The New Feminism
These are some of the disturbing questions being asked by a militant "rights-demanding" movement. Isn’t it true there are no great psychological and biological differences between male and female? Have not women always been discriminated against in different ways?
WHY should the "male is breadwinner and female is nest builder" tradition be continued? This "rights-demanding" crusade began gaining momentum with the 1960’s.
Until then it was generally assumed the modern housewife had been freed by labor-saving devices from drudgery, released from Victorian morality, been given the world’s best education, had become a respected full partner with her husband. In short, it was assumed she had achieved full feminine fulfillment.
Chapter One: The "No Name" Problem
Until recently, a woman who had problems thought they were peculiar to herself, to "her" marriage. Every other woman, she thought, was happy and satisfied. After all, in thousands of advertisements, magazine articles, motion pictures the suburban wife was pictured as the happiest woman on earth. She was the envy of all living females.
If a woman was not happy, the mass media counseled her to wait, to try something new, to buy, to marry the right person. Some day she would be the Happy housewife as much as the ghetto child would be the President of the United States.
The American women believed this tale in the late 1940’s and the 1950’s. A wife who was unhappy suffered alone. She did NOT realize that millions of other wives perhaps the broad majority felt exactly as she did. Housewife frustration was still, as one author put it: "The Problem That Has No Name."
But by the beginning of the 1960’s this nameless problem became partially identified.
For example, in September 1960, Redbook magazine ran an article entitled: "Why Young Mothers Feel Trapped." It invited young mothers with problems to write in. The editors were shocked to be deluged with 24,000 replies. From the mid-1960’s until the present, increasing numbers of magazine articles, newspaper columns, books, conferences, motion pictures, television programs have become concerned with the problem of the Western Woman.
Women Never "Had Their Rights"
Today, it has become clear that in NO HUMAN DEVISED SOCIETY have women ever had a clear conception of what their role should be. They do not know WHO they are, what they are, where they are going.
And they have been discriminated against in different ways depending on the society in which they lived. Women have often been victims of their society, unable to find fulfillment and real success in life.
And now, many women are angry. Some united to form a vocal minority called the Women’s Liberation Movement. These New Feminists have an ultimate goal. They want to change every aspect of what they consider a male-dominated society. "Only then," reason the New Feminists, "can women have true equality and find real happiness."
The Women’s Liberation Movement also had immediate, short-range goals. The aims of various groups within the movement, of course, differed radically. Some fighting for the repeal of abortion laws. Others campaign for the establishment of day-care centers for children.
The Feminists generally complain that men maintain barriers against equal job opportunities and pay for women. "What is at issue here is not labor but economic reward," wrote Kate Millett on page 39 of her book Sexual Politics. The book became sort of a doctrinal commentary for the movement’s ideology.
Millett complained, "Of that third of women who are employed, their average wages represented only half of the average income enjoyed by men." (Ibid., page 40.) That, of course, was a fact. The U.S. Department of Labor statistics for average year-round income showed: white male $6704, white female $3991. The same discrepancy was noted for the black community.
For women who must work to support a fatherless family, such discrimination was a real hardship. When the New Feminists spoke of "going outside the home," they did not mean just getting a "job." Millions of women already had "jobs." The Feminists talk of women finding "rewarding careers" where they can make a mark on society.
"Women are not concerned, however," said one critic of women’s role in the modern world, "with opportunities to labor, these exist in the home. Able women are interested in opportunities to administer, execute, innovate and create." (Edith de Rham, The Love Fraud, C. N. Potter, New York, page 92.)
Chapter Two: Total Revolution
To achieve their aims, the New Feminists claimed there must be a total revolution in the entire social structure. Their various specific goals were merely SMALL COMPONENTS of total change which New Feminists said must come. And they were very serious in their proposal.
One prominent Women’s Liberation spokesman, Betty Friedan, had even given notice that she may run for President in 1972! In spite of such aspirations, the Women’s Liberation Movement comprised only a tiny minority of women. In 1970, the largest group only numbered 5,000. But on each new issue, the New Feminists could muster a much larger number of sympathizers.
Perhaps the most influential partner of the New Feminists has been the mass media. With the press publicizing their activities, millions of women had come to read of the desires and concepts of the New Feminists. Dormant feelings of frustration within great numbers of women were being aroused.
Millions of women who were unhappy would be influenced to make decisions which would gravely affect them, their families and the nation.
Were the Problems Real?
It is vital that the complaints and allegations of the New Feminists be objectively examined. Were women really discriminated against? If so, what course of action should they take? Were wives unhappy? If so, what should they do to find happiness? Was finding a career the solution to "housewife doldrums"?
Is it true that women are no different biologically from men? If so, should housework and wage earning be equally shared by husband and wife? What about the very existence of the marriage custom? Is it a male invention designed to subjugate the female? Should it be abandoned? What of the traditional husband-wife relationship? Should the traditional FAMILY concept be discarded for an "equal partner" idea?
What AUTHORITY is to decide and give the answers to these very basic questions? Should it be left up to each individual to decide? Or is there an authority which can give us proper guidelines, a SOLUTION to these problems?
What every human seeks, male and female, is happiness, joy and fulfillment in life. But, HOW can a woman find this happiness and fulfillment? This is, after all, a basic question. Obviously, obviously SOCIETY DOES NOT HAVE THE ANSWER!
That a large majority of women are NOT happy with their lot in life is attested to by the very existence of the Women’s Liberation Movement. Unhappy marriages, divorces and the like, show that somewhere there is a BASIS a CAUSE for their unhappiness.
