In the 1960s, all the moms in my neighborhood were stay at home moms. Marriage was a partnership. It was understood that a woman, a wife and mother, had just as much respect and dignity as her husband.
The type of feminism that emerged in the 1970s was not solution oriented. It had the opportunity to help married couples and couples thinking about getting married. Instead, it chose to create an us vs. them attitude between men and women. Men, all men, became the enemy. Everything was run by men, including the Catholic Church.
Men were useless: “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Gloria Steinem
The family was bad: Betty Friedan called the family “a comfortable concentration camp.”
Babies were a hindrance. I was born in the mid-1950s and the average number of kids in my neighborhood was 2. There was no Birth Control Pill.
So, what did they offer? Separation and fear and distrust. They firmly planted the idea that your man will kick you to the curb, run off, and leave you with the kids. Did this happen? Sometimes. But the mom could always go back home or get taken in by a relative until she got back on her feet. Right? According to them: wrong.
Women were given their orders. Get a career. Don’t trust him, get a pre-nuptial agreement, since that man who said “I love you.” is a liar, and will dump you for someone else. Maybe not soon, but eventually.
Women deserved more than motherhood, and faith and trust and commitment didn’t really mean anything. Join the army, become a CEO, run for President. OK. Then what?
The family is the basic building block of society and it takes two people, not one. Meanwhile, men and women were being encouraged to have “one night stands.” Frustrated, some women, who wanted real love, commitment and stability, decided to go along.
And then women were given a strange power: they could make men disappear at will. Yes, if a man she chose to have sex with got her pregnant, he was off the hook. It was her body, and nobody could tell her what to do with it.
Artificial contraception: good.
Men: Temporary flings. “Just sex.”
Family: Why bother? You’ve got to overthrow the patriarchy - the world run by men - at all levels.
Babies: A huge pain. If you have one, just drop it off at daycare while you pursue your career. You can pick it up after work for some quality time, but at 18 - out of the house.
And this is the National Organization for Women today.