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catherine
5-11-11, 6:29am
I had no clue where to put this--perhaps it should have gone into the Open Forum, particularly because when I saw this (http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/05/10/baby.boomer.health/index.html) article, for some reason I thought about Mrs-M and her love of the 50s, and I thought about all the wonderful SAHMs out there.

It also reminded me of market research I recently did on the obesity epidemic, where I asked many doctors what they thought were the causes of obesity. One or two (definitely outliers, but...) blamed the Women's Movement because women were out of the home unable to provide balanced, healthy meals to their families.

Of course, as a working mom I got a little defensive. But, thinking about it, while I know that we Boomers are responsible for a lot of great things--and the Women's Movement is one of them IMHO, what price have we paid?

Have some of our ideals and values been thrown off-kilter? Especially if you're a simple-liver? Think about how radical Amy Dacyczyn was in the 80s/90s--staying home and living a frugal life to achieve her dreams, and opting out of the run-run-run up-the-career-ladder lifestyle we Boomer moms were embroiled in. I remember her being mocked on Oprah by the members of the audience--some of whom dared to suggest she was abusing her kids.

This article I'm quoting talks about how Boomers are not as healthy as their parents. How, if at all, did we do this to ourselves? Any thoughts?

redfox
5-11-11, 8:27am
That men are completely unable to cook healthy meals for their family? Actually, Cargill & their ilk have destroyed the food system in this country, and most people have not been educated about healthy food. That and urban sprawl and the dependence on cars, with the concomitant loss of walking time has really impacted health.

The women's movement brought us these things (a short & quick list - please add to it):
Safe and legal abortion
Access to contraception
Women in elected office at all levels
Higher pay - though not yet equal to a males
Title IX

We are all responsible for our families well-being, and the sharing - though not yet equal - of home responsibilities is a very good thing. I'd rather spend my energy fighting Cargill et all. Erin Brockovich is one of my heroes, because she chooses to fight the good fight. Women are powerhouses in every arena, and yes, the Women's Movement is the reason we've made important gains.

The 50's was a time of sexism, racism, classicism and generally very bad for women. The romance of it all is in hindsight, cherry picking the cute and fun parts. Do you seriously want to go back to a time when women had to have their husband's permission to get contraception???

SRP
5-11-11, 8:42am
I don't think our problems can be totally blamed on the Boomers. I think they are just symptoms of an ever-changing society. Maybe the process was accelerated because there are so many Boomers to work on the changes. Maybe? But think of the changes we're seeing today - for example, how so many people are wrapped up in technology (cell phones, texting, etc.) at the expense of true personal relationships, that sort of thing.

I don't know why we continue to do this to ourselves, but it seems neverending. I think it's the classic situation of "newer doesn't always mean better." But people continue to think it does.

ApatheticNoMore
5-11-11, 9:48am
There's probably some truth to it, less breastfeeding and so on has I think been linked to obesity. I know not all moms are physically capable of breastfeeding even if they have the time so you do the best you can (the problem is the formula companies are also not interesting in really maximizing the health of their product either).

Have you ever seen mom's complain, often repetitively, about how much they miss their kids (at least this tends to happen with first borns) and wish they could stay home with their kids instead of having to go to work again. And I always wonder ok, why don't you JUST DO IT? I mean perhaps the complaints are some kind of psychological game and not even genuine and they really secretly get a lot out of working and don't really want to give it up. But I sometimes do wonder, doesn't you husband bring home any money, couldn't you do it if you really wanted to? Maybe just the first couple of years of your kids life and then go back to work? Frankly this childfree by choice person is TIRED of hearing you complain about this! :)

This isn't boomers by the way but people closer to my age (generation X and Y) who have young kids now. I don't think a mom being away from a kid much of the first few years of their life will ever be natural, I realize the larger problem is the current economic system, very little flexibility for part time work, time off, companies demanding much more than 40 hour weeks etc.

reader99
5-11-11, 9:50am
If put it in terms of both parents working instead of focussing on moms it would be less divisive. I do in fact think that when both parents work full time it is a lot harder to have the time to make a fresh nutritious dinner. One of my cousins fed her kids on fast food picked up on the way home from work and day care, and their health has suffered. Had there been a parent home full or part time, someone would have had the time and energy to make a real meal.

Mrs-M
5-11-11, 10:04am
Originally posted by Catherine.
One or two (definitely outliers, but...) blamed the Women's Movement because women were out of the home unable to provide balanced, healthy meals to their families.This really rings the bell for me. Call me an outlier too, but I tend to agree with that. I see so many imbalances and deficiencies in families of today I never seen a generation ago. (Entire family units seldom sitting down together to eat, everyone on the fly chasing a buck, no one taking the time to take care of themselves, and the list goes on and on). The way I see it, society (today) is bent on destruction, and so far, they're winning! Look how few people work hard nowadays as compared to a generation or two ago. To back up my statement, DH and I talk about it all the time, how we see few people out in their yards working and doing things. It's quite literally nonexistent.

A generation or two ago the woman of the house took pride in her family, her home, and most important of all, in herself. You didn't see her gallivanting around town in a pair of old ratty sweatpants pulled up the crack of their butts like you see women gallivanting around today. I see the downfall of society today (in the way of poor and failing health) a result of excess. No one is happy anymore with just the basics, it all has to revolve around extremes instead. All the homes where kids are fending for themselves tells a perfect tale of such. I know it because my kids tell me...


Originally posted by Redfox.
Do you seriously want to go back to a time when women had to have their husband's permission to get contraception??? Maybe- maybe not, but I do believe there's a lot to be said about how things were back in the 50's (even 60's and 70's). Marriages (back then) weren't falling apart like you see them falling apart today all because someone got their little nose out of joint over something or another, and you didn't see kids so animal like back then either as compared to what we're seeing today. Back then a woman had her place and it was all hers, and it showed. Take a look at how presentable and classy women were back then. (Nails manicured and painted, hair perfectly styled, clean fresh dress attire- even around the house, and a walk that suggested confidence, style, and class). Sure, we can surely find all sorts of inadequacies and faults with any generation before us, but if one wants to take the time to delve into finding the better and the good back then, one doesn't have to delve very far. IMO, our modern day generation of today has nothing on the generation before it, never mind two generations ago. As the saying goes, "we're the product of our own making".

razz
5-11-11, 10:17am
Lordy the loads of guilt! Do you honestly think that when we were more agrarian that women had all the times in the world to make home-based nutiritious meals plus producing multiple children, making the preserves from the garden after planting and hoeing it all summer plus making making clothes for the family and washing wool and doing the laundry and.... they had lots of help from several generations living in the same home. Nuclear families changed the options.

This is not about boomers or any other age but about choices. Did I stay home with my kids on a limited budget but able to so because DH was earning a steady income? Yes. Is employment reliable for one partner today? No. Do we need all the electronic junk and annual vacations, cars, toys etc? If we have a choice between doing without as SLers often choose to do to ensure more family time, is there much more support for this lifestyle now than when I was home with a young family? No.

The expectations by society have changed and we mostly have bought into these expectations often borrowing money in order to fulfil them.
I am appalled to hear of teens changing clothes three or more times a day and throwing each outfit into the wash for mom to clean and put away. The sense of entitlement is unbelievable by all generations. Older adults expect to have top of the line medical care with joints replaced at will, families expect annual vacations and large homes for social or Christmas/Thanksgiving get-togethers, teens expect enough money to spend time regularly at the mall with friends, adults expect to consume drugs (alcohol, MJ, etc) with no thought of cost or consequence. Imagine having a graduation ceremony for children moving from kindergarten into Gr 1 as is routine now. this is crazy.

It is much easier to blame the women for not staying at home than changing our expectations to more realistic and affordable ones.

Jemima
5-11-11, 10:28am
We live in a world that is driven by money, not Boomers, and are daily brainwashed by the mass media that we need more and more material things, whatever the cost. Thanks to all of these artificial needs, it is now financially very difficult for a mother or father to stay home with the kids and live decently on the income of the working parent. We are suckers for anything that promises to "save" time, whether a newer, faster car with bells and whistles or nutritionally deficient food, never mind that we have to keep working to pay for it.

I'm divorced with no kids, or even nieces or nephews (only child, here), but my job absolutely drains me with a three hour round-trip commute on crowded expressways, many mindless coworkers, and a job that often seems like busywork. I have to have a car to get here and even though it was paid off long ago, the maintenance comes to several thousand a year, not to mention hours of waiting at the Honda dealership. I've been working on voluntary simplicity for sixteen years and I'm not there yet. Once entered in the rat race, it is difficult to jump off the track and go for freedom.

ApatheticNoMore
5-11-11, 10:31am
I don't know I look back through the generations and merely see a legacy of pain. My mom grew up in the 50s but was somehow scared and scarred by her upbringing in ways I'll never fully understand. It may have had to do with being the daughter of a preacher man (talk about a load of guilt trips). My mom wanted to be a career woman and deeply resented us kids for getting in the way of it. Even though she could have done both since this was the 80s or so by then. Nowdays, I see moms complaining about "having" to go to work and not being able to stay home with the kids. My grandmother seemed the most happy one, she had both kids, and higher education, and a part-time job (subbing and teaching part time non-college adult classes - woman's work to be sure, but good work nontheless).

herbgeek
5-11-11, 12:05pm
Marriages likely were not falling apart, because women had no other options. What would you do in an unhappy marriage, or one where your husband was cheating on you if you had no skills to support yourself and wages for women were lower because of the assumption that they weren't the primary breadwinner.

I wouldn't be so quick to idealize the life of the 50's/60's housewife. I think there was a lot of desperation, particularly for talented women who had much to offer, but a society who thought she should be at home and not contributing in a larger way.

Alan
5-11-11, 12:32pm
To me, the only downside to being a boomer is seeing a society that no longer places as much emphasis on family as they once did. The women's movement is a part of that. What's good for an individual is often bad for the group.

puglogic
5-11-11, 12:36pm
Marriages likely were not falling apart, because women had no other options. What would you do in an unhappy marriage, or one where your husband was cheating on you if you had no skills to support yourself and wages for women were lower because of the assumption that they weren't the primary breadwinner.

I wouldn't be so quick to idealize the life of the 50's/60's housewife. I think there was a lot of desperation, particularly for talented women who had much to offer, but a society who thought she should be at home and not contributing in a larger way.

+1

I have no illusions that the lives of women in generations before my own were like Leave It To Beaver. That too was the mass media trying to tell you what life EVERYWHERE was like, all middle class, wearing pearls to dinner, meeting your husband at the door with a martini. Though it was real life for some women, it was just an unattainable fantasy for many, many more.

But even now the mass media tells you what life everywhere should be like. Automated everything, "retail therapy" to the tune of hundreds a month, a thousand "must have" electronic gadgets like iPads and PDAs, convenience foods so no one has to spend time in the kitchen (the one with the granite countertops and the copper hood over the range they use once a week), $5,000.00+ vacations to Disneyland every year, a new car for Christmas with a big red bow tied around it, childless couples 'needing' a four-bedroom house......

So easy to blame all our society's ills on the Women's Movement instead of on rampant consumerism. Indeed, back then, a women knew her place: Do as I say, raise my kids for me while I read the paper, stay in the kitchen and don't even think about pressing charges against your husband for rape or domestic violence.

No thanks.

JaneV2.0
5-11-11, 12:59pm
I'm as healthy as my parents (and built exactly like my mother and a number of aunts and great-aunts), I wouldn't have been a housewife if you had put a gun to my head, and--all things considered--I am very happy living life in the here and now. I am endlessly grateful to feminists who worked hard to afford me the right to support myself in any one of an infinite number of ways. (And I live in what Zillow likes to call a four-bedroom house, though I beg to differ.)

ETA: the only downside I can see to being a boomer is that I'm getting old, dammit. Otherwise, its all good.

Gardenarian
5-11-11, 2:00pm
Feminism is not to blame for the rise in consumer culture, or the increased working hours of Americans. My parents (and their parents) did not have idyllic marriages, consistently happy family life, or particularly great health. My grandmother had 11 children and, as her husband died promptly after the birth of #11, tried to support them by being a seamstress. The grandmother on my other side died of scarlet fever when she was 30. Both my parents suffered from being long-time heavy smokers.