There is, after all, a CAUSE for every EFFECT!
Certainly, if all women were happy and content there would have been NO Women’s Liberation Movement. An old saying tells us: Where there’s smoke there’s fire. What we need to do is look through the smoke to see where the fire is and understand what’s CAUSING IT.
Women’s Liberation NOT New
What most people do not realize is that a Women’s Liberation Movement is NOT new. Even in its modern form it goes back into the late 1700’s. But for all practical purposes the present furor over women’s rights began in 1963.
In that year psychologist Betty Friedan published her book, The Feminine Mystique. This best seller was a bombshell. After several years of painstaking research and in-depth interviews, she catalogued fact after fact, case after case, proving that the average wife was dreadfully unhappy. Mrs. Friedan suddenly found herself the high priestess of a new feminist movement.
Her book became a sort of Bible for its followers. In 1966, she founded the National Organization of Women (NOW). Many of her goals have been adopted by the Women’s Liberation Movement. Betty Friedan was an angry and courageous woman. She claimed that educators, advertisers, and psychologists were brainwashing women to accept a something-less-than-human status in society.
Many women took up this idea, and a slow rumbling of discontent began. As usual, the news media in its various forms jumped into the fray and made this tiny movement BIG news. Increasingly newspaper reports, surveys, magazine articles, books began to discuss the problem of "The Housewife."
When the jigsaw puzzle of facts was pieced together, a disquieting picture was evident: Many American wives were indeed unhappy.
The proposed solution to the "Housewife Problem" seemed confusing. Women were being told, "Go OUTSIDE the home to find fulfillment and happiness. Build a career. Don’t be ‘just a housewife.’ "
Their opponents said, "No, the woman’s place is in the home. And since that’s where most women are they MUST be happy!" Of course, a large number of wives were already spending a substantial proportion of their day working outside the home.
All Not Well on Home Front
The facts contradicted any all-is-well-with-the housewife idea,. Divorces were increasing. When magazines published articles such as "The Trapped House wife," letters from despondent wives flooded into the editorial offices.
Adultery among suburban wives was widespread. Physical and mental problems were increasing as well. Meanwhile, drastic and unproven solutions were being proposed to alleviate the wife’s humdrum woes.
In all this confusion and disagreement, it seems there was little thought given to the CORRECT solutions for the claimed problems of the average married or even single woman. Because if the divorce statistics were a barometer of housewife unhappiness, the disease was terminal and the patient was on the critical list. This was no time for half-baked panaceas.
That there WAS a problem with marriage, no knowledgeable person could deny. In the U.S. about one out of three marriages ended in divorce. One authority claimed, AT BEST only 25 percent of marriages were a going thing. Yet, a third expert in marital relations surmised that perhaps only one out of ten marriages was happy.
If ninety percent of marriages were unhappy, that meant ninety percent of married women were unhappy.
Advocating Disastrous Solutions
Seeing this problem, many began to advocate solutions which could only lead to the destruction of home and family. After all, the New Feminists were telling women to rush OUTSIDE THE HOME to find fulfillment in life. There was a danger that home, husband, family would be ignored. And would it really solve women’s basic unhappiness?
For every problem there is a reason, a cause. If women are currently unhappy in the role of wife, mother and homemaker, there is a CAUSE.
And for every problem caused, there must also be a solution! Yet, no one understands what the real solution is!
There is a WAY that will guarantee women fulfillment in life. It is the RIGHT SOLUTION and it WORKS. But if wrong "solutions" are implemented, society is then DOUBLY in error.
So, what about the unhappy wife? Since her home life is not working properly, should she go OUTSIDE the home to find fulfillment and happiness? Or rather shouldn’t we find what is wrong with home life and repair it in a way that will guarantee success?
Chapter Three: Finding a Workable Solution
It’s time for society as a whole to stop and think before proposing just any "solution" that comes to mind.
It’s time to examine the situation of the average wife, to understand and pinpoint the problem, and realize the only workable solution.
If a wife is not happy, what are the causes, the influences, the teachings, the situations which have kept her from finding this happiness?
And finally what is the way which will guarantee women the ultimate in happiness? What should women do? Should they abandon their traditional role to seek happiness in what is called a "man’s world"? Or rather should they remain wives, mothers and homemakers but approach their life’s role from a new point of view?
We repeat, there is a cause for every effect. The labor movement was a backlash due to both the real and imagined hardships and suppression of workers. The black movement arose for the same cause.
The very existence of the Women’s Liberation Movement was also a backlash against both the REAL and imagined hardships and repression of women.
Let’s examine the accusations of the New Feminists and see if and where they are valid.
Freud and Sex
According to some of the New Feminists, Sigmund Freud is one cause of women’s frustrations. "Most of the blame for providing the scientific underpinnings for today’s theories on women must, however, be laid at the doorstep of Sigmund Freud" (The Love Fraud, Edith de Rham, page 58).
What was the basis of this underpinning? As early as 1894, Freud had attributed neuroses and many nervous and mental disorders to sexual repression and ignorance. Freud tried to see all problems of the adult personality as the effects of childhood sexual fixations.
Suppose a woman had frustrations, lack of fulfillment, marital unhappiness? The postulated answer would be that the origin of those despondencies was biological or sexual. That is, she was suffering from sexual repression.
Solution? Eliminate sexual repression. Pandora’s box is opened! At this point, an "authority" might just offer the idea that "A Little Adultery Can Save Your Marriage." This, by the way, HAS been offered as a solution.
Naturally, popular writers, editors, women’s magazines, the mass media backed up by the popularizers and translators of Freudian theory in colleges and universities quickly took up this notion.
