Furniture gets nicked. Plates get chipped. But femininity damaged? That was the complaint I was hearing the other day from a man very dear to me — my son, Scott. He was saying that so many women he's meeting are not very feminine. His words echoed many letters in my inbox these days. Out of respect for both sources, these thoughts:
Women have been movemented up to the eyeballs, yet not one social upheaval came with handling instructions. We've been liberated from more evils than we can name, but none of the new territories we're moving into has helped us navigate the terrain. Just exactly what is our correct behavior in the workplace, now chaired by both genders? Ask any man and he'll just shake his head in bewilderment — and fear. We've made men frightened of offending us in the slightest way.
On the social scene, should he or should he not open the car door for her? Dare he say she looks radiant in that color? How far can he go affectionwise without her calling the police and claiming date rape? She says she wants him to shed tears, yet she's drawn to the macho bad boys and their insensitivities. She says she wants a nice guy, but it's the naughty one she goes home with.
Today's woman is the product of decades of dramatic shifts, and the results show in her defensive, competitive, less-than-feminine ways. Her stride is too businesslike, her skirts too short (I never thought I'd be writing this), her shoulders too squared, her style too brassy. It's as if she's daring a man to come close and treat her like a woman.
Yet that's exactly what she wants! Nothing makes her happier than a man who is sure of himself and knows how to make her womanliness resonate. But there aren't many who fit the bill these days; she'll tell you that upfront. And men, what do they say? They're feeling like wimps, emasculated by today's woman, so they're not rushing to ask for a date. A good number have actually stopped dating altogether. One reader actually signed his letter, "Retired at 31." Is that mission accomplished? I think not.
We've misunderstood the spirit of feminism, distorting its goals. In my world (and yours, I hope), fairness and gender equality are on the menu, and the new consciousness is being served up almost everywhere, but this is the time for gender reconciliation. And revenge has no part in it.
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