Some folks would have you believe it's women. I'm one of them. But, how accurate is that assumption? Is it an assumption? I wrote, last week, about women in the world and how we need to stand up and take charge more aggressively. We're in charge, at least in small places - maybe in our kitchen, or in our car, or in our own minds. Other than that - being in charge is a concept we're not that familiar with.
Let's examine - women do influence the buying decisions of more than vegetables, pet food, children's clothes, and lingerie. We influence buying decisions on appliances, homes, automobiles, health and beauty, fashion (our own and our family's), travel, and everything else under the sun. Does this put us in charge? Maybe. Maybe not. Some folks believe our teens and pre-teens influence all of that, and more. Who's right?
According to a recent article in The Atlantic, women are taking over the world, and men will soon be obsolete. Ok, maybe that's not exactly what the article said. You can read it for yourself and judge its effectiveness on your own. Meanwhile, Susan J. Douglas, writing for In These Times, takes the article to task for its obvious misogyny.
She says, "The worst aspect of The Atlantic's recent cover story is its fundamental assumption: that any advances for women automatically mean the emasculation of men."
This is not a new issue. We've been reading about this and discussing this for over...20 years, at least. When my son was a child, there was a lot of chatter about how girls were smarter than boys and society was focusing too much on how to make life easier for girls, thereby displacing and disapproving of the accepted boy-swagger world (where first born sons ruled, where dads knew best; where football and team sports were for boys, preparing them to lead as adults, leaving their sisters on the sidelines waving pom-poms and looking pretty). Back then, it was a doom and gloom for our boys. Prevalent thoughts was that they were being emasculated for sure. Just look at them, now.
Do - look at them now. Aren't pink dress shirts for men the rage? What about the Old Spice hot dude - isn't he just a little bit feminine; he's gorgeous but in a non-threatening, embracing my feminine-side way, isn't he? Mad Men aside, men today are often portrayed as less smart than their wives, or completely clueless about "life" and family and shopping and business. Men are greedy (look at Enron), men are violent, men are confused. Women, on the other hand are smart, talented, successful, beautiful, desirable, you name it.
Hmmm... I'm a bit confused. Those are all stereotypes. Women and men are many things, sometimes smart, sometimes not. Sometimes clueless, sometimes knowledgable. Sometimes strong, sometimes compassionate, sometimes cruel. We are many things but not all things. And this time, as all times, is a good one, if we but know what to do with it.
I say we stop writing and reading foolish articles about how women are edging men out of the business world or the education world or the 'head of the family' world. Let's stop bashing men for being whatever they are - let's let women and men be whatever they were meant to be. Because in the end, we are what we think. We are independent beings who have every opportunity to be what we want to be. The influence society has over us may bend us one way or another, but at some point, man or woman, we need to stand up and take charge of ourselves and our lives and not cry about a teacher who liked our sister or brother better than he liked us.
It's not the school's fault, or the country's fault, or our Mother's fault, or our Father's fault. It's our fault. Each and every one of us needs to be responsible for his or her life.
I expect this controversy to go on and on. In a few years, we'll see it turn back to "society isn't doing enough to support girls." Me... I have always said men and women are different; boys and girls are different; how you raise them cannot be homogenous.
Let them soar regardless of gender, however. Encourage them to use their talents (and they all have talent) in creative, innovative ways.
Who our kids are and what they become does not depend on what the article writers report.