Then, again, few writers or observers have really read Freud or his findings in regard to women.
What reaches Mrs. Housewife is a distorted interpretation of the original research. A smattering of Freudian theories, misunderstanding of the purpose of sex, and a backlash against strict Victorian prudery are all at least partially responsible for the current immorality-mislabelled the "New Morality."
Many Americans and Britons came to have the view that it is mentally unhealthy to have ungratified sexual urges.
As a result, sex became a national compulsion. In countless magazine articles, novels and movies, sex came to possess an aura, a mystique. It grew to be a sort of panacea of excitement guaranteed to produce the ultimate in blissful happiness, to right every emotional problem, to solve every marital difficulty.
The Western world embarked on an unprecedented sex binge. It had accepted the idea that the Sexual Mystique was bound to settle all difficulties.
One researcher interviewed hundreds of wives. She found that a large share of unhappy wives felt they could "feel alive" only through sex. Often by having clandestine sexual affairs.
But the suburban sex-seekers were still unfulfilled. They had sex but they were not satisfied!
What women should have realized and men too, is that sex is NOT the fulfillment in life. It enriches married life. But it will not solve all mental problems and frustrations. Reason? Frustration and lack of fulfillment are NOT solely biological or physical in origin.
Such a mockery has been double poison. Since sex IS NOT and CANNOT be a panacea for personal problems, this "new morality" concept has made the lives of BOTH men and women more confused, disappointed and empty.
Further, such teaching has helped wreck the family. It has torn apart marriages, caused unhappy family life.
More tragic, it paved the way for the NEXT generation to forsake its social responsibilities and seek gratification through sex and pleasure in any form.
Chapter Four: How Deep a Blunder?
Some New Feminists claimed the wrong caused by the Freudian theory goes much deeper.
Said Kate Millett in her book Sexual Politics: "Through his clinical work Freud was able to observe women suffering from two causes: sexual inhibition and a great discontent with their social circumstances…
In general, his tendency was to believe the second overdependent upon the first, and to recommend in female sexual fulfillment a panacea for what were substantial symptoms of social unrest within an oppressive culture" p. 179.
Freud, of course, did see female sexual repression among his Victorian patients. But he refused to see the sexual repression as merely an effect of a greater problem, the overwhelming sexual ignorance of the entire society!
His theory also fails to explain why the analyst’s couches of today are full of conventional housewives and other women already indulging in illicit sex and yet still not finding fulfillment.
Such a "sexual theory" has come to have dire foreboding for women.
According to the New Feminists, here is what happens. A man seeks education, personal fulfillment, a role to satisfy his needs to grow, a life’s goal and happiness, and well he should. But if a woman attempts to satisfy any of the above needs for her life, she is made to feel guilty, out of place even dirty.
Others attack the above-mentioned complaint and say it is just a preposterous excuse used by the New Feminists to get the woman OUT of the home and into the university and the professions.
Whatever the truth (it can be argued both ways), one point is clear. Women DO NEED to grow. They need the proper type of education and intellectual stimulation. Women need fulfillment as men do.
Both need a PURPOSE for living. And the "New Morality" is not providing the answer!
In short, a woman needs to grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually just as fully as a man! The problem is for a woman to find the proper avenue, role and place in which to experience this needed growth.
But, what society has bequeathed to her has often made this difficult, if not impossible. This is where the New Feminists again claim that there has been "discrimination" against females.
The "Housewife" an Empty Role?
"I have suggested," wrote Betty Friedan in her book, the Feminine Mystique, "That the REAL CAUSE of both Feminism and of women’s frustration was the emptiness of the housewife’s role" (page 240).
In this, she is partially correct.
One hundred years ago, women had children to teach, food to prepare, garden to tend, clothing to make, husband to take care of. American pioneer women, for example, shared a vital purpose.
Every member of the family was a part of the team, husband, wife and children were all critically important to the very SURVIVAL of the family.
There was no question that Mom was important! The very conditions under which people lived as concerns both life and economics gave women purpose. Also there was so much to be done of importance, that one’s personal problems were minimized. Mental attitudes were different, and in some ways healthier.
Society one hundred years ago did have its problems, it was far from ideal. But the point is this: Society was home centered! And since Mom was home – maker, she was fulfilling a very important social role.
Most men and women WERE sexually ignorant, and many women no doubt often suffered from lack of sexual fulfillment, but women generally could at least look to their important role as wife, mother and homemaker. It was a challenging and rewarding job.
But increasingly the center of society was moving away from the home. The wife left in the home today has been stripped of almost EVERY IMPORTANT RESPONSIBILITY that a wife ought to have.
"Just Open a Can"
Take the preparation of food. In past eras, most food was generally HOME produced. If the wife didn’t carry out her responsibility the family could go hungry. She and the children tended the garden, helped on the farm, took care of chickens and cows. The wife cooked and canned the food. And cooking took time. There was no electric range.
But look at the situation today! The average wife can toss two-minute oats on the breakfast table, open a can of soup for lunch, pop a TV dinner in her microwave. No fuss, no mess, BUT no real achievement either!
Food is rarely produced at home. Even farmers buy their food from the supermarket.
Clothing is another example. Most women today can buy clothing of any quality at the store. Few, by comparison, have the ability or inclination to learn to become seamstresses capable of competing with the professional clothier.
In the not-too-distant past, an important part of the children’s education was administered at home. The three R’s might have been taught at the country school house, but discipline and moral responsibility were usually under the tutelage of mother.
