by Simon & Schuster, Crittenden explains how feminism has failed the women of today. "We are more likely to be divorced or never married at all than women of previous generations," she reports. "We are more likely to bear children out of wedlock. We are more likely to be junkies or drunks or to die in poverty. We are more likely to have an abortion or to catch a sexually transmitted disease. If we are mothers . . . we are more likely to work at full-time jobs and still shoulder the bulk of housework as well."
Crittenden concludes that the women of today suffer from the very opposite problem encountered by their mothers. The mothers may have felt "denied the chance to realize [their] human potential," but their daughters feel "cut off from those aspects of life that are distinctly and uniquely female." For the unhappy modern woman, she recommends "looking back, honestly, at what we may have lost in pursuit of the freedom we have won, and asking ourselves whether there is any way to recapture what was good in the old ways cast aside. For in all the ripping down of barriers that has taken place over a generation," Crittenden suggests, "we may have inadvertently also smashed the foundations necessary for our happiness. Pretending that we are the same as men," she concludes, "has only led many of us to find out, brutally, how different we really are."
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