People may be fatter and less fit today, but life expectancy has increased. It is the availability of cheap and continuous entertainment (TV, internet) and cheap and non-nutritive food (continually advertised on said entertainment) that has led to the decline in family life.

Corporations, media, etc. can all take some blame for this, but that doesn't mean we have no personal choices. I'm on the boomer cusp (born 1958) and very thankful for all the women's movement has brought us. Far more women breastfeed today than in the 1950s or 60s. We have children by choice, not chance. I work and raise a child, because that is what I want to do.

Yes, it seems more difficult today to raise a family on one salary, but is feminism to blame? I think it's way more complicated than that.

Oceanic
5-11-11, 2:05pm
Careful of those rose-coloured glasses:

http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/historyonline/familyhistory.cfm

chanterelle
5-11-11, 2:36pm
As I remember, long before women became 'liberated' we had the the 1950's where we saw the advent of frozen TV dinners, canned ravioli and spaghetti o's, toxic, sugar coated breakfast cereal, Cool Aide and the Twinkie, just to name a few of the commercial, health impairing garbage that was being past off as the modern , new American fare being rammed at the post war consumer.
When my mother went to work in the late 50's we ate much better food and meals because we could actually afford food...imagine that.Our family was not unique in this either.

I'm starting to get a bit peeved at the increasing spate of articles blaming boomers and those uppity womens libbers for the end of life as we know it.
I would like to see real statistics, if they exist, not just fuzzy, warm memories to back up all these claims that society really looked like a television show version of family life before 1968 hit.
I wonder, if we weren't fighting 2, no wait, it's now 3 wars, supporting more than 100 overseas military bases, giving billions to gevernments in the mid east and spending more than 53% of our national budget for the military would we be seeing these sly kind of articles.
If we actually were using our tax money for the taxpayers ,would we still be seeing this need to blame boomers for every fault.
Boomers are looking for jobs, health care and the way of life they were told they were working for.... they are being demonized for wanting and living what they were told was the American way of life.
Boomers are not The Devil, they just bought the lie they were being sold by business, industry and the economists.

JaneV2.0
5-11-11, 3:09pm
When I bought my first place in 1977, women buying real estate on their own was such a rare occurrence that I was literally shown off around the office of my lender. A co-worker of mine was denied a loan unless her father (or some other man, presumably) would co-sign it. On the other hand, Big Insurance hadn't yet destroyed affordable health care, and anyone who wanted to work could find a job. You didn't have to go into debt to get a degree, and prospective employers were willing to actually provide on the job training. Women getting basic civil rights didn't lead to offshoring jobs and busting unions. Apples and oranges. And yes--if you can't support yourself you're more likely to stay in a miserable marriage than if you can.

Parenthetically, the seventies ushered in a climate wherein civil rights of women and minorities were addressed, leading--I believe--to the eventual inclusion (delayed though it was) of GLBT individuals in the discussion. As much as I admire Dwight Eisenhower and his policies, I wouldn't go back for a minute.

Juds
5-11-11, 6:30pm
Interesting and all that, but, seriously, there is not any downside to being a Boomer. We freaking rock!

Tenngal
5-11-11, 7:05pm
I remember, in the late 70's, applying for a loan for a new car and the loan officer wanted my husband to sign.......I left and went elsewhere. Remember thinking how it was such bad business on his part. I was in my early twenties and had a very good job, oh well. Just another thought, do you guys remember how we used to call the parents on "pay phones". I knew where everyone was located in town.

redfox
5-11-11, 8:17pm
Here is what most of the last century had for women:

Being beaten by your husband was legal.
Being raped by your husband was legal.
Rape was believed to be only by strangers; often if there were no witnesses, no prosecution. If the woman didn't "fight hard enough" or "cry on the stand", she wasn't really raped.
Children could be beaten by their parents with near impunity.
Divorce was always with fault; women lost their children if the husband decided to take them, in the majority of those cases.
Women who did divorce were plunged into poverty, and many stayed there for the rest of their lives.
Women could not get their name changed EVEN AFTER DIVORCE without their husbands - or ex-hubands permission.
Owning property was uncommon until the 70's.
Women lost their names in marriage: Mr. & Mrs. William Smith???
Lesbians were invisible and illegal - many women went to jail for being a lesbian.
Women died from illegal abortions.

Working class women didn't have the ability to be the coiffed, stay-at-home moms that their middle class counterparts did. Their lives were really hard; working at a low wage job, and then the Second Shift came along. The stories written about the double load that these women carried is heartbreaking.

My Mother was a classic bootstrap struggling to make it to middle class housewife. She was beyond miserable trying to keep up appearances of being always calm, well-dressed, with perfect little children that performed the role so well. The photos of our family in the early years look like Leave it to Beaver - and she controlled things so tightly to prove that she was the ideal wife & mother that we all ended up in therapy. It still makes me nauseous to look at the family movies from back then. She would have left my verbally abusive father if she could have, but she knew she was stuck in her marriage.

When she went back to work in 1972, he took her paychecks away from her; he felt emasculated - that eventually changed. When The Feminine Mystique was published in 1963, she told me later that she read it and sobbed uncontrollably for days; it was describing her miserable, empty life. She spent the next two decades rebuilding her life and her psyche so that she could actually have a life. I am VERY proud of her - she was my first feminist role model, and I am a competent human being because of her efforts to pull herself out of gender based soul annihilation.

Gender based roles are oppressive. I view the nostalgia for these ways in the same light that I view nostalgia about race-based slavery.

loosechickens
5-11-11, 9:11pm
When we're feeling nostalgic for the 50's.......(nostalgia always looks back at 'times that never were', as we tend to airbrush out all the bad stuff and remember only the good), we should remember that even in the idyllic middle class suburbs, many of a whole generation of women had to be sedated with Valium, Miltown and then Librium to maintain that Stepford Wife facade.

redfox
5-11-11, 10:24pm
When we're feeling nostalgic for the 50's.......(nostalgia always looks back at 'times that never were', as we tend to airbrush out all the bad stuff and remember only the good), we should remember that even in the idyllic middle class suburbs, many of a whole generation of women had to be sedated with Valium, Miltown and then Librium to maintain that Stepford Wife facade.

Made for good trashy novels & movies...

Tenngal
5-12-11, 5:11am
one of the items mentioned brought back memories of one of my co-workers story. He was 3 yrs old when his dad decided that family life was not for him. There were 6 children, mother worked in a sewing factory during the day and took in neighbors laundry to try and make ends meet. They lived in a very poor part of town and there were no services available to track fathers who would not pay child support. He just left town and was off the hook. It really had an effect on the person who told me this story, he was always trying to make extra money, even though he had a good salary, he could just never feel secure because of his childhood.

benhyr
5-12-11, 5:18am
When I think about obesity in America, I think more about the rise of convenience food in the 50's but, especially, the changes to the farm bill under Butz (secretary of ag under Nixon) in the 70's. Personally, this 33 year old dude is glad of the fact that his wife can and has worked in fields that don't see enough females (technology) and can and has commanded a salary to go with it.

And what's the deal with needing a SAHM to oversee all the cooking to ensure people are eating well? Granted, we don't have kids, but I work and I do all of the cooking (three squares a day for both of us). There are lots of time-involved things to running a house and a stay at home parent would certainly be nice, but a gender requirement for that role seems awful misogynistic.

madgeylou
5-12-11, 6:00am
hahah, see i thought the downside of being a boomer was that you have to be a boomer!

(just kidding, gen x loves nothing more than busting on boomers.)

there have been so many changes in the way we at over the last several decades that it seems silly to pin it all on the women's movement.

at the same time, since the 60s, there *has* been a noticeable decline in the ability of families to stay together. but that doesn't mean that the women's movement failed -- on the contrary, it empowered women (and men) to move on from a patriarchal system that depended on the oppression of women. we are still figuring out how to make families work without relying on the wife's selflessness (literally) and we don't have it all sorted but we are making strides.

to follow up on redfox's slavery analogy, i see it very similarly to the economy of the south after the emancipation proclamation. free/oppressed labor was the foundation of that way of life, and it took the south some time to figure out how to function without it. and now, 150 years later, there is still fallout and tension mixed in with all the progress. evolution is messy!

we're in a similar position with the nuclear family idea, which also depended on free/oppressed labor to function. without the role of "the wife" to take care of everything, thngs look different. however i have no doubt that for the vast majority of western women, life is far better now than it was before the women's movement happened. our new normal is emerging, and it's far more equitable than any arrangement that came before it (at least in recent history).

catherine
5-12-11, 8:00am
I'm not at ALL suggesting that the Women's Movement was a bad thing--not at all. Both my mother and MIL had a very difficult time having to fend for themselves when my father and FIL died prematurely in their 40s. My mother had 4 kids to raise, and my MIL had 2. My mother's best shot at employment was bookkeeping at minimum wage, so she wound up remarrying so she'd have someone to provide for her and her family.

My MIL had to learn to drive and get a minimum wage job as clerk in Macy's. Thank God her mother and father were already living with her, so she was able to keep the house.

So, the fact that my daughter finds it incredible that I had to learn to type to get my foot in the door for a good job AFTER I graduated from college is the upside of the whole era... but with every upside, there is a price to pay. My question is--what was the price?

I mentioned the two doctors who were blatant about blaming the Women's Movement, but ALL of the doctors blamed the "grab and go" lifestyle, as some of you have pointed out is really the problem--not just women entering the workforce.

I think the price, or unintended consequence of opportunity for all is that those who needed more meaning than they were finding in their families drove the rest of us to question the meaning of our families, too--and caused us to play around a little with all the different options out there. So while we all wanted the True North of our lives to be our relationships, I really believe that we somehow shifted the compass while we were out there in the sandbox reveling in the myriad of lifestyle options we had in front of us.

I think while we expected these opportunities to be the car driving us to our destination, they became the destination.

I, personally, am not nostalgic for the 50s. I grew up in an alcoholic home, saw how hard life was for my mother, and as a result, I value my independence highly. I don't like watching old movies, and I used to LOVE my Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall album, but recently it just makes me depressed.

BUT, I think we need to (well, maybe not US on this forum--OUR values are intact LOL) see the destruction that moving the needle has caused in terms of overconsumption, attitudes of entitlement, and sacrificing our relationships for an ideal that's supposed to have given us a richer life, not a more superficial one.

(This next one's for you, Mrs-M): One of the memories that I do cherish are the years when I came home from school, and my mom was there, and the Platters were singing "Only You" on the hi-fi, and I'd go to my best friend's house, where her mother was sitting at the sewing machine, propping up a Barbie doll on her pregnant belly, making her youngest daughter an outfit for the doll. Yes, those WERE good times.

Mrs-M
5-12-11, 8:15am
Originally posted by Catherine.
(This next one's for you, Mrs-M): One of the memories that I do cherish are the years when I came home from school, and my mom was there, and the Platters were singing "Only You" on the hi-fi, and I'd go to my best friend's house, where her mother was sitting at the sewing machine, propping up a Barbie doll on her pregnant belly, making her youngest daughter an outfit for the doll. Yes, those WERE good times.Thank you so much for thinking about me Catherine and sharing the memories! :)

KayLR
5-12-11, 8:37am
I don't have time this a.m. to look at all the posts, so forgive me if I duplicate. I think other contributing factors to the obesity issue are fear and tv. Our kids aren't encouraged to play outdoors any more because the boogey man might get them. In some areas, I suppose that's true. But not in the larger picture. I know my daughter and her young family hardly ever-- virtually never--do outside activity. She and her husband are put in an 8-hr workday, then they are hopeless couch potatoes. They only let my grandson play outdoors right in front of the house, and only if it's sunny, which is 2-1/2 mo. out of the year. I know many of their friends are the same way.

treehugger
5-12-11, 9:01am
This topic has brought up so many feelings for me, and others have mostly already said what I want to say, and way more eloquently than I could.

Three thoughts:

1) A lot of posts in this thread (and elsewhere on the board) make me sad. So many comments about, "this world today is awful; people aren't nice any more, etc. etc." Sure there are bad things and bad people. Always have been. But does that mean some people can't find any nice things about the way things are today, here and now? I know plenty of really nice, kind, thoughtful people. Always looking backwards (with rose colored glasses or not) seems to set people up to be unhappy today, and those are the people I feel sorry for.