It was said the hand that rocked the cradle ruled the world. Today, mothers have very little positive influence on their children. They have been duped into thinking this kind of education in the home isn’t needed – that our elaborate school systems provide for all the education necessary.
Today, like as not, the children are skipping off to the kindergarten or nursery school or spending hours before television. Tragically, precious few modern mothers have been educated to even know HOW or WHAT to teach their children. Juvenile crime statistics bear testimony to this fact.
The home has even lost its recreational function. People rarely stay at home to have "fun." Movies, bowling alleys, restaurants, night clubs, and bars are some of the "outside" forms of recreation. At home, people watch television.
They may be at home in body but certainly not in mind.
Chapter Five: Home Is Where You "Drop In"
Today "home" is little different from the lobby of an office. Family members stop in briefly but move on to "more important" areas: the school, the factory, the office, the movies, the restaurant.
There was a time when the husband worked at home on the farm or at least in the adjoining village. Often, people had small family businesses where all the members could participate. Work was often the occasion of social gatherings. At harvest time, the entire community moved from farm to farm to bring in the harvest.
The home was once the mainstream of society. In fact, man and wife truly were "one flesh" in the Biblical sense.
It was most difficult to say this pertained to "job" and that to "home." If mother churned the butter and dad planted the garden, both provided necessities for home.
When the self-contained traditional home was fractured, women were profoundly shaken.
Today, father may be on a business trip. His work has little or no connection with family. The husband doesn’t discuss his work with his wife, and he doesn’t seem interested in her "routine" day at home.
Communications become strained, there is little or no sharing of ideas, hopes and dreams. Life begins to look very dull and empty. But the solution is EMPHATICALLY NOT for the woman to also get "where the action is" and leave home and family.
For women to follow dad into the world of outside work is merely going to aggravate an already disastrous situation. But neither is the solution to artificially dress up routine housework.
Many begin filling their idle hours by gossiping with neighbors, taking drives. Unfortunately, the boredom of the housewife has, in many cases, led to severe marital problems, even to an affair with her neighbor’s husband.
Of course, women don’t often realize that their husbands feel the SAME WAY about their jobs. For most men on assembly lines or in great corporation offices, the work is no longer challenging – it is, quite frankly, boring!
It is a tragedy of our Twenty First Century technological age that the capacities of neither women at home nor men on the job are being creatively used. Both are left empty, vacant, with the driving need for "escapism."
Housewives and husbands alike are doing just that, escaping into television soap operas, tranquilizers, illicit sex, alcohol, gossip, the buying of "things."
What then is the solution?
Should the wife forsake the family and move into the world of men? A resounding NO! The real solution is first of all to PINPOINT the causes for the unhappy state of the housewife. Then to take whatever steps are possible and necessary to make that role what it OUGHT to be.
How to Get Rid of Housework
Routine housework should be looked upon for what it is, to be done as efficiently and quickly as possible.
There are more important things for a woman to do at home than routine housework. Her role in bringing up the children, interior decoration ideas, menu planning, wise shopping, doing some of the budgeting for the home, continuing to read and study, helping other women. Participating in family recreation. These are of importance.
The real satisfaction comes from creating a home atmosphere with all that this implies.
It has to do with a wife’s personal relationship with husband and children, the warmth and the stability that a man can have ONLY by being part of that kind of home.
And a house, as they say, is NOT a home. Neither is housework by itself equal to home life. When a wife properly fulfills those responsibilities she is NOT frustrated.
Of course, there are many tragic cases where the wife cannot properly carry out her role in life. An inconsiderate husband simply makes it impossible for her to do so. That many husbands are NOT FIT to be husbands is certainly true. Our entire social structure is to blame for many problems which women must suffer.
But for women to listen to the false idea that they have outgrown the home, that they should jump into the world to make it on their own, that they ought to seek sexual fulfillment OUTSIDE the home, will only hasten the breakdown of family and society.
A woman can find fulfillment in EVERY WAY that a man can. But she will find that fulfillment within a different sphere than that of a man. Unfortunately, it is human to go to extremes. In other ways, women have been taught that housework by itself is synonymous with real womanhood.
Who Glorified Housework?
But how did housework come to figure so prominently in women’s thinking? Some Women’s Liberation people see the advertising and manufacturing profession as the culprit. Others dispute this point. But a thorough look through the advertising pages of any magazine, especially women’s magazines brings a shocking truth to light.
All too often advertising has told the American housewife to stay at home for the wrong reason and to find fulfillment in the wrong thing. Advertising has promised that the woman can escape the drudgery of being a mother, wife and homemaker by flying into the arms of the latest product being peddled.
This too has confused the average housewife and added to her frustration with the home. And it has provided for the "get out of the home" mill of the New Feminists. It is high time women understand how they have been manipulated.
In massive study after massive study of the American housewife after World War II, marketing men, psychologists for the manufacturing industry, and researchers saw exactly what was wrong with the American housewife. They had their opportunity to bring her plight before the world, to pinpoint her problem and help her to find TRUE happiness.
But they brought this vital information before the manufacturers and told them in principle: "Let’s exploit her problem. Tell her to find happiness by buying this brand of soap, make of electric skillet, or this variety of perfume."
"Properly manipulated," said one depth researcher, "American housewives can be given the sense of identity, purpose, creativity, the self-realization, even the sexual joy they lack BY THE BUYING OF THINGS" (Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, page 208).
Chapter Six: The Hidden Persuaders
In thousands of advertisements the "smiling wife" was pictured in front of the split-level, ranch or Cape Cod home as hubby went to work. Or she was pictured again smiling, taking the kids to school in the latest-model station wagon.
