Monday, March 21, 2011

Women in Newsweek

Bridget is an informed kind of gal and reads Newsweek.  She forwarded on a few interesting articles from the March 14 issue regarding women.

Men Without Women by Niall Ferguson points out the disparity between the numbers of men and women in the world.  Because of "selective abortion, infanticide, and economic discrimination" there are far fewer women, especially in China -- perhaps more than 22 million more men than women!  "The kind of domestic work [women] typically do is seen as less important than paid work done by men."  When this situation of excess men has happened in the past, it has led to civil wars, revolutions, crime, and the exporting of men.

I wonder, too, however, if it could cause an increased value of women:  Will women again be wooed because of their limited numbers, or on the contrary, will they be prostituted?  Because of undervalued marriage, I wouldn't be surprised if the latter will be the case, or increased homosexuality.  Only time will tell.

The article was quite disturbing and fascinating, and I was additionally saddened at a couple instances of underlying anti-family sentiments.  For example, the author states, ". . . early marriage and minimal birth control together expose [women] to the risks of multiple pregnancies."  Well, yes, of course -- anyone who's pregnant a lot is going to have risk -- is it a bad thing?  Sure, you want to do what you're comfortable with, but I don't think we need to look at multiple pregnancies as a bad thing.  One more example:  "Lock up your daughters."  It's the last sentence in the article, and it is kind of funny, but the point is to keep your daughters away from all these excess men.  I just wondered, is there really a problem with that?  If the men are good and noble men, I wouldn't have an issue with them wanting to court my daughters.  We want our daughters to get married and have families!  I really don't think the author deliberately wrote the statements to be offensive, but they do reflect trends and attitudes in society.

Born-Again Feminism by Kathleen Parker was additionally interesting.  Just a few quotes:

“I think you Americans do not enjoy being women as much as we do. . . "  (stated by a woman in Abu-Dhabi).

Parker goes on about what the woman said: "she allowed that American women, in their quest for equality with men, had surrendered some of their uniquely feminine traits and attendant pleasures."
Those two quotes very much parallel the premise of A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit.

. . .males need to be saved to the extent that, too often, equality has become a zero-sum game in which girls’ success has meant shortchanging boys. 

I believe that American women have paid dearly for the privilege of having a voice in the conduct of their lives. Have they failed to enjoy being women? To each her own determination, but I would submit that in trying to find a place in a male-ordered world, women have paid more than their fair dues, much to the detriment of their mental health and their families.

Nevertheless, the feminism of my youth did grow stale and, over time, often became silly. Or so it seemed to me and, apparently, to many other women who became mothers and workers and knew that the real world of juggling career and family wasn’t a calling but a curse. We were trying not just to be as good as men, but to be men. I have the neckties to prove it. It turns out that women make lousy men, a fact for which we should feel grateful rather than apologetic. As a group, we are worse at some things, but better at others—the very “others,” it also turns out, that happen to be driving today’s economy and that of the future.
I would like to know specifically what she's referring to when she says the things women are good at are driving the economy.  Just curious as to what's on her mind.

Women have tried to fit into a male-constructed world and found it either uninviting or inflexible to their needs. They don’t make it to the top of corporations because they find the long hours and travel impossible to manage with children at home. Too, they may find themselves alienated by masculine style, which psychologists Alice Eagly and Linda Carli describe as controlling, versus women’s, which tends to take into greater consideration the rights of others.

When women achieve parity in boardrooms and legislatures, they’ll no longer have to twist into male versions of themselves but can help fashion a world that is a better fit for them and the human beings they create.

But somewhere between the abayas of Abu Dhabi and the pistol-packin’, “man-up” mamas of Wingnut, America, is a strong, compassionate, heroic womanhood of which we can all feel a part and be proud sisters. And brothers, too.
Emphasis added.

I liked those last three paragraphs even though I don't necessarily feel a strong urge to be in boardrooms and legislatures.  However, I'm sure some women would like to and they should have the right to if that's what they want.  Women do need a voice in how things are done in this world; it makes the world a much more comfortable and balanced place!

Now onto the rest of the magazine!


Bridget said...

Great comments and I don't know how "informed" I am since that's pretty much the only extra thing I have time to read!

Amanda said...

I used to subscribe to Newsweek during my teen years. It was fascinating. Now I like better well written blogs. *smile*

Stephanie said...

I think it's interesting that so many feminists fight for the right to have an abortion, and then abortions are often used against unborn women the most. I recently read an article that cited a study saying this is even a problem in the US among certain populations. It's almost a form of feminist cannibalism. So sad.

Emily said...

Wow Steph, that is a really interesting-creepy way to look at it! Yikes! Never thought of it like that before!