2) I was raised by a "traditional" stay-at-home mom and I have a weight problem. I can only blame my weight problem on myself (I eat too much and I don't exercise enough). Not my upbringing. Not society. Not big corporations. Not the media.

3) I am absolutely thankful for the much-derided women's and civil rights movements for the world we all live in today.

Kara

JaneV2.0
5-12-11, 10:10am
I'm not buying into the idea that the existence of fat people is a harbinger of The End of Everything that is Right and Good, and I believe family life today is as healthy as ever, if not healthier. My gay friends can live together openly and sign up for partner benefits at work, the young families I know work and play and travel together (and they genuinely like each other!), older friends are active and engaged. Those of us who like our solitude can live alone--and not as Aunt Batty in somebody's attic, and those of us who don't have all kinds of choices from co-housing to nuclear family options. Food choices are amazing compared to what I grew up with, and most people I know cook from raw ingredients on a daily basis. I'm just not feeling the downside. Sorry.

Stella
5-12-11, 10:13am
I think both stereotypes of the past are likely off center of reality. Not everyone was a happy Leave it to Beaver family and not every woman was an enslaved, oppressed, unfulfilled housewife with a husband who beat her and cheated on her. There were happy people and unhappy people, kind people and unkind people, lucky people and unlucky people. Some things were probably better on the whole and some things were probably worse.

I think we can sometimes airbrush modern life one way or the other too, making it a festering cesspool of wrongness or a glorious shining testament to the good. It really Isn't either. Some things have improved, others have gotten worse. Sometimes we've traded one evil for another. I suspect that is pretty much the way things work.

pinkytoe
5-12-11, 11:17am
not every woman was an enslaved, oppressed, unfulfilled housewife
That's what I was thinking. My mom got her pharmacy degree in 1942, then got married and had four kids as scripted. Sadly, my father was a philanderer and they divorced but she was able to support herself as a pharmacist until she retired. I recall going to a women's lib meeting when I was 17 and it made quite the impression back then. No way was I going to stay home and have babies. For me, the big differences now aren't whether mom is home or not but just how much more stressful life has become. Everything moves much faster and choices are off the chart. All of our technology has just added more chaos to the mix. Often, dh and I arrive home tired and wish we had a wife there with a hot cooked meal. The irony is that as an older person now, I savor my weekday off when I can be domestic.

ApatheticNoMore
5-12-11, 11:37am
Something I notice these days is how into parenting fathers are. Woah, these are not the fathers we knew growing up. Those strong silent types, our fathers were "the greatest man I never knew", people with way more important things to do (like work and yes it was the income that ultimately supported us) than making spending time with kids a major priority. That was mom's job afterall, they were "her" kids, never mind that I'm quite sure that conception wasn't immaculate and yea that we were "legitimate" too :).

Square Peg
5-12-11, 12:49pm
This topic has brought up so many feelings for me, and others have mostly already said what I want to say, and way more eloquently than I could.

Three thoughts:

1) A lot of posts in this thread (and elsewhere on the board) make me sad. So many comments about, "this world today is awful; people aren't nice any more, etc. etc." Sure there are bad things and bad people. Always have been. But does that mean some people can't find any nice things about the way things are today, here and now? I know plenty of really nice, kind, thoughtful people. Always looking backwards (with rose colored glasses or not) seems to set people up to be unhappy today, and those are the people I feel sorry for.

2) I was raised by a "traditional" stay-at-home mom and I have a weight problem. I can only blame my weight problem on myself (I eat too much and I don't exercise enough). Not my upbringing. Not society. Not big corporations. Not the media.

3) I am absolutely thankful for the much-derided women's and civil rights movements for the world we all live in today.

Kara

I agree and I just started a thread about it in the Open Forum because I felt that the issue deserves its own post.

Gardenarian
5-12-11, 3:54pm
I want to add that it is possible to eat a healthy diet without a whole lot of fuss. I don't cook much, but dh and I both prepare soups, rice, beans etc. and keep lots of easily prepared foods around. (Organic fruits and veggies, yogurt, whole grains, nuts, eggs, etc.). The trick is not buying any junk. We all tend to graze, rather than have set meals. We don't sit down to dinner together everynight (dh is a performer and is not usually around evenings anyhow) but, homeschooling, we get plenty of family time.

I like the flexibility of our lives.

setis
5-12-11, 10:01pm
I don 't know about most of what was posted. I personally believe that it is the result of all the growth hormones that they put in our food. Grow it faster,heavier.They cannot tell me that there is not a residual effect from these chemicals. Some people have the metrobolic system to process thus thin, those of us that system has shut down and cannot process it. I also believe that it is also the reason more girls are going into puberty so young .

setis
5-12-11, 10:13pm
The Womens movement started a long time before us boomers. The women who went into the factories during WWII.They went in support of this country and need.Most of the men were in the service.Then when the men came back it was hard for most of them to jump back into where they left off. You know before WWII there were very few americans a had a cultivated lawn.

Zoebird
5-12-11, 10:53pm
for me, it's the boomer's self aggrandising that makes me nuts. LOL First, they did everything good to make the world good and shouldn't all of us younger and older be oh-so-f'ing-grateful and then, now, they are the cause of all the world's ills and they are oh-so-sorry for it, please pity us!

Goobers. :D

redfox
5-13-11, 12:25am
for me, it's the boomer's self aggrandising that makes me nuts. LOL First, they did everything good to make the world good and shouldn't all of us younger and older be oh-so-f'ing-grateful and then, now, they are the cause of all the world's ills and they are oh-so-sorry for it, please pity us!

Goobers. :D

Since their are 77 million of us, I rather suspect you'll meet every possible attitude in someone born within this cluster.

catherine
5-13-11, 4:58am
I don 't know about most of what was posted. I personally believe that it is the result of all the growth hormones that they put in our food. Grow it faster,heavier.They cannot tell me that there is not a residual effect from these chemicals. Some people have the metrobolic system to process thus thin, those of us that system has shut down and cannot process it. I also believe that it is also the reason more girls are going into puberty so young .

I agree. I also have a suspicion that it might be to blame for a lot of the premature male pattern baldness we seem to be seeing these days (I think the shaved head trend might be to deflect what nature might already be doing!). I see so many young men looking like Prince William with a bit of a baldy spot and receding hairline--and that includes my own sons. Maybe I'm off the wall, but just a thought....

Zoebird
5-13-11, 5:30am
plastics also play a huge role in the hormonal inhibiting process -- particularly testosterone. and there are a lot of plastics these days.

Stella
5-13-11, 6:27am
I agree about the hormones. TMI, I know but I got my first period at 9 years old and I wasn't the only one in my class. In fact the one girl who got her period before me has already died of cancer.

I think industrialism deserves some blame for a lot of our current problems. Don't get me wrong, agrarian society had problems too and industrialism brought some improvements, but I think technology exists now that can give people options for solving those problems. We'll probably Cause new ones in the process, but that's how it goes.

My one big issue with this thread and with attitudes I have encountered from a few boomer women is that the changes that were made are so sacred that questioning them in any capacity is akin to heresy. Today's revolutionaries are tomorrow's conservatives are tomorrow's conservatives and all that.

There seems to be fear that admitting that there may have been unintended consequences (as there are with any changes) will somehow lead to women being put in cages and used for slave labor. I think that examining the unintended consequences is about adjustment. When I rearrange furniture , for example, I usually end up tweaking it a few weeks later when I have seen how it affects the
daily flow. I don't move it back to the way it was before because if that had been working I wouldn't have bothered to change it in the first place.

Bronxboy
5-13-11, 9:37am
I agree. I also have a suspicion that it might be to blame for a lot of the premature male pattern baldness we seem to be seeing these days (I think the shaved head trend might be to deflect what nature might already be doing!). I see so many young men looking like Prince William with a bit of a baldy spot and receding hairline--and that includes my own sons. Maybe I'm off the wall, but just a thought....
You may well be on to something. In my 20s, I remember everybody razzing the one guy in our group of 15 or 20 from the neighborhood who started balding young. He took it well. Now, it seems terribly common.

I was quite gray by 30, but my hairline only started receding in my late 40s. I seem to be on pace for a bald spot by 60, though my brother has the beginnings of one in his late 40s.

Gingerella72
5-13-11, 12:06pm
Here is what most of the last century had for women:

Being beaten by your husband was legal.
Being raped by your husband was legal.
Rape was believed to be only by strangers; often if there were no witnesses, no prosecution. If the woman didn't "fight hard enough" or "cry on the stand", she wasn't really raped.
Children could be beaten by their parents with near impunity.
Divorce was always with fault; women lost their children if the husband decided to take them, in the majority of those cases.
Women who did divorce were plunged into poverty, and many stayed there for the rest of their lives.
Women could not get their name changed EVEN AFTER DIVORCE without their husbands - or ex-hubands permission.
Owning property was uncommon until the 70's.
Women lost their names in marriage: Mr. & Mrs. William Smith???
Lesbians were invisible and illegal - many women went to jail for being a lesbian.
Women died from illegal abortions.

Working class women didn't have the ability to be the coiffed, stay-at-home moms that their middle class counterparts did. Their lives were really hard; working at a low wage job, and then the Second Shift came along. The stories written about the double load that these women carried is heartbreaking.

My Mother was a classic bootstrap struggling to make it to middle class housewife. She was beyond miserable trying to keep up appearances of being always calm, well-dressed, with perfect little children that performed the role so well. The photos of our family in the early years look like Leave it to Beaver - and she controlled things so tightly to prove that she was the ideal wife & mother that we all ended up in therapy. It still makes me nauseous to look at the family movies from back then. She would have left my verbally abusive father if she could have, but she knew she was stuck in her marriage.

When she went back to work in 1972, he took her paychecks away from her; he felt emasculated - that eventually changed. When The Feminine Mystique was published in 1963, she told me later that she read it and sobbed uncontrollably for days; it was describing her miserable, empty life. She spent the next two decades rebuilding her life and her psyche so that she could actually have a life. I am VERY proud of her - she was my first feminist role model, and I am a competent human being because of her efforts to pull herself out of gender based soul annihilation.

Gender based roles are oppressive. I view the nostalgia for these ways in the same light that I view nostalgia about race-based slavery.

Sorry, I have to take offense here.

While you warn against looking at the past with rose colored glasses, I must warn you about looking at the past from the opposite extreme....would that be grey colored glasses?

The truth is, people back then really weren't all that different than we are today. Sure, there were many tyrannical men who treated their wives and families in such fashion, and there were many unhappy women. But, there were just as many men who treated their wives with love and respect and as true partners and never abused their kids.

Just like today there are men who abuse their wives and there are men who treat their wives very well. There is no black or white here. It wasn't "It was all like Leave it to Beaver!" or "No, it was all racist-classist-female slavery!"

I know many now-older women who were young housewives in that era who loved staying home and caring for their homes and families. One of them is my mother who was married in 1952. I'm sorry your own mother and family went through tough times with a bad spouse, but families like that were not the rule, nor the exception to the rule. There were no rules, because just like today, there were families who ranged all across the good-bad spectrum.

If my husband was making the kind of money that would support us without me working I would be a stay at home wife in a heartbeat. Many women in the 50's were perfectly content with their place, and no, it wasn't because they were oppressed and "kept down by the man." Sure there were women who felt oppressed and wanted the chance to make a career outside the home. Many did not want that, just like many women today don't want a career outside the home.

The problem is that while the women's movement and equal rights did provide many good and needed benefits to women across the spectrum, it also has a downside, and that is: while it gave women the chance to forge careers never dreamed of for women in the past, it simultaneously took away the choice of being a homemaker away from women. How many women today are ridiculed and looked down on if they choose to be a homemaker? How many of them are told that they are worth nothing unless they're on the rat-race career-climbing ladder outside the home and bringing home a good salary? How many of them are told that the reason they don't want to work must be because they're stupid or lazy? How many of them are told that they are wasting their intelligence and education if they choose the home over a career? Now THAT is bigotry and prejudice, my friend.