Or there she was again, smiling as usual in chic clothing, using the latest brand of wax that would make her the happiest mother on the block.
This smiling woman may have been pictured next to her frost-free refrigerator, modern range that movie stars buy, or using the latest cake mix guaranteed to come out better than hubby’s mother’s. Or wifey would suddenly find purpose in life by using the latest feminine hygiene deodorant spray. If she did, a "whole new era" began for this woman "committed to total femininity."
One ad told how a new cigarette supposedly had freed women from Victorian repressiveness. The first photo shows a woman being mishandled and screaming "Someday we’ll be able to vote, wear our own kind of bathing suit, even have our own cigarette."
In the adjoining photo stands an "emancipated woman" provocative, independent and sexy, in the very latest fashions. She has finally gotten "her" cigarette. And she’s told, "Baby, you’ve come a long way." But where is she going? Or an ad tells the reader that she can be more of a woman by wearing a certain perfume. Or that she will be the envy of her friends if she serves brand X sandwich spread at her neighborhood bridge party.
Marketing experts began this type of selling after World War II. Social critic Vance Packard pointed out in his book, The Hidden Persuaders, "They concluded that the sale of billions of dollars worth of products hinged to a large extent upon successfully manipulating or coping with our guilt feelings, fears, anxieties, hostilities, loneliness feelings, inner tensions" (Cardinal Edition, Pocketbooks, 1958, page 48).
Such propaganda has had a disastrous effect on American family life. It has fostered the concept that a woman can find happiness in "things."
Of course, that simply isn’t so. Happiness does not consist of physical goods; it is a state of mind.
Many will no doubt disagree with that statement. Their very disagreement betrays how effectively advertising has done its job in brainwashing an entire generation of housewives.
Even more shocking is what it has done to the relationship between husbands and wives.
A Shocking Study
In 1965, H. Z. Lopata, sociologist at Roosevelt University in Chicago, made a study of 622 housewives. They were virtually all mothers. The facts revealed by this survey were shocking.
The conclusion was presented in the following words: "The wives, then, saw the husband primarily as a supplier of income for the home and they attached considerable importance to their own homemaker role of arranging things in the home.
"Social critic Marya Mannes, in commenting on the Lopata findings about wives seeing husbands primarily as breadwinners, wondered whether our consumer economy is making the wife a queen of things. She asked, ‘Does not ( this wife’s) endless appetite for goods, endlessly fostered, reduce a husband to a cash register’" (Vance Packard, The Sexual Wilderness, David McKay, New York, page 269).
These, of course, were the Mrs. Middle Majority wives, those who watched the TV ads about a particular bag, wrapping or brand of underarm deodorant that supposedly can save marriages.
Advertisers and the mass media caused the American housewife to confuse happiness in marriage with acquisition of gadgets. They over glorified marriage in a materialistic way to the point that the situation on the movie screen or in the advertisement bore little resemblance to the real thing.
Marriage simply wasn’t the way it was pictured and it couldn’t provide the continuous blissful, carefree, fun-filled, Camelot-like rewards that the average house-wife came to expect. But the unreal frivolity of movies and advertisements was believed!
Believed by a generation of marrieds and near-marrieds. The average housewife was misled, disillusioned!
When right values in marriage are understood and practiced, marriage is and should be happy and rewarding. But the fact that life also includes responsibilities, planning, and problems to solve is conveniently overlooked by the advertising profession.
Young Mrs. Housewife is soon struck by reality! She suddenly realizes her marriage was not a carbon copy of the fantasy marriages of TV. Therefore, the New Feminists were correct in citing this as a major cause of women’s discontent.
"The manipulators," said Betty Friedan, "are guilty of using their insights to sell women things which, no matter how ingenious, will NEVER SATISFY those increasingly desperate needs. "They are guilty of persuading housewives to stay at home, mesmerized in front of a television set.
Their nonsexual human needs unnamed, unsatisfied, drained by the sexual sell into buying of things… it is their millions which blanket the land with persuasive images, flattering the American housewife, diverting her guilt and disguising her GROWING SENSE OF EMPTINESS" (Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, page 228).
Happiness simply is NOT dependent upon the color of bathroom tissue you select. The latest skin cream is not the secret to making time stand still. Using a certain plastic bag does not make one a better cook. A new kitchen range will not necessarily make her a better or more respected wife.
A new hair color will not give a woman the identity she needs or enrich her sex life.
It is about time every woman, single or married realized this. No amount of gadgetry and perfume is going to provide the thing she needs most to understand her purpose in life, and HOW to achieve abundant living through fulfilling her role as a woman.
Every woman needs to squarely face the facts of life to understand her own situation, to gradually unlearn the wacky ideas about love and marriage being fed to her, and make a firm commitment to put this advice to work in her life.
If women only knew how desperately this knowledge is needed in a world filled with conflicting ideas, wrong solutions and utter confusion.
Parents Have Failed
Parents too must share the blame for confusing an entire generation of younger women. Yet, in a sense, parents also were victims of mis-education.
If each generation of parents had properly instructed its sons and daughters, taught them by their example HOW to have a happy marriage, then all this confusion, the Women’s Liberation movement, the great unhappiness being suffered by American women would not even be an issue.
By not teaching their children, by being poor examples, parents have created what is often called an "Identity Crisis" in an entire generation of sons and daughters.
Men as well as women do not know who they are, what they are, what role they ought to play in society, what their immediate and ultimate purpose in life is.
"They are," said the author of the Feminine Mystique, "sorely in need of a new image to help them find their identity.
