Wednesday, June 18, 2014

W(h)ither feminism?

So yesterday I took the teenager for her quarterly haircut and overheard the following conversation between her and her hairdresser, a lovely young woman in her late 20s who has been working since she graduated from high school and is about to be married to her long-time beau:

The Teenager: When I graduate [from college], I'm going to live on Hawaii -- and in Paris. And you can come stay me!

The Hairdresser: Well, I'm going to live on Hawaii, too, so I won't have to stay with you.

The Teenager: Awesome! Well, you can come visit me in Paris!

The Hairdresser: That would be great!

Me: And, um, how exactly are you going to maintain homes in both Hawaii and Paris, Teenager? Are you going to be someone's private chef? [The Teenager is an excellent cook and wants to become a nutritionist and private or personal chef when she graduates from college, or graduate school.]

The Teenager: No, I'm going to marry a rich man!

[Over 40 years of feminism flashes before