Please don't paint the past prior to 1980 in a light that assumes every women felt abused and oppressed, every man was a dick, and every family lived in a state of terror under the man of the house because it simply wasn't that way for everyone. By doing so you're falling into the same trap as others who only look through those rose colored glasses. Sure there was a lotta bad, but there was a lotta good too.

--Betsy, proud to be Mrs. Steven Warren

libby
5-13-11, 12:21pm
Excellent post Gingerella72! I totally agree with you.

Alan
5-13-11, 12:28pm
Sorry, I have to take offense here.....

....Please don't paint the past prior to 1980 in a light that assumes every women felt abused and oppressed, every man was a dick, and every family lived in a state of terror under the man of the house because it simply wasn't that way for everyone. By doing so you're falling into the same trap as others who only look through those rose colored glasses. Sure there was a lotta bad, but there was a lotta good too.

--Betsy, proud to be Mrs. Steven Warren

Thank you so much for saying that. I wanted to say something similiar but as I was reminded recently by several posters, I'm a man and not entitled to opinions.

ApatheticNoMore
5-13-11, 1:03pm
How many of them are told that they are worth nothing unless they're on the rat-race career-climbing ladder outside the home and bringing home a good salary? How many of them are told that the reason they don't want to work must be because they're stupid or lazy?

What about men who are told this? What if a man would rather stay home with the kids or would rather do a low paying job than a rat race career?

catherine
5-13-11, 1:13pm
Sorry, I have to take offense here.

While you warn against looking at the past with rose colored glasses, I must warn you about looking at the past from the opposite extreme....would that be grey colored glasses?


The problem is that while the women's movement and equal rights did provide many good and needed benefits to women across the spectrum, it also has a downside, and that is: while it gave women the chance to forge careers never dreamed of for women in the past, it simultaneously took away the choice of being a homemaker away from women. How many women today are ridiculed and looked down on if they choose to be a homemaker? How many of them are told that they are worth nothing unless they're on the rat-race career-climbing ladder outside the home and bringing home a good salary? How many of them are told that the reason they don't want to work must be because they're stupid or lazy? How many of them are told that they are wasting their intelligence and education if they choose the home over a career? Now THAT is bigotry and prejudice, my friend.

--Betsy, proud to be Mrs. Steven Warren

Exactly my point: Lots of good has happened, but you take the bad with the good, and that's the downside of the Boomer era. Inflated cost of living because the economy is based on a two-income household, so you have to be a magician to make the choice to stay home, and when you do make that choice, your social life is nil--because everyone else is out there working. So your community is wrapped up in reality shows like Real Housewives of Whatever, instead of being able to socialize with real Real Housewives in your very own neighborhood.

treehugger
5-13-11, 1:28pm
I don't think this needs to be an olden days vs. modern life competition; or an us against them, all or nothing sort of discussion. Of course some people were happy "back then." Just like some people are happy now. I hope we are all smart enough and thoughtful enough to see nuances and grey areas. I think one thing we can all agree on is that the ills of modern society have many causes. No one time period, generation, race, sex, species can be blamed for it.

The whole point of my first post was that I try to recognize the good things about modern life, because, well, that's when I am living my life. And it's my only life, so yay, I'm glad to be alive now. :) So, yeah, it makes me a bit sad when I hear people talking about how there's nothing positive about society today. But don't worry; I'll get over it and go back to living my life. Today.

Kara

JaneV2.0
5-13-11, 1:38pm
...
Many women in the 50's were perfectly content with their place, and no, it wasn't because they were oppressed and "kept down by the man." ...

"Many African-Americans in the 50's were perfectly content with their place..."

Sounds terrible to today's ears, doesn't it? But I've actually heard and read words to that effect. That's how jarring "perfectly content with their place" sounds to me.

As far as I know, my mother was happy to be a housewife; I wouldn't have been. I don't think housewives are an endangered species--my oldest friend is one, and I've known many others. I treasure having had the choice.

And I think middle-class financial struggles can be linked more to decades of union busting and off-shored jobs than to women having comprehensive civil rights. JMO.

As far as men here--or anywhere--not having a voice? :laff:

ApatheticNoMore
5-13-11, 1:44pm
I think the main problem these days (besides environmental problems and the like), is that the economy being what it is, especially in this recession, but really for at least a decade or two, has driven most everyone at least a little batty, even those who are doing ok all things considered.

Job instability and unemployment (not being stuck in the same job all your life has it's plusses as well, but they aren't such great plusses when unemployment is this high), no guarantee of education leading to jobs, high stress jobs and jobs requiring longer and longer hours, deliberately induced financial scams and chaos that unfortunately some people fall into (like some of the housing nonsense), high costs of basic necessities (health care, shelter) etc..

Yea I guess the food is also *on average* more junky these days and this probably does it's fair share of damage to people (makes them sick, stresses their bodies in addition to the stress of modern life etc.). There is lack of community and so on but actually I think that is beginning to IMPROVE, and may eventually be better than it has been in ages, if current trends continue.

Gingerella72
5-13-11, 2:02pm
What about men who are told this? What if a man would rather stay home with the kids or would rather do a low paying job than a rat race career?

If that is the choice that both partners agree on, then that should be just as valid of choice as well. What works for some won't work for others, obviously.

Gingerella72
5-13-11, 2:08pm
I agree that our problems today with obesity, health, economy, etc. can't be pinned down on any one cause. It was a combination of several different forces happening over time. That's what makes it so hard to fix the problems, because major changes need to be made in so many areas, but no one can always agree on what those changes need to be or what those areas are.

pinkytoe
5-13-11, 2:31pm
I concur that many women were very content with their housewife days back in the 50s. They had much stronger family and community support back then though. I have very fond memories of visiting various family members, all housewives, who delighted in cooking and making home their haven.

rodeosweetheart
5-13-11, 2:55pm
I also have lots of family pictures that indicate obesity was every bit as much of an issue back in the 50's, no doubt to my family's excellent Southern cooking.

JaneV2.0
5-13-11, 3:43pm
Not to mention the strong role genes play in body shape, size, and fat deposition patterns. Like I said, I'm built just like my relatives from generations back. What's new is all the panic, hand-wringing, medicalization, and pontificating.

redfox
5-13-11, 11:29pm
http://www.stephaniecoontz.com/books/thewayweneverwere/

About The Way We Never Were
This myth-shattering examination of two centuries of American family life banishes the misconceptions about the past that cloud current debate about "family values." "Leave It to Beaver" was not a documentary, Stephanie Coontz points out; neither the 1950s nor any other moment from our past presents workable models of how to conduct our personal lives today. Without minimizing the serious new problems in American families, Coontz warns that a consoling nostalgia for a largely mythical past of "traditional values" is a trap that can only cripple our capacity to solve today's problems. From "a man's home was his castle" to "traditional families never asked for a handout," this provocative book explodes cherished illusions about the past. Organized around a series of myths and half-truths that burden modern families, the book sheds new light on such contemporary concerns as parenting, privacy, love, the division of labor along gender lines, the black family, feminism, and sexual practice. Fascinating facts abound: In the nineteenth century, the age of sexual consent in some states was nine or ten, and alcoholism and drug abuse were more rampant than today ... Teenage childbearing peaked in the fabulous family-oriented 1950s ... Marriages in pioneer days lasted a shorter time than they do now. Placing current family dilemmas in the context of far-reaching economic, political, and demographic changes, The Way We Never Were shows that people have not suddenly and inexplicably "gone bad" and points to ways that we can help families do better. Seeing our own family pains as part of a larger social predicament means that we can stop the cycle of guilt or blame and face the real issues constructively, Coontz writes. The historical evidence reveals that families have always been in flux and often in crisis, and that families have been most successful wherever they have built meaningful networks beyond their own boundaries. --The Publisher.

I posted this so that a scholarly voice could be introduced. The majority of western civilization, including the 50's, was hell on women generally, and while there were no doubt some women who loved being subsumed into a role of free labor and utter economic dependence with no legal rights, the data tells a different story. The nice marriage is always a good place to be no matter what age one lives in.

'Wife' as an unpaid job description, much less a total identity, is very limiting and and stifling, not to mention the retirement and social security savings accounts suck. Sure, women are still being battered and raped. Now, however, there are legal remedies, so they have a chance to get it stopped before they lose their lives, and before their children are devastated.

I thank goodness every day for the Women's movements, which of course started in this country in 1848 at Seneca Falls, New York. We're in the Third Wave of this revolution in this country, and I'm a proud Second Wave feminist. My husband is a Third Wave feminist, being younger than I.

Here is a review of Coontz's sequel, The Way We Really Are:

The latest book by Coontz, author of The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap (1992), focuses on the anxieties of contemporary American women and men about their lives, work, and families, and addresses these fears in the context of more accurate historical data and the most recent sociological research. What people really miss about the so-called Golden Age of the 1950s, Coontz points out, is an economy that supported unprecedented growth in real wages. We now tend to blame the instability of families for economic disruptions, when in fact economic dislocations have undermined our families. Furthermore, the prominence of the single-breadwinner, middle-class family so emblematic of post WWII prosperity was actually a short-term anomaly in the history of family structure. The changes we have experienced since the 1970s could even be said to represent a revival of the role of women as family co-provider, a pattern that not only served us well in pre-industrial times, but may be better suited to the new post-industrial economy. The burden of housework and child care falling almost exclusively on women has been the primary source of recent marital conflict and family stress, and Coontz points out that the demands of work schedules and the behavior of most men have yet to acknowledge the inability of working women to carry all the weight at home.

So, guys, are you willing and happy to go by Mr. Betsy Johnson?

Anne Lee
5-14-11, 4:05am
I don't think anyone wants to go back, Redfox. Especially those like me who don't understand the Mr. Betsy Johnson reference. That the economic/political system that institutionalized inequality was inherently injust regardless of people's individual experiences does have some validity. But we have to realize that in changing that, new systems were set up that also created injustices, particularly for the poor (housing and health care being chief among them), as well as for the planet (a huge leap in consumerism.)

Stella
5-14-11, 9:13am
I don't think anyone wants to go back, Redfox. Especially those like me who don't understand the Mr. Betsy Johnson reference. That the economic/political system that institutionalized inequality was inherently injust regardless of people's individual experiences does have some validity. But we have to realize that in changing that, new systems were set up that also created injustices, particularly for the poor (housing and health care being chief among them), as well as for the planet (a huge leap in consumerism.)

Well said Anne.

ApatheticNoMore
5-14-11, 9:21am
We probably need to go forward into a future where everyone has more time for their families etc. (and DINKS and singles also have more time for each other, for their leisure pursuits, for volunteering in the community, for pursing their personal hobbies, whatever, they are not lesser for not having kids on a planet that is already plenty populated).

Aka we need Take Back Your Time :). Telecommuting can help with this with older kids (noone can telecommute with a screaming baby probably). You can say staying home with a baby is terribly un-modern but look how very generous the family leave policy is in MODERN European welfare states. I think they have a very different idea about the value of a mother spending time with her baby.


posted this so that a scholarly voice could be introduced. The majority of western civilization, including the 50's, was hell on women generally, and while there were no doubt some women who loved being subsumed into a role of free labor and utter economic dependence with no legal rights, the data tells a different story. The nice marriage is always a good place to be no matter what age one lives in.

It was hell on women in abusive marriages no doubt. They didn't have as much opportunity to get out of those situations. Hell on woman generally? Well, I really don't think that's how people actually adapt to social circumstances. If being a mother is held up as the ideal there are woman who will naturally adapt very well to it (although even then not if they are in an abusive situation of course). And some who won't and long for a career. If being a modern career woman working 60+ hour weeks in a high stress job is held up to be the ideal (and believe me this was definitely the ideal at my last job and really is kind of a social ideal I think), there are women that will thrive in this and others that are like ... wait I have no time for my life and the people I care about ....

As for free labor, it all depends on the spirit and environment in which it is undertaken. If it is undertaken in a spirit of equality and mutuality then it can be great (the marketplace is not the measure of all things that matter!). If it is undertaken under hierarchy and inferiority and in some cases exploitation, then not so great. That an environment with few opportunities for women tends to strongly encourage such hierarchy, yes it does. Still much is about what goes on in any individual relationship.


The changes we have experienced since the 1970s could even be said to represent a revival of the role of women as family co-provider, a pattern that not only served us well in pre-industrial times, but may be better suited to the new post-industrial economy.