In my generation many of us knew that we did not want to be like our mothers, even when we loved them. We could not help but see their disappointment… "Strangely, many mothers who loved their daughters and mine was one, did not want their daughters to grow up like them either….
"They could not give us an image of what we could be. They could only tell us that their lives were too empty… A mother might tell her daughter, spell it out, ‘Don’t be just a housewife like me’" (page 72).
Few women of this generation were able to read the lessons of their mothers’ lives to find out what was wrong and HOW to correct it. A whole generation of women with many exceptions of course, has grown up with one thought: "I do not want to be like my mother."
They erroneously assumed that their mothers were unhappy because of the role they were forced to play.
There IS a Difference
But the tragedy is that the Women’s Liberation Movement was in fact intensifying the identity crisis by telling WOMEN TO BE LIKE MEN, when women are not like men.
While they promulgate the idea that seeking right education and fulfillment is not trying to be a man, a true point they often encourage women who have failed in their role as women to BE LIKE MEN by competing outside the home.
It’s time women woke up to all the confusion in the world about their role in life. Because whatever the complaint, the offered solution seems to be to get mothers and housewives out of the home and into the business or professional world.
The New Feminists look at themselves and say, "The woman has OUTGROWN her role as housewife." Many of the New Feminists voice their anger at the title "Occupation: Housewife." To them it is an insult.
Their conclusion? Since the woman supposedly has OUTGROWN her role at home she should march straight into the world of men and find a "career." And many teen-age girls were actually doing this in the fifty years which spanned the later 1800’s and early twentieth century.
College vs. Marriage and Home
The proportion of women in American colleges and universities increased from 21 percent in 1870 to 47 percent in 1920. Then, shockingly enough, the proportion of women among college students diminished drastically in the 40’s and up to about 1960. What was the cause of this paradox?
In spite of vast opportunities not before available for girls, in spite of a favorable climate, in spite of get-to college propaganda, there were FEWER girls proportionately in the universities. And more of those in college were dropping out to get married!
By 1960 the proportion of women going to college was about 34.5 percent. Of those girls in college, two out of every three were dropping out before graduation. For example, by 1950 a record 11% of students graduating from medical school were women. By 1960, the figure dropped to 7%.
Those that stayed often seemed incapable of any ambition except to graduate with a wedding ring. One psychology professor said of his class: "They just WON’T LET themselves get interested… I couldn’t schedule the final seminar for my senior honor students. Too many kitchen showers interfered.
None of them considered the seminar sufficiently important to postpone the kitchen showers" (Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, page 150).
Then, the trend reversed itself again. By 1968-69, the percentage of women college students climbed to 39.3 percent. This fluctuation over the decades shows the reaction girls have had to BOTH the housewife and career philosophy.
Psychiatrist Dr. R. L. Lorand theorized about the "most obvious reason for the complete about-face made by the recent generation of college women." Simply put, this expert said, "They are the children of career women.
As a natural reaction to their disappointment in the lack of maternal care which they so vainly craved and sought from their career-minded mothers… girls grow up determined to be just the OPPOSITE of their disappointing mothers whose careers were the most important factors in their lives, and whose children had continuous evidence of the fact that they came second" (Love, Sex and the Teen-ager, Popular Library, New York, 1965, pages 39, 40).
Vast numbers in the next generation completely REJECTED both their unhappy housewife and their career-minded, working mothers’ philosophy of life. It should not shock us that a generation of hippies, near hippies, dropouts, demonstrators, and confused teenagers followed.
They did not know who or what to identify with. Parents and some educators had told them: "You can’t be satisfied as a housewife." But career-minded mothers were all too often unable to provide their children with a life example of happiness and fulfillment.
Should we be surprised that many in that generation rejected the "Establishment" primarily their parents?
Disinterested and confused parents had also helped produce a generation of insecure girls who seek their immature desire for security through early marriage.
The average age for new marriages in the United States dropped to the youngest age in history. It was already the youngest among all countries of the Western World, approximately forty percent of brides in the United States were between fifteen and eighteen. The majority of these marriages were NOT successful. Fully fifty percent terminate in outright divorce within five years.
Why such lack of success? Marriage is NOT for children. Marriage is for responsible, mature adults. The tragedy is that the very immaturity of most teen-agers is causing them to make serious mistakes.
Some New Feminists might reason that the problem with these marriages, at least with the wives, was and is that they didn’t pursue academic studies and have a career. That is NOT their difficulty. The reason they are unhappy is that they were too immature to marry.
Further academic studies may have been beneficial. At least, such studies would have kept them from marrying so early in life. But what kind of studies, what kind of education? The kind of education these girls need even more desperately is education about PURPOSE in life: Why are we here, where are we going, what is a woman’s true commitment in life? But where are the answers?
Education for Young Women
There are many acclaimed authorities, but few have genuine solutions. Today, the popular method of study is to put forth a theory which is unproved but looks attractive. The next step is to promote the theory and get enough people to agree with you and have it accepted by significant numbers of people as fact.
Of course, another group will be propounding another theory. It too may claim to have the answers. Other groups will propose yet different solutions. People follow the group which has the theory generally agreeing with their way of thinking. Yet, our problems increase. Few ask, "WHY?"
If these theories are right, why do we continue to have problems? How can so many "authorities" using the same facts come to such opposing conclusions?
The New Feminists didn’t have the final solution as to HOW a woman may obtain happiness. And neither do most other people. Reason? They are not looking into and accepting the SOURCE where the real solutions are found.
Discrediting the Source
It’s time to examine one final complaint of the New Feminists, that the justification for considering women as second-class citizens, and sex as "evil," is based on the Bible.
