WOMEN’S LIB — THE PUBLIC DENIGRATION OF MEN
Through the late 1800s and early to mid 1900s, a perceptual definition-change was starting to take hold of the national psyche that would forever taint society’s image of your dad.
Up to this point in the development of our species, dad’s role had evolved from master, protector and mentor for the family, to an alienated (he’s rarely home), disoriented (he’s not sure of his role as a man) visitor.
Then, the women’s movement in America and Europe came home to roost, and a feeding frenzy ensued. With women publicly railing for equality, beginning with the right to vote as being a central issue, the fierce vitriolic that accompanied this debate on both sides of the gender divide led to an environment of hostility in certain circles.
Of course, the media, ever vigilant for a juicy, emotional issue to plaster across their pages, jumped front and center into the national debate, raising the temperature to a heated frenzy.
Through these fiery emotions, emerged a negative language and perspective regarding traditional male roles and stereotypes. As we expanded from “masculine” to “macho” to “male chauvinist” we saw the hero become the villain. Where fighting for a girl’s honor used to be chivalrous, now it was just violent.
For many women, and for the media that fostered this controversy, masculinity, and men were the stain that needed to be cleaned.
Read some quotes from the day, to get a sense of the public sentiment towards men (dads).
Men are irrelevant. Women are happy or unhappy, fulfilled or unfulfilled, and it has nothing to do with men.
~Fay Weldon (Author and Women’s Movement Activist)
Women’s chains have been forged by men, not by anatomy.
~Estelle R. Ramey
(Endocrinologist and Challenger of Gender Capability Differences)
Women are the only oppressed group in our society that lives in intimate association with their oppressors.
~Evelyn Cunningham (Journalist and Civil Rights Activist)
Women are the only exploited group in history to have been idealized into powerlessness.
~Erica Jong (Author, Fear of Flying, and Feminist Icon)
Men weren’t really the enemy – they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.
~Betty Friedan (Author and Feminist Activist)
We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.
~Gloria Steinem (Journalist and Feminist Icon)
As anti-man sentiment seeped from our media to our mouths. The masculine persona degenerated into the image of an out of control, psychotic, abusive, misogynistic, heathen, someone to be caged, someone whose passionate interior must be extinguished, for fear it would explode into a rage of barbarism. Robert DeNiro’s Taxi Driver. The stalker. The rage within. The emoting fear of a monster building inside.
Suddenly, it was not cool to be a guy. It was dangerous. Dirty Harry became just plain dirty. Violence on television and in the movies was sending the wrong message. Our society was craving quieter themes. Waiting for Miss Daisy. The Joy Luck Club. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
Men were the reason the world was so screwed up. Think of all the images and icons, previously positive, that had become examples of the worst our society has to offer. How many of those are from women?
Consider these: man’s brutality to man; the bully; the stalker; men leaving a trail of destruction wherever they tread.
Is global warming attributed to women or men?
How do you feel about the images below? Are they positive or negative?
Do you attribute these images to “the acts” of men or of women? Hmmmm…
So, in the “battle” of the sexes, is it considered more positive to be a man or a woman? A mother or a father?
Until recently in America, children of divorced parents automatically went with the mother. It was engrained in our public mind that SHE was infinitely more fit then HE to raise children. Society deemed a great and responsible dad to be unfit to raise kids. It didn’t matter what bad character, irresponsible history, lack of availability the mother had. It was Kramer Versus Kramer (the film), and it highlighted our values as a society regarding parenthood. A bad woman was better than a good man. Period.
But deep inside the collective male psyche, a storm was brewing.
Rambo (your dad) was fed up with being suppressed and subdued. We Are the World, and I’m a lover and not a fighter, made way for Take This Job and Shove It, and “Fight Club”. A generation of men began wanting to explore their inner masculine, to define themselves as “different” from women, and not the same.
But what does all this have to do with your relationship with your dad …