Did a woman go away from her young kids for 8 hours a day (plus commute, plus lunch hour etc.) in per-industrial times? That's how it is now. After maybe 6 months at most of leave (often less, more like 3 or 4 months) - not even enough to really breastfeed, a mother goes back to work leaving her 6 month baby to be raised by a baby sitter or childcare etc.. Now having other people play a part in raising the baby is probably not altogether unnatural, but mom being totally gone all that time from a very young kid ....

Stella
5-14-11, 10:11am
Red fox, I do agree with the point Coontz makes about pre-industrial, industrial and post- industrial society. Prior to the industrial revolution home and work were frequently the same place. The whole family worked the farm or in the family shop or business. industrialism moved the workplace far from home limiting families options. Technology has made it possible for a lot of work to once again be accomplished in the home. Telecommuting, micro businesses... Things like that. I think some of the insecurities we have right now is due to the fact that our systems are set up to solve industrial age problems in a post industrial society. Health insurance being tied to jobs is an excellent example of this. We no longer have people working 30 years for the same company. These days jobs work more like independent contracts. they last for a while until a shift occurs and the worker and business are no longer a good fit, or until fortune shifts from one business to another, or a variety of other reasons and the people and business part ways. Tying health insurance to jobs was probably reasonable when people stayed in jobs for decades, but creates insecurity and inefficient use of resources today and dissuades people who might otherwise be innovative entrepreneurs to stay in jobs they don't like for the benefits. That is just an example.

A shift towards more work (for men and women) happening in the home instead of at a far off workplace would help solve a lot of problems. It would build up community, which is a big source of security. It would allow families to spend more time together and would make schedules more flexible, making it easier to accomplish both work tasks and home tasks. Honestly when I worked in IT it was pretty much feast or famine as far as actual workload went. Sometimes I needed to put in a 50 hour week, sometimes a 10 hour week, but I had to be at work a minimum of 40 hours a week. I think with a shift to more work-from-home type scenarios there would also be a more natural shift to pay being based on the accomplishment of taste versus the number of hours put in. Most people I knew in the corporate world spent a significant amount of time, in the downtimes at least, pretending to be busy or making up dramas to fill their time. Working from home eliminates commute times, too, and allows for tasks to be completed simultaneously. I could put a chicken in the oven to roast, for example, and other than basting it once in a while, I could spend the hour it is cooking doing paid work. Cheyenne could be working on her math on Khan Academy while Bella reads a book to baby Travis, satisfying his need for attention and giving her a chance to practice her reading with a captive, non-judgmental audience while James naps or plays with his blocks. Zach could be working on the bookkeeping for his business or out on an electrical job. We'd eat together and I would go on a walk with my friend/neighbor while he watched the kids, tossed a load of laundry in to wash and played a game with the kids. When I got back I could feed the baby while the kids put laundry away and Zach worked on his bookkeeping. Everyone gets some downtime, some work time and some chore time and it flows naturally. Can you tell I've thought about this? It actually isn't too far removed from my reality either.

Stella
5-14-11, 10:13am
Apatheticnomore I didn't see your post before I wrote mine. Great post!

redfox
5-14-11, 11:23am
Stella, yes, I can tell you've thought a lot about this! And I love your analysis. We're in a time of rapidly changing dynamics on all fronts, and the smaller the social unit - families, small businesses - the bigger the the impacts of change, IMHO. The nuclear family isn't a sustainable model in my view. Too much consumption to support it. I am a communitarian in my heart, and for awhile I lived in small shared community. I miss it so much. Everyone's labor was respected, and though there were still gender based role expectations - as we don't undo that training overnight - most all labor was valued.

I've lived in a nuclear family unit for 15 years now, and most of the time I have been deeply frustrated by it all. I am childless by choice; joined Zero Population Growth at the age of 14, then with my ex - who is a woman - adopted a 2 year old in Guatemala. We "divorced", not legally of course, and sadly I did not have access to legal marriage, as I lost custody of my daughter (she's the mother of my 4 year old grandson, and a step-mom now. I'm watching her face all the same frustrations I faced, and I see again what a stupid system nuclear families are).

I partnered with a man with 2 kids 15 years ago, and helped him raise them. I devoted my peak earning years to co-parenting instead of focusing on working, though I did work, but not with the intensity I wish I had, and didn't save adequately for retirement. I regret that choice. I now have to depend upon my younger husband to help support me, which I do not like at all. If he leaves or dies, I'm screwed; by sexism, by my choices constrained within the nuclear family model, and by a capitalist society that has really misguided priorities.

I am glad the kids are out of the house. Some day I hope to live communally... I meet that need of mine by taking in friends when they are in need, and am the Crone/Elder of my group of friends, so I am actively Eldering several younger friends as they go through their mid-life crisis. In return, they help me with things I can no longer do physically. We live in the city, so we all drive to reach each other... I'm always on the lookout for a big house we can all live in together! Maybe some day... it's an interesting time to be alive.

redfox
5-14-11, 11:27am
Especially those like me who don't understand the Mr. Betsy Johnson reference.

I was referencing the comment that someone was proud to be Mrs. Steve Warren... will the men also be happy to be Mr. (Insert full female spouses name here)? Sorry it was obscure.

puglogic
5-14-11, 5:00pm
I am of the boomer generation, and probably spend 30% of my waking hours taking care of my home: Tending the garden, making meals, taking care of the animals, making beer/wine/mead/cider, putting food by, pondering healthy choices for what we eat, wear, apply to our bodies, etc.

I spend another 40% at work, and the remaining hours in self-care - exercise, yoga, education, volunteerism, etc. This pattern makes me extremely happy. In fact, I'm one of the happiest freakin' people I know.

This is not something I would've been free to do in the "good old days" before the Women's Movement. Someone else would have dictated how I spent my time. Someone else would've dictated that I make less money, because I'm female, meaning I'd have to work more OR be dependent on a provider. Someone else would've probably said, "You don't need to do those things for yourself.....you have your family."

I'm delighted to be a boomer. I like having choices. And one of those choices is to take care of my home & family.

artist
5-15-11, 7:50am
I think other contributing factors to the obesity issue are fear and tv. Our kids aren't encouraged to play outdoors any more because the boogey man might get them. In some areas, I suppose that's true. But not in the larger picture. I know my daughter and her young family hardly ever-- virtually never--do outside activity. She and her husband are put in an 8-hr workday, then they are hopeless couch potatoes. They only let my grandson play outdoors right in front of the house, and only if it's sunny, which is 2-1/2 mo. out of the year. I know many of their friends are the same way.

The danger has always been there. I remember a girl down the street was taken when I was a kid. Thanks to the media, television and the internet, we hear about every incident today, which has caused fears to rise.

Gingerella72
5-15-11, 10:22am
Redfox, I get that for you personally, the idea of being a homemaker would be a living hell. I get it, really I do. What I don't appreciate is your lumping every woman into your personal ideals.

Yes, I have read that book by Coontz and while I agree that modern society does tend to romanticize the past, I also think she wrote her views on women of the era with her own bias in place.

To fairly view the other side, I suggest reading Radical Homemakers (http://www.amazon.com/Radical-Homemakers-Reclaiming-Domesticity-Consumer/dp/0979439116/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1305479350&sr=8-1-spell) by Shannon Hayes.

I would also suggest searching online for the plethora of women who are proud, happy, and satisfied by their homemaker status. Google "ladies against feminism" and take a gander. I'd also recommend reading the blog Apron Revolution (http://my50syear.blogspot.com/) to see the myth-shattering discoveries (myth-shattering from the other side, that is) that the author has made after "living" the past 2 years as a "50's housewife." Her research into the politics, current events, opinions, and culture of the period shows that the myth that all women were unhappy and oppressed is just that, a myth.

For many women, family and nurturing are the absolute first priority over any thought of an outside career. I know that for you, that concept seems like slavery. That's OK. But what I get from your posts is that you feel any woman who feels other than you is brainwashed and delusional for placing a higher priority on her home and family, and I have a problem with that.

ApatheticNoMore
5-15-11, 10:27am
So I was reading Claude Steiner's "Scripts People Live". It was written pre woman's lib really and it talks about the stereotypical roles available to women then (not the point of the book, but it does talk a decent amount about it). They were NOT pretty.

However, it has me reflecting on how gender stereotypes are STILL damaging people alive today. Ok there are NO boomers in my family. My mom is really a few years too old to be even an older boomer (she's the so called silent generation - appropriate I suppose). My dad is the WWII generation. I am a younger generation X.

And yet my mom was raised with all kinds of gender related shoulds, and so was I. I think in general my mom's family pushed some degree of what could be called woman's equality, which meant really that women should compete in a man's world. So my mom always felt she should compete in heavily male jobs (and did). Then she had kids and also felt she should be some kind of all-sacrificing mother for her kids, giving up all of herself in the process. So she was torn between 'should compete in a male world' and 'should be an all sacrificing mother' and I'm not even sure what her real self really wanted (it always seemed growing up that it was the career she gave up, but now I'm not sure that wasn't just another should!). Will the REAL slim shady please stand up, please stand up ...? I see it occasionally when she's just relaxing.

Meanwhile I was raised to be the MALE my mom had always wanted to be. Women should be male-like. Get a male career, compete in a male world, etc.. Be every bit as good as a man by BEING man like (I look plenty female, I'm talking personality here). But yet I'd rather explore the long neglected female part of my personality. No that doesn't mean I must have babies, it's way more broad than that.

Of course I also browsed carpentry classes online today, so hey! :) Because I'm a human being too and nothing human is alien.

porcelain
5-15-11, 10:48am
For what it's worth....my grandma (b. 1930s) was very open about the fact that if given the choice she would not have had children, but in the 1950s that is just what she was expected to do. I'm so thankful that i have more choices than she did.

And as for this, uhhh.....no....lol
Take a look at how presentable and classy women were back then. (Nails manicured and painted, hair perfectly styled, clean fresh dress attire- even around the house, and a walk that suggested confidence, style, and class).

catherine
5-15-11, 11:05am
For what it's worth....my grandma (b. 1930s) was very open about the fact that if given the choice she would not have had children, but in the 1950s that is just what she was expected to do. I'm so thankful that i have more choices than she did.

And as for this, uhhh.....no....lol
Take a look at how presentable and classy women were back then. (Nails manicured and painted, hair perfectly styled, clean fresh dress attire- even around the house, and a walk that suggested confidence, style, and class).

My MIL (I referenced her in my second post on this thread) never even realized her potential until she was 65, ready to retire from being a clerk in Macy's. She had been an outspoken advocate for worker's rights during her entire employment there, so when she was ready to retire, they asked her to be Vice President of the Retail Worker's Union in Herald Square. She tripled her salary, and she ADORED the work, and she said until the day she died that she wished she realized she could have done it sooner. She had turned down opportunities like that all along because she was afraid she would compromise her role as a mother.

She wound up working until she was 72 and if it hadn't been for bad knees/bad hips and a lot of subway stairs to get to Herald Square, she would have done it until she died.

redfox
5-15-11, 11:11am
But what I get from your posts is that you feel any woman who feels other than you is brainwashed and delusional for placing a higher priority on her home and family, and I have a problem with that.

You're incorrect in your assumptions about my thinking, and you're extrapolating quite a bit out of it - using the words 'brainwashed, delusional'. It's certainly your choice, however to take offense and have a problem with my stance. I'm unclear about why you're taking it so personally; my opinions are not about you... and there are many women who engage in home-making and also identify as feminists, just as there are men who do the same. Neither feminism or home-making are gender specific.

setis
5-15-11, 2:25pm
I do not really get to read every post. I would like to get to know everyone,you can never have too many friends. I have been a simple life fan for 6 years now, through good times and bad times. Living in my car and living in a grand home as I am now. To some it would not seem that,but,to me it is. I have noticed that no matter what the original poster posts.There seems to grow out of that a grand stand of negativity. I, of this simple life,chose Positivity. I am positive i know my history as told to me by my parents and their parents. I am positive that out there there is someone out to hurt me in some way and there is someone out there that will help me in some way. I am positive that I will live my life, other than the friends I gain and the family I love. i will leave this would be garbage dump world it is becoming with the least footprint of negative. Alan if you have a voice speak Whatever that is. Looks to me reverse that of what women used to go through

susanne c.
5-16-11, 5:44am
:idea:This has gotten so heated, that I hesitate to add to it, but in the book Graceful Simplicity the point is made that having someone at home to take care of the details, laundry, shopping, cooking, scheduling, etc. really does make for a simpler, yet more "graceful" lifestyle. The author is careful to point out that this is not a gender role, but it is a definite role that needs to be filled if a family are to have a leisurely pace to their lives. This has been my experience. I have been a stay at home, homeschooling mom for 28 years. As an extreme introvert this works for me. If I were more outer-directed, I believe my husband would switch roles in a minute, though I do believe that men tend to be more single focused and less talented at pulling together a lot of little details which are involved in keeping a home and caring for children. That is a generalization, of course.