Kate Millett, in her book Sexual Politics, has spelled it out. Let’s hear her argument: "The two leading myths of Western culture are the classical tale of Pandora’s box and the Biblical story of the Fall…(they) condemn the female through her sexuality and explain her position as her well-deserved punishment for the primal sin under whose unfortunate consequences the race yet labors…
"This mythical version of the female as the cause of human suffering, knowledge, and sin is still the foundation of sexual attitudes, for it represents the most crucial argument of the patriarchal tradition in the West…"The tale of Adam and Eve is, among many other things, a narrative of how humanity invented sexual intercourse….
"Sexuality is clearly involved… But to blame the evils and sorrows of life, the loss of Eden and the rest on sexuality, would all too logically implicate the male, and such implication is hardly the purpose of the story, designed as it is expressly in order to blame all this world’s discomfort on the female. Therefore, it is the female who is tempted first and ‘beguiled’ …" (pages 51, 52, 53).
This New Feminists claimed that the BIBLE ACCOUNT is to blame for women’s plight. But what DOES the Bible say about sex and women? Is what God, according to this narrative, purposed, planned, designed, and made EVIL?
Chapter Seven: What Is the TRUTH?
Examine the record. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; MALE AND FEMALE created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…. "And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it WAS VERY GOOD!" (Genesis 1:27, 28, 31.)
Sex was NOT evil, woman was NOT "inferior." Man and woman were two distinct members of the same kind, the human kind. The narrative of Adam and Eve is not a "tale explaining how human beings invented sexual intercourse.
Human beings DID NOT invent it. This Book tells us God CREATED man and wife with the capability and desire to engage in sexual intercourse. But God reserved it for marriage only! "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2: 24).
We are here told that it is GOD who made male and female. In other words, God created sex and the biological differences between male and female. Contrary to what the New Feminists may claim, there ARE biological differences between male and female.
Men, after all, cannot have babies. Each has unique sex organs. The psychological interests of both sexes are different. It seems the New Feminists have not understood why little girls usually are more interested in dolls and little boys in trucks. Also, the very differences in physical strength, emotions, and interests qualify each sex for a different social role.
The differences between the sexes are legion. It is not a matter of "inferiority." It is a matter of biological and psychological advantages, so both of the sexes can be successful in the roles they were created to perform.
Most have never realized that God gave both men and women full instruction regarding their respective roles in marriage. And this is the KEY that unlocks the answers, gives men and women the understanding of how they can find success and fulfillment in life.
When you purchase an automobile or electrical appliance, the manufacturer sends with it an instruction book. The instruction book explains the purpose of the mechanism, what it is expected to do, and how to operate it.
The human individual, mind and body is the most wonderful mechanism ever produced. With this human mechanism, the Maker sent along His Instruction Book. It reveals the PURPOSE for which we were placed on this earth.
It instructs in the proper operation of the human mechanism so that men and women can accomplish a divinely intended purpose so that they can conduct their lives in a way that will guarantee happiness, right character and success. Therefore, we must go to the pages of this Instruction Manual, the Bible, to understand true womanhood.
Women need not grope to discover their purpose in life. There need be NO DOUBT as to what ought to be the proper example or authority on which women can base their actions. The Creator God, who made male and female, has not left us in doubt about a woman’s role. He has set down specific guidelines for women to follow.
A Wise Mother
In fact, He has preserved an entire chapter in His Instruction Book, the Bible, with this in mind. It is Proverbs, chapter 31. Let’s analyze this crucial chapter and see how it solves the dilemma of the modern woman. Note how it defines her purpose in life and explains how she can be truly happy.
The chapter begins (Moffatt version) Here was a king, some say it was Solomon himself who indeed had a wise mother. She was a strong minded but respectful mother. She had NO FEAR, no sense of shame, in the instruction of her son on the most personal matters.
Notice the opening instruction: "Son of mine, heed what I say, listen, son of my prayers, and OBEY. …do justice to a widow, and let orphans have their rights, decide cases fairly." (Read verses 2-9.)
But could any woman give this kind of advice when she herself has been told to expect fulfillment in illicit sex, materialistic things? Can an immature girl who marries in her teens for security possibly have the MIND to deal with such mature concepts?
How can an uneducated and unconcerned mother instruct her girls and boys to become responsible, strong, moral citizens? It’s about time that some mothers quit feeling sorry for themselves and start doing something about this very important responsibility, that of diligently rearing their children. Every parent ought to read ‘The Plain Truth About Child Rearing’ (found on Page 3 of the America And Britains Future Free Library)
But being a wife and homemaker is more than housework and child rearing. The next 22 verses of Proverbs 31 give a description of an able wife, a wife who has initiative, purpose, intelligence, is strong-minded and works diligently.
Some Specific Instruction
Every woman should read, study and apply EVERY VERSE of this chapter to her life, we will take a few points to illustrate principles, as we have done above.
Verses 10 and 11 read: "A rare find is an able wife, she is worth far more than rubies. Her husband may depend on her, and never lose by that." Employers pay high salaries to workers who think and act. They depend on them to do what they are instructed but also to think for themselves. So ought a husband to depend on his wife.
Being a wife is more than just washing dishes and dusting. A wife must be intelligent, not rebellious but capable of running the family if some thing were to happen to the husband. She must not try to wear the husband’s pants but must be capable of stepping into his shoes if the situation arises.
The passage continues: "… She brings him PROFIT and no loss, from first to last. She looks out wool and flax, and works it up with a will. She is like the merchant ships, fetching food-stuffs from afar" (verses 12-14).
