Friday, January 07, 2005

The Traditional Woman

Who is the traditional woman?
Is she the same woman that was vacuuming in her cinched waist dress in the 50's smiling happily.
Is she the same woman burning her bra in the 60's and 70's?
Is she the woman who goes to college to get her prize (husband/ring)?
Is she the woman who packs her tennis shoes to go to work so she can speedwalk at lunch?
Is she the woman who stays at home to raise her children after just starting a promising career?
Is she a feminist?
Does she "stand by her man" like Tammy Wynette says?
Does she go to tupperware and MaryKay parties?
Does she stroll through those endless craft fairs shopping for the perfect "bless this mess" hand painted sign on distressed wood?
Does she enter cooking/baking contests?

I don't know who the traditional woman is anymore. The reason this came up was because I was reading and I stumbled across this quote:

We are in uncharted territory here: for the first time in history, large numbers of women occupy leadership positions and almost half of these new female leaders - unlike male leaders - are childless. Will this affect our goals and values? Will it affect our programmatic agenda? You bet it will. People without children have a much weaker stake in our collective future. As our leadership group tilts toward childlessness, we can expect it to become even harder to pay for our schooling system or for measures that might prevent global warming. America's rampant individualism is about to get a whole lot worse. - Sylvia Ann Hewlett, quoting law professor Mary Ann Glendon in Creating A Life (2003, p. 157, paperback)

don't' get me wrong. I want children, I want to be a mommy, I really do. Finding a man who wants those same things is the struggle. Most men ages 21-40 these days aren't interested in the "lets settle down and have a crop of chilluns" scenario. In fact, if you let on that that is your intention you might be able to see the streak marks on the floor from where they ran away screaming.
My question is this... how are we as women suppose to live in a modern world and live a traditional lifestyle??? The two just don't go together anymore. Men don't want to take care of their women and children anymore. They want toys, and cute twenty-something (or worse teenaged) girls who are interested in "having a good time".
More importantly women don't want to be "taken care of" anymore. We want our own money to solve our own problems and buy that really great Anne Klein pink cashmere blend 3/4 length coat.

I propose that the "modern-traditional woman" is the kind that is educated about her body and the world, has traveled, has lived alone at least once in their lives, wants children/or doesn't, and is willing to have to the strength to allow herself to wash her man's undies (if she so chooses).
The reason I added this last part is because I've struggled with this myself. I have now found a man that I actually WANT to make happy. I WANT to take care of him. This coming from an uber-feminist college student who has turned into a career driven woman. I would love to cook him dinner and have him enjoy it (and I have). BUT, my lifestyle does not allow for both things to coincide. I can't work 8-10 hour days and then have a lovely hot meal on the table. So we adapt to eachother and to our lifestyles.

Who's the traditional woman??? Got me.


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