On the name change issue, I was never attached to my maiden name and using his has simplified things, but if I were a medical doctor, for instance, I would keep my maiden name if that were the name on my degrees. I do not see why our choices always have to come down to being either doormats or rabid feminists.
I know plenty of housewives who totally dominate their husbands, as well as independent career women who are inadvertently working to support their husbands' hobbies. Times do not change as much as you think for the simple reason that people do not change all that much.
As a member of a multi- ethnic household, I do not think that comparing the lot of women through the ages to slavery is a fair one. Slavery as practiced in America prior to the Civil War was far more dehumanizing than most other abuses of the human spirit and will.

SRP
5-16-11, 9:00am
I've really enjoyed reading everyone's posts and love all the thought going into them.

One thing I don't think has been brought up... but I could have missed it: that is how all these societal changes, especially the women's movement, has affected single women. I'm one of them, and I am very grateful to be living now instead of several decades ago. Back then, I would have been forced to marry simply to survive, because women didn't work outside of the home.

I recently posted in the Work forum about my crappy job and wanting to quit. But in all honesty, I'd much rather be there than having to marry in order to survive. I'm just not the marrying type!

Square Peg
5-16-11, 10:41am
I would never make the argument that all housewives were miserable. But for those who were unhappy, they had few options due to laws and structures in place.
I was a SAHM for 10 years and then was a mostly-SAHM for the past 4 years. I was in school with a very flexible schedule. Perhaps my situation is unique but I never received any scorn or criticism for staying at home. I never had to explain it. Most people's attitudes were: "good for you" or "I love my job but it is great you can do it" or "I envy you, I wish I could stay home." My friends tend towards the extremely liberal and a good chunk of the moms stayed home with their kids. I was able to transition from SAHM to college, and was accepted into graduate school with the full disclosure that I stayed home and homeschooled my kids. I haven't run into any bias or discrimination.

To the idea of more work at home opportunities, my one concern is the further isolation. I have definitely experienced it as a student working from home. And since the work needs to be done, it makes it harder to haul the kids off to the park to meet up with friends. How do people combat that sense of loneliness that can come from working at home? (which in its extreme hopefully never descends to this!: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/working_home)

Spartana
5-16-11, 4:16pm
I think that the womens lib movement has not only been a boon for all women - be they single, married, SAHP or work outside the home - but has been an equal boon for men - especially those with kids. It seems that feminism has brought the importance of father into the family again - as well as allowed for more legal rights for fathers to raise and be involved in their kids lives in the event of a divorce. No longer is he a distant authority figure who shows up for meals after being gone working all day, only to retire to the garage to work on his hobbies all night. Who may spend his weekends with his golfing buddies or at a game or clued to the TV. Now he is an active part of the kids lives. Fully engaged in all the rearing of the kids, in their play and activities, and in their care. I see men running with their baby's in joggers, on the backs of their bikes, hiking and kayaking and ...well... just playing with their kids in the park. It's no longer emasculating for men to care for their kids or be involved in their lives so intently. All the guys I play sports with bring their kids (as do the women) and no one thinks anything about the guy changing a diaper or wiping a snotty nose. Same with taking their kids to games or movies or any activity. It's all so acceptable nowadays. I see men who are filled with love and pride and interest in their kids. I think that the gender roles that were premominate in the 50's are gone for the better now - with parents now sharing responsibilities on a more equal level and therefore allowing for not only more family time together, but more meaningful family time for everyone.

I see this is true for women too, who have let alot of the old stereotypes of the perfect woman fall away ("i.e the Betty Crocker/Stepford Wives clone" ). Because we have more relaxed standards for women (and men) now, and are less concerned with having to live up to some ideal stand of perfection in both appearance and condition of their homes, women spend less time doing endless chores and making themselves Vogue-Beautiful and more time interacting with teir kids on a "fun" basis (i.e. not doing chores with them). I mean if women are spending each day growing and preparing food from scratch, mending, darning, sewing, washing, drying, ironing, baking, bed making, scrubbing toilets , and all the other home cleaning and kid rearing chores they once did - along with the beautyshop hair and just right make up and nails and clothes needed to be "Stepford Pretty" - how can they find time to be with their kids? To play with them? To be involved with their activities and their lives? I know that when my VERY traditional old world European Mom (a woman who was appaled that American women didn't wear hats and gloves and occasionally -GASP! - wore pants) finally let herself relax about her homemaking and cooking everything from scratch or spending time on her looks and clothes, she became a fun lively woman who would say " the heck with the beauty shop 'do, Glamour clothes and make up, I'm putting on the flip flops and shorts and taking the kids to the beach for the day". When she started to care less about what the world said was "appropriate" for a wife and mother, and embraced some of the changes the womens movement allowed for, she became the best Mom ever - not the harried, stressed, endlessly cleaning and striving for perfection Mom she had been. So what if the house wasn't white-glove clean and she wasn't in heel and stockings with perfect hair? So what that she bought ready-made pie crust and apples and didn't spend the day peeling and coring apples and making crust for a homemade pie (and my Dad never being the wiser)? She was with us - playing in the yard, playing at the beach, laughing and joyful and yes, a bit muddy, disheveled, and dirty at the end of the day. THAT was the Mom I cherished and wanted in my life. The Mom I remember the most. Not perfect looking all the time, and not having a perfect house, but she was THERE for us. Even when she went to work full time, she was still much more THERE when she was home since she choose to let some things go to spend her time with us kids instead of doing chores. Again, being a part of our lives and interacting with us rather than spending all her time on chores and grooming.

OK so I'm rambling :-). As far as the OP goes, I don't think that the Womens movement had anything to do with children being fat. First off the food in the 50's and 60's was very unhealthy -Fried meats laden with fatty gravey. Potatoes made with butter and milk and with more gravey on top. Veggies smothered with cheese or butter sauce. White bread with more butter. And desserts that clogged your ateries by just looking at them. And of course everything was washed down with whole milk. I think for the most part kids can actually eat healthier today - IF the parents take away the chips and soda and Twinkies and replace it with banans and yogurt. Most healthy meals are even easier to make since ypu can steam things in the microwave or make them before hand (like in a rice cooker or crock pot). Even bread makers aren't much fuss. Everything IS much easier to do nowadays - even if it's from sctratch - think food processors!

Secondly, kids walked or biked everywhere. To school, to their sports, to their friends - everywhere. Back then most families were one car families and Dad took the car to work so the kids had to walk or bike everywhere. Now you have parents who drive their kids to everything - often sitting for long periods of time in long lines of cars in moving slowly up to the front of the school just to drop the kid right at the very entrance. Parents drive them everywhere. And then when the kids are home they are prop in front of the computer, TV, or gameboy. No one goes outside to play kickball or "The Barbies vs. The GI Joes" war games we played or build forts or climb trees or just play anymore. Kids sit on their butts most of the time and that why they are fat.

Fortunately, as I said above, I do seealot more parents out doing physical activities with their children now. All of my firends always do things with their kids - skiing, biking, walking, hiking, birding and welll just getting outdoor in a physical activity with their kids. So I don't see too many obese kids even if both parents work. They have traditional dinners (healthy of course) and a bike ride afterwards before the kid can watch TV. It's all about the partents choosing to have a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their kids not about women (and men) given more choices and opportunities in life.

Stella
5-17-11, 9:55am
ApatheticNoMore, your post mirrors my experiences too. That's how I felt growing up too, like I was raised to be male. Like there was something inherently weak about femininity and I should squash it. Motherhood was looked down on and anything associated with "women's work" was valueless and only paid work had meaning. IIRC you and I are about the same age.

I tried to follow the path older women wanted from me. I went to school in a male dominated field and worked for a while in a male dominated industry. FWIW I felt like I was treated very well and with great respect by my coworkers, most of whom were older than me by quite a bit and male. It just didn't fit. I felt like I was pretending to be someone else because who I was, a woman who gravitated towards traditionally female pursuits, wasn't good enough and was a waste of my time and talents.

But it isn't a waste of my time and talents. I love being a mother. I love being a wife. I love being a homemaker. I have passions outside of that and I pursue them. I will probably pursue them at a greater level when I am out of the mom-of-littles stage, but I am very comfortable taking life one stage at a time. It makes me sad when people equate motherhood or femininity with weakness or stupidity. I am not saying anyone here has done that, but I have run across that attitude a lot in my life and it's almost always from older women. I am not stupid and I am not weak and I don't have to prove that buy being masculine. I personally see a lot of brilliance, importance and strength in femininity. Threaten my kids and find out how weak motherhood has made me. :devil:

I think one of the issues all people have to deal with, and I think it relates directly to both the discussions of the women's movement and industrialism/post industrialism is that of dependence, independence and interdependence. I think we tend to think of gender roles as dependence vs independence, but the truth is that all human beings are interdependent creatures. There's no escaping that. We may have seasons of life that seem independent, but nothing, no amount of money, no job, guarantees that as a permanent state. My cousins grandmother was a multi-millionaire. We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars. She spent the last 10 years of her life in mental decline from Alzheimer's. the money helped, but without her good, caring children to look out for her well being and care for her she would have become a target for money hungry people with no compunction about taking advantage of a wealthy, mentally impaired elderly woman.

chanterelle
5-17-11, 12:11pm
Stella, one of my oldest fiends is an estate lawyer in a very wealthy New England town.
I'm told that nearly a third of their work involves beating off incursions by children and grandchildren
seeking to take advantage of wealthy, mentally impaired elderly people.
On my block we have a childless couple in their 90's who have out lived all family. They have lived here since the late 50's and for the last 12 years their care is in the hands of their remaining long time neighbors, these peoples children and grandchildren who still live in the neighborhood as well as an assorted host of locals.
They will remain in their home until they die.
Dependence, interdependence, gender roles are not at play here..just ethics, morality and humanity.

Stella
5-17-11, 1:08pm
Chanterelle interdependence and ethics are at play. My cousins grandma was incapable of caring for herself. Period. Whether the care was provided by blood relations or not, she was at that time in her life, dependent. Ethics and morality are, of course, always at the heart of justice, but the truth is that people are safer and more likely to be helped in times of dependence if they have strong relationships with others. Friends, relatives, whatever. Human beings are meant to live in community. Money alone does not assure a life of independence. The point is that 1) we all bring something to the table and 2) those contributions are valuable outside the monetary system as well as in it.

I don't frankly see what good a discussion of morality would be without an acknowledgement of human interdependence.

catherine
5-18-11, 10:11am
More grist for the mill on this post:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/05/11/baby.boomer.breakups/index.html


And, oddly enough, while those who got married in the 1950s outlasted those in 1960s and those folks outlasted those who married in the 1980s, those who married in the 1970s had the hardest time getting to their 15th anniversary.