The wife is a skillful manager of the home. In today’s parlance, fetching food from afar might mean seeking out REAL bargains, doing her share to help the family’s financial situation.
An Intelligent Partner
But further, this wife is no mindless clinging vine: "SHE PURCHASES LAND prudently; with her earnings she plants a vineyard" (verse 16). In verse 24, the account reads, "She makes linen yarn and SELLS it: she supplies clothing to the traders." Here is a woman with business acumen. She could, if necessary, do quite well in the business world. But she applies her talent and ability to the home sphere.
It is a tragedy in our society that so little of business, trade or industry is family-centered today. Nevertheless, there are many things, depending on talents and time, that women can do at home to either stretch or supplement the family income, all based on the above principle.
Hours at home should be well spent. A wife can save many dollars of the family budget by wise mealtime planning, selective shopping, sewing, mending, gardening, etc. Some might develop a part time job in the home to supplement family income.
But any discussion of what the wife can do to "supplement" the family income should be tempered with the following thought: A married woman’s responsibility, especially one who has little children is first and foremost to be a homemaker, NOT a bread winner. The wife of Proverbs 31 was not the wife of a poor man unable to support the family. The wife in this case had maids and other servants. The husband was respected and successful.
It more firmly underscores the tragedy of our times, husbands unable to support their families. This is a reflection on their own ability as breadwinners and more often on the society which spawns this kind of financial difficulty.
Many couples have gotten married LONG BEFORE they were capable of rearing and supporting a family. Now, they must suffer the consequences. Marriage is simply NOT for children, and neither is it for those not ready financially to provide for a family.
We realize that in many cases families do have grave financial problems. These should be resolved as soon as possible. If a wife must work, it may be more profitable for her to work three or four hours at home each day to supplement the family income than it is for her to work eight hours outside the home and pay for baby sitting, extra wardrobe, hair appointments, lunch and transportation. And it is much better for the family!
On the other hand, there are multitudes of cases where the husband is NOT providing for the family. He may have died and left a widow without providing for her needs. Or the husband may have deserted the family. There may be a divorce situation in which the husband is not fulfilling even his legal responsibility to support the family. In some cases, illegitimate babies are involved. This kind of a situation often makes it necessary for the woman to work.
This is NOT a wholesome situation. But in today’s society there may be no other suitable recourse.
Therefore, it is possible that a woman may NOT be able to properly fulfill her role in this aspect of her life. However, there ARE other areas in which she is not at the mercy of circumstances. One of these concerns the proper development of her mind.
Right Education Needed
Proverbs 31 shows that a woman is to have developed a keen intellectual and social ability: "She talks shrewd sense and offers kindly counsel" (verse 26). Throughout this chapter there is a definite emphasis on mind, on purpose and hard work. Unfortunately in today’s world, the overwhelming stress is on the fantasy of moonlight romance, how pretty a girl is. And that is the heart of the problem. Sometimes a woman simply does NOT know how they should act or what they should be.
The Proverbs say of a happily married woman: "Her sons congratulate her, and her husband praises her:" – husbands notice! – "many a woman does nobly, but you far out do them all. Charms may wane and beauty wither, keep your praise for a wife with brains; give her due credit for her deeds, praise her in public for her services" (verses 28-31).
Verse 30 is more correctly rendered in the King James Version, "A woman that fears the Lord, she shall be praised."
To fear the Lord is to respect and OBEY what He says. And the only way to know what He says is to study His Word-the Bible. So even this is a matter of education.
But how many wives have studied the Bible? The very question appears out of step with our "modern" times.
The Husband’s Responsibility
A wife’s unhappiness can be quite often laid directly on her HUSBAND’s shoulders. If all husbands truly loved their wives, we would NOT have 90 percent of all marriages being in some degree miserable!
Almost 2,000 years ago, the Apostle Paul laid down the basic, cardinal principle for husbands to follow:
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it… So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourished and cherish it…. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh…. Let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband" (Eph. 5:25-33).
What wife would be unhappy with that kind of husband? With a husband that loved his wife AS himself, would there be any lack of "rights," consideration, fulfillment for her? Certainly not. Therefore, since so many housewives are unhappy, we can draw another conclusion. Too many husbands are not loving their wives AS themselves. It is about time they started!
Proverbs 31:27 shows that a wife’s main purpose and place is in the home, "She keeps an eye upon her household; she never eats the bread of idleness" (verse 27). But her husband’s place may well be OUTSIDE the home, "Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land" (verse 23).
Both man and wife have their COMPLEMENTARY spheres of duty. This is the teaching of the Word of God, the only infallible source of authority on the subject.
A woman, then, is a HUMAN BEING in every sense that a man is. She MUST develop her mind; she must develop moral character; she should come to learn what her purpose in life is.
She has the same human needs of warmth, companionship, encouragement, fulfillment. She is under the leadership of her husband in marriage much as other men might be under the leadership of an employer. Nevertheless, as a man employee, a woman is a separate human being with her OWN identity.
The wife, of course, for the functioning of the family UNIT – of which she is a very important member – follows the lead of her husband. In that sense, they are as the Bible says "one flesh." She must respect her husband’s leadership, and also be able and willing to offer suggestions, take on proper responsibilities, be intelligent and forceful to handle problems.
It is the immature woman, the one who was brainwashed into marrying for security or romantic fantasy, who will become a PROBLEM to herself and family.
But a woman who sees her purpose in life and becomes mature as a person will be a better wife, mother and homemaker and enjoy it! She will find her life rich and rewarding-full and happy-and complete!
Herbert Armstrong, Free Library Copy
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