Spartana
5-18-11, 10:17am
The problem is that while the women's movement and equal rights did provide many good and needed benefits to women across the spectrum, it also has a downside, and that is: while it gave women the chance to forge careers never dreamed of for women in the past, it simultaneously took away the choice of being a homemaker away from women. [/I]

Just because new doors open doesn't mean old doors close. That choice is still there and will always be there. Just gotta find a partner in life who also feels the same - there are more of them out there than not. Being a SAHP and homemaker (and this includes men as well as women) is still regarded as a very high calling by most and certainly an important job - and the hardest and one of the most self-sacrificing IMHO. As far as being ridiculed for being a homemaker, well I can tell you as a career woman who choose a very non-traditional career in 1975 (armed forces) and very non-traditional marriage (beginning in 1981 - and yes I kept my own name - didn't even hyphonate it, stayed in the service, was deployed out at sea for months at a time, etc...) I was ridiculed by most - especially by my own family - for not choosing a more traditional lifestyle. People who didn't even know me had opinions about it all. But I (and dh, who liked and supported me just the way I was) just sucked it up, dealt with the scorn and critisism, and plowed ahead with our own dreams. SAHP's just need to do the same. No opportunities were lost for a career inside the home because of the womans movement - only gained for one outside the home. It allowed women to become Dr's, but didn't take away the ability for them to become nurses. And of course it also opened the door for men to become nurses while also being able to become DR's. Women to become pilots, without taking away the ability to become stewardess. Etc... Yes, you'll always get groups of people who feel that certain people (based on gender or whatever) should be in one place or the other, but you'll find another group of people will support your side as well.

catherine
5-18-11, 10:22am
and very non-traditional marriage (beginning in 1981 - and yes I kept my own name - didn't even hyphonate it, stayed in the service, was deployed out at sea for months at a time, etc...) I was ridiculed by most - especially by my own family for not choosing a more traditional lifestyle. People who didn't even know me had opinions about it all. But I (and dh who liked and supported me just the way I was) just sucked it up, dealt with the scorn and critisism, andf plow ahead with our own dreams.

Hey, Spartana, I remember when you and your ex were BOTH members on this forum (I feel like a real SLN old-timer saying that!).

Spartana
5-18-11, 10:57am
Hey, Spartana, I remember when you and your ex were BOTH members on this forum (I feel like a real SLN old-timer saying that!).

Nope, not me. I'm the former She-Rah, so maybe you're thinking of someone else. Or are you talking about Gary (i.e. Simplygib)? No he wasn't my ex - we've never even met IRL. Just joked alot and ribbed each other alot - probably seemed like we were married... or divorced :-)!!

catherine
5-18-11, 11:02am
Nope, not me. I'm the former She-Rah, so maybe you're thinking of someone else. Or are you talking about Gary (i.e. Simplygib)? No he wasn't my ex - we've never even met IRL. Just joked alot and ribbed each other alot - probably seemed like we were married... or divorced :-)!!


REALLY?? I thought you and Gary were married! Thanks for setting me straight, She-Rah/Spartana.

Spartana
5-18-11, 11:09am
REALLY?? I thought you and Gary were married! Thanks for setting me straight, She-Rah/Spartana.

OMG that's so funny! We still e-mailled alot (he is gloating at me now that he's retired - that rascal!) and will have to tell him this. He'll crack up. I was divorced from hubby a couple of years before I discovered the old boards so he was never part of it. And although we had an amiciable split, I don't think we would be as friendly on-line to each other as Gary and I were on the old boards.

Simplygib
5-18-11, 11:29am
REALLY?? I thought you and Gary were married! Thanks for setting me straight, She-Rah/Spartana.

Don't listen to Spartana! Lies! Nothing but lies! Just like when we were married!

:laff:

Spartana
5-18-11, 11:42am
Don't listen to Spartana! Lies! Nothing but lies! Just like when we were married!

:laff:

So where's my alimony payment baby? How about all that back child support pay you own me for the 18 kids we had? And I want a new house - a McMansion with a pool (and a hunky pool boy), a Mecedes, and a country club membership. Go back to being a slave-wager in the dank dark cubical dungeaon and buy me stuff!! Lots of stuff!!! It's your husbandly duty. You owe me mister :-)!!

catherine
5-18-11, 11:43am
Don't listen to Spartana! Lies! Nothing but lies! Just like when we were married!

:laff:


I LOVE it!!!!! GREAT to hear from you, Simplygib!!!

redfox
5-18-11, 4:54pm
More grist for the mill on this post:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/05/11/baby.boomer.breakups/index.html

If duration was the only criteria for marriage, there are many eras that can boast about this.

Spartana
5-18-11, 6:17pm
I LOVE it!!!!! GREAT to hear from you, Simplygib!!!

Yes, He tossed me aside - along with our 18 kids who bear a striking resemblence to Arnold S. - for a hot young beauty :laff:!!
Wish we could drag him back to visit this site more often as he is full of sage wisdom about simple living (aren't all old people suppose to be very wise :devil:?) but he's busy doing exciting bike trips to exotic places for months on end with his lovely girlfriend so I guess I don't blame him for not coming around as often.

iris lily
5-18-11, 7:12pm
I LOVE it!!!!! GREAT to hear from you, Simplygib!!!

ha ha ha I am rolling in the aisle~ you two! cut it OUT!

Simplygib
5-19-11, 11:26am
So where's my alimony payment baby? How about all that back child support pay you own me for the 18 kids we had? And I want a new house - a McMansion with a pool (and a hunky pool boy), a Mecedes, and a country club membership. Go back to being a slave-wager in the dank dark cubical dungeaon and buy me stuff!! Lots of stuff!!! It's your husbandly duty. You owe me mister :-)!!

Husbandly duty? Maybe you didn't get the memo. Husbandly duties are done as repayment for WIFELY duties which, as I recall, were pretty sparse coming from you! And now you want ME to support Ahhhhnold's 18 spawn? I don't think so. Maybe you can get something out of the old Boobengrabber, but it sounds like you're going to have to fight the competition for it. Better get hold of Gloria Allred, I hear she's all over that. So there. Don't say I never gave you anything.

flowerseverywhere
5-19-11, 11:55am
Nope, not me. I'm the former She-Rah, so maybe you're thinking of someone else. Or are you talking about Gary (i.e. Simplygib)? No he wasn't my ex - we've never even met IRL. Just joked alot and ribbed each other alot - probably seemed like we were married... or divorced :-)!!

you are kidding. I thought for sure you were physically together.

Spartana
5-20-11, 8:50am
Husbandly duties are done as repayment for WIFELY duties which, as I recall, were pretty sparse coming from you!

That's not what the pool boy thought :devil:

shadowmoss
5-20-11, 11:38am
/me popps popcorn and gets comfortable

Woo Hoo!!! They're back!

Spartana
5-21-11, 8:00am
/me popps popcorn and gets comfortable

Woo Hoo!!! They're back!

Ha Ha! Well our version of the "Beavis and Butthead" show (guess which one is Gary :-)!) is going off the air because we'll both be incommunicato soon. Gary and his girlfriend will be gone all summer on one of those long self-contained bicycle trips he loves (just don't make her tow you ALL the time Gary!), and then I think he's going on a solo cross country one after that for several more months (hope he does a blog again). And, as soon as it get hot here, I'll be taking off on a long road trip to New England - or maybe Alaska now that Alan got me remenising about it. Have a friend there who owns a big house by herself and is always inviting me and the pups to stay for the sunmmer so maybe....... Not as exotic as your life in Honduras but someday!!

mm1970
5-21-11, 3:20pm
Maybe- maybe not, but I do believe there's a lot to be said about how things were back in the 50's (even 60's and 70's). Marriages (back then) weren't falling apart like you see them falling apart today all because someone got their little nose out of joint over something or another, and you didn't see kids so animal like back then either as compared to what we're seeing today. Back then a woman had her place and it was all hers, and it showed. Take a look at how presentable and classy women were back then. (Nails manicured and painted, hair perfectly styled, clean fresh dress attire- even around the house, and a walk that suggested confidence, style, and class). Sure, we can surely find all sorts of inadequacies and faults with any generation before us, but if one wants to take the time to delve into finding the better and the good back then, one doesn't have to delve very far. IMO, our modern day generation of today has nothing on the generation before it, never mind two generations ago. As the saying goes, "we're the product of our own making".

I don't know about your experience, but the marriages that I know from back then all fell apart, they just fell apart later. The inequality in my parents' marriage caused it to end, and even my in-laws divorced after 43 years.

My mother and my aunts never manicured and painted their nails and styled their hair, unless you count an afro perm or a hairnet. Maybe that's how the middle and upper classes were, but not poor country folk.

I know my place too. I take pride in feeding my family healthy meals, but I also take pride in being an awesome senior engineer and supervisor.

mm1970
5-21-11, 8:36pm
Did a woman go away from her young kids for 8 hours a day (plus commute, plus lunch hour etc.) in per-industrial times? That's how it is now. After maybe 6 months at most of leave (often less, more like 3 or 4 months) - not even enough to really breastfeed, a mother goes back to work leaving her 6 month baby to be raised by a baby sitter or childcare etc.. Now having other people play a part in raising the baby is probably not altogether unnatural, but mom being totally gone all that time from a very young kid ....

Well, my great great grandmother had 18 children in 22 years and worked the fields. I have to think that she didn't have a whole lot of time to spend with her kids. She was too busy working. The older took care of the younger, and the eldest and youngest barely knew each other (oldest spoke German, youngest learned English).

Childcares and babysitters do not raise children. They provide needed care, but parents raise children. I took 3 months off then went back to work, and still managed to breastfeed for 13.5 months.

Working parents today spend more time with their children than SAHMs and working dads did 30 years ago. Considering I only have one child and my parents had generally 4 or 5 at home at a time, and grandparents had 7 to 9, etc., that's not surprising.

ApatheticNoMore
5-22-11, 12:02pm
I don't know my parents only had two kids and my grandparents only had two kids too. I don't know where this boatload of kids idea is coming from.

ApatheticNoMore
5-22-11, 12:25pm
I know my place too. I take pride in feeding my family healthy meals, but I also take pride in being an awesome senior engineer and supervisor.

I can't see the appeal. Whereas I do see the appeal of something like teaching. But I know women should not work in traditionally woman's jobs.

I also can't see the appeal of going back to work soon after having a kid. In fact I hate work and corporate america too, and never want to go back ever! But I don't plan to have kids and have to go back someday. Nah, I don't really expect anyone to support me.

Anne Lee
5-23-11, 6:58am
But I know women should not work in traditionally woman's jobs.

Seriously?

ApatheticNoMore
5-23-11, 9:24am
Well, I "received a lot of male programming growing up" :). Like I said lot of feedback (subtle and well ... not so subtle): be male-like, compete in a man's world.

As for actually being a teacher: 1) the kids are really bad (these days - ha, they were bad back in my day!) 2) noone considers teaching a growth industry. We have a totally bankrupt state government, laying off people including teachers, and even then still kicking various cans down the road with a budget that is nowhere close to balanced. This can not end well. Noone can look at the future of that field and say it looks bright 3) tons of credentials are required to teach which I have exactly none of. 4) there are a lot of factors these days that make actually doing a good job teaching next to impossible (almost outlawed really)

But I see the things I'm really drawn to, working with people, helping people, etc.. And I see the male world that I was raised to be drawn to, and the thought of going back and competing with 'alpha' males (very competitive, not at all cooperative environment) in corporate America is hard to bear. But it's the only life I've ever known, so time to eat a dog! (dog eat dog :))

Jemima
5-23-11, 9:46am
I agree. I also have a suspicion that it might be to blame for a lot of the premature male pattern baldness we seem to be seeing these days (I think the shaved head trend might be to deflect what nature might already be doing!). I see so many young men looking like Prince William with a bit of a baldy spot and receding hairline--and that includes my own sons. Maybe I'm off the wall, but just a thought....

I tend to agree that growth hormones are behind a lot of metabolic disorders (see my post at http://tinyurl.com/3m2eqjw - scary stuff!) and I'll swear to my dying day that transfats, particularly margarine, are responsible for widespread high cholestrol. I had borderline high cholestrol five years ago (204) which dropped to 177 when I cut out anything that had "hydrogenated" on the label. Margarine was considered such a wonder too, as I was growing up. I'll never forget those plastic bags full of white fat with a glob of food coloring that had to be kneaded to spread the yellow color.

redfox
5-23-11, 9:58am
Working in occupations that are traditionally held by women is not an issue IMHO - it's the lower pay that is. The comparable worth stance is a complicated one, but important nonetheless.

ApatheticNoMore
5-23-11, 10:07am
Margarine was considered such a wonder too, as I was growing up.

Yea everything was margarine growing up. Homemade cookies were made with sticks of margarine rather than butter. There was oleo on the table to spread on your baked potatoes (not butter).

And yet I've always been pretty healthy (yes compared to my age cohort). Guess it was because other than the transfat on everything, the food was somewhat REAL. Boxed mac and cheese was never used (we melted real cheese on real noodles instead), hamburger helper was never used, fast food was a once a year when we went on vacation, going out to eat was once a month, never drank sodas, cookies were almost always homemade. Dinner would consist of chicken, baked potatoes, and broccoli (or meat and the same meal) or homemade spaghetti sauce on spaghetti (granted it contained canned tomato products). There was margarine to put on the baked potatoes and broccoli. It was horribly bland food. Not broccoli turned in olive oil and salted or anything (and certainly not spiced) but just plain broccoli sitting there. Lunch was natural peanut butter and homemade jam sandwiches (occasionally the bread was homemade, often it was store stuff), a mushy red "delicious" apple that only got half eaten, and sometimes a homemade cookie, maybe some 100% fruit juice. Occasionally got egg salad or something. Breakfast was oatmeal, cherrios or cornflakes, eggs or homemade pancakes or waffles with homemade sugar syrup. Bland, bland, bland. But not a lot of packaged food, almost nothing from boxes, nothing genetically engineered yet at that time, etc..

So I think despite all the transfat, lack of omega 3s etc., it was still mostly real food. Flavorless and not organic, no fancy flavorful apple varieties like they have now, no extra virgin olive oil, no real maple syrup, only occasionally had real butter, nothing like the admittedly higher end and more expensive, more spiced, more ethnic (I especially like Mediterranean food), healthier food I eat now but .... not as terrible as it could have been considering all the garbage on the shelves we NEVER bought. We also grew *some* of our own veggies and fruit and I'd always nibble on the chives and stuff we were growing. They also made us take vitamins.

ApatheticNoMore
5-23-11, 10:14am
Working in occupations that are traditionally held by women is not an issue IMHO - it's the lower pay that is. The comparable worth stance is a complicated one, but important nonetheless.

Honestly this is pretty much how I've come to see it: higher pay OR rewarding/fulfilling/enjoyable work. PICK ONE. And seldom the twain shall ever meet. Though there are plenty of low paid AND unrewarding jobs, if you want the worst of both worlds :P Money is hard to give up, then again I'm also tired of choosing it and being unhappy.

Jemima
5-23-11, 10:33am
That's how I felt growing up too, like I was raised to be male. Like there was something inherently weak about femininity and I should squash it. Motherhood was looked down on and anything associated with "women's work" was valueless and only paid work had meaning.

Overall, our culture and that of many other countries devalues anything that doesn't equal money. Therefore, being an unsalaried worker in the home doesn't count. Jobs in social service don't garner much respect either, regardless of the employee's gender, nor does the ministry. Delusions of independence grow from the belief that money equals security, status, and power.

I was born late in 1945 and this is the way it's been ever since I can remember. It's not only the downside of being a boomer, it's the downside for anyone of any generation who places a higher value on family, friends, et cetera.

catherine
5-23-11, 10:47am
Overall, our culture and that of many other countries devalues anything that doesn't equal money. Therefore, being an unsalaried worker in the home doesn't count. Jobs in social service don't garner much respect either, regardless of the employee's gender, nor does the ministry. Delusions of independence grow from the belief that money equals security, status, and power.

I was born late in 1945 and this is the way it's been ever since I can remember. It's not only the downside of being a boomer, it's the downside for anyone of any generation who places a higher value on family, friends, et cetera.

A microcosm of just what you are saying is the first class section of an airplane. Because I travel a lot for business, I often get upgraded, and I typically sit next to some arrogant, self-important guy who won't turn off his cell phone when the cabin door is shut because rules don't apply to him.

And what did he do to deserve that status? He happens to travel a lot? His firm has a liberal travel policy? But somehow that's what enables him to be the recipient of all kinds of cowtowing by the flight attendants.

This is VERY OT, but to make my point, here is a very funny example of what I'm talking about. As a hopefully humble traveler, I just LOVE this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qA1qziN484

Stella
5-23-11, 12:25pm
Overall, our culture and that of many other countries devalues anything that doesn't equal money. Therefore, being an unsalaried worker in the home doesn't count. Jobs in social service don't garner much respect either, regardless of the employee's gender, nor does the ministry. Delusions of independence grow from the belief that money equals security, status, and power.

I was born late in 1945 and this is the way it's been ever since I can remember. It's not only the downside of being a boomer, it's the downside for anyone of any generation who places a higher value on family, friends, et cetera.

Yes I definitely think that is true. I think the issue for me is that the feminism I was exposed to growing up seemed to buy into the idea that ideas and concepts traditionally associated with femininity; cooperation vs competition, emphasis on relationship (not just romantic relationship, all kinds) and family, even appreciation of aesthetics, were inferior to concepts traditionally thought of as masculine. To my way of thinking, that is not in the best interest of humans, male or female. Instead of everyone striving for androgeny it would be better to respect both genders and the characteristics, jobs etc. that are associated with them.

I have seen people here equate this with race, and I feel the same way about that. There was a push when I was growing up for us all to be race blind and all try to fit into the same mold, but a lot of beauty is lost that way. My next door neighbors, who my kids think of as their extra grandparents, are a mixed race couple with an African American man and a Native American woman. My daughter's godmother is Hispanic. I don't think for a second that because we have differences, in this case cultural rather than biological, that any of us are superior to the others, but if we denied our differences for the sake of "equality" we'd have much less interesting potlucks, to say the least.

I don't want my role in life to be defined for me by my husband or father, but I don't want it defined for me by my mother either. I see myself as a valuable member of the human family with unique talents and gifts and a unique contribution to offer that family. Some of those contributions are defined by my gender. Motherhood, for example. Some are influenced by my gender. Some have nothing at all to do with my gender, but all of them are equally valuable. I have gifts and challenges like everyone else, some granted or imposed by external forces, some are a result of my personal choices, but either way they are mine to make the best of. I actually make a practice sometimes as I walk down the street of viewing each person in that way, as a person with inherent dignity, beauty and value with a unique contribution to bring to the world.

puglogic
5-23-11, 3:59pm
This is VERY OT, but to make my point, here is a very funny example of what I'm talking about. As a hopefully humble traveler, I just LOVE this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qA1qziN484

"Bring me the head of a pig!" ROFL

Stella
5-23-11, 5:05pm
Lol. Catherine that was hilarious. I sent that to my mom who flies a lot.

Bronxboy
5-23-11, 6:27pm
Instead of everyone striving for androgeny it would be better to respect both genders and the characteristics, jobs etc. that are associated with them.

I have seen people here equate this with race, and I feel the same way about that. There was a push when I was growing up for us all to be race blind and all try to fit into the same mold, but a lot of beauty is lost that way.
While I'm attracted to the androgynous look in women:|(, denying or minimizing the impact of gender makes for a boring (and tense) world.

The same goes for race and ethnicity, though I enjoy seeing (and meeting) people who make a total mockery of stereotypes.

Spartana
5-24-11, 10:55am
Instead of everyone striving for androgeny it would be better to respect both genders and the characteristics, jobs etc. that are associated with them.



Because a person may choose to work in a profession or have hobbies that have been labeled as "masculine" because they have been done by more men then women doesn't make those jobs or hobbies masculine. They are just neutral, genderless activities that we choose to put a label on. And it certainly doesn't make the women who do them masculine or even androgenous. A woman's looks, manerisms, characteristics, and traits may be very feminine (as my looks and characteristics and traits are) but she may just have an interest in jobs and hobbies that have been considered masculine. Same for a guy in a traditionally female dominated job or hobby. Their traits and characteristic and mannerisms don't become "more feminine" because they teach or nurse or cook. I don't think any job can make a person who does them maculine or feminine in any way, shape or form. It's just a job or hobby, not a gender identity.

Spartana
5-25-11, 7:54am
Also wanted to add that up until 100 years ago - and probably much less - many of the jobs we now consider traditional "women's" jobs have been traditionally held by men - and only men since most women didn't work outside the home. Teaching, medical care, even secreterial type jobs where all held by men as far back as recorded history (with those records being written by men who were the scribes). Before women were allowed in the armed forces, it was men who made up the steno pools and did all the accounting, bookkeeping, and secretrarial duties as well as the cooking and cleaning. Even now many administrative jobs in the service are still done by more men then women as well as in the medical fields. In many places women were not allowed to be teachers - or even go to school to become teachers or anything else. So, if these jobs have traditionally been held by men, and only men, why do some people continue to believe that they are, and have always been, some sort of "women's" jobs? Jobs are inate things that have no gender.

Jemima
5-26-11, 8:03am
Yea everything was margarine growing up. Homemade cookies were made with sticks of margarine rather than butter. There was oleo on the table to spread on your baked potatoes (not butter).

And yet I've always been pretty healthy (yes compared to my age cohort).

Since 15% of the transfats in the human system get eliminated every day, it's quite possible that any damage has been repaired by now. (You can also see why transfats would build up in the body quickly.) It's also quite possible that the ingredients in margarine have changed quite a bit over the years. I didn't develop gluten intolerance until my late twenties, although it was misdiagnosed as IBS at the time. Today's wheat contains far more protein than nature intended and it's giving a lot of people stomach and other problems.

And yes, the food was a lot more real. Mom prepared nearly everything from scratch and much of our produce, eggs, poultry, and milk came from nearby farms. Acme was the first supermarket chain in our area and even they didn't bring in green peppers from Canada and fruit from Chile.

No offense meant to any Canadians or Chileans on this board. It just really rubs me the wrong way that some supermarkets in my area go so far afield when we can and do grow green peppers perfectly well in southeastern Pennsylvania. One chain (Safeway) had horribly expensive free-range eggs brought in from Vermont while there was a local poultry farm five miles away that offered the same (or better) product. They were selling at a local, family-owned market for two-thirds the price only a few miles away.

Tenngal
5-27-11, 9:00pm
one downside of being a boomer is that I feel worthless unless working fulltime and contributing at least half to the family finances. Always thought it unfair that the father had to be responsible for all the breadwinning.

junco
5-28-11, 7:27am
one downside of being a boomer is that I feel worthless unless working fulltime and contributing at least half to the family finances. Always thought it unfair that the father had to be responsible for all the breadwinning.


I'm a boomer and never felt that way at all. Although now that the kids are grown, I do find it imperative to make a larger contribution to society.

ApatheticNoMore
5-28-11, 2:23pm
one downside of being a boomer is that I feel worthless unless working fulltime and contributing at least half to the family finances. Always thought it unfair that the father had to be responsible for all the breadwinning.

Yea I understand that. Because I don't see breadwinning as some wonderful fun world (that poor woman were once excluded from but now get to participate in). I see it as wage slavery, as dark satanic cubicles, as the murder of my days, as the curse of Adam (and Eve now too), as HE double hocky sticks in other words. And the communalist (communist?) in me says that if unpleasant tasks (and there is no housework in the world as unpleasant as holding a job) must be done they should be split equitably :~)

Mrs.B
5-31-11, 7:42am
I think like every generation we are paying the price of change. I am a boomer (55). Having just finished putting flowers on the graves of my parents and grandparents, I remember how far we've come. My father was a WWII vet, he paid the price of war with alcohol. Today they call it PTSD. My mother married 4 different men all alchololics, since they didn't "air their dirty laundry" who knows why she kept repeating those mistakes, but I'm sure Oprah would have explained it.
By the way my mom borned in 1914 was over weight. My grandmother was a 3 time widow, raised her children through the great depression and wwII by working at a coat factory, which could explain why my mom was over weight! She also buried all her children but 1. Plus she was 30 before she could vote. Heart disease killed most of her children, and all her meals were home cooked?? Hmm?
This new generation of over weight folks could be blamed on lots of things:
1) our children no longer ride bikes, and run around the neighborhood. We buy them battery operated cars, and keep them safe inside from sexual predators.
2) Home Ec is no longer required in schools not even sure if its offered, so generations are growing up without learning the basics of cooking or sewing (yes parents should teach this, but if they didn't learn it, who will teach it)
3) PE is also not what it use to be in school, team sports are even being done away with in budget cuts.
4) Home gardens? use to be a way to supplement your fresh food budget, very few young people even know what this is.
5) The cheapest food in the store is made from white flour and white sugar.
Those are some of my ideas.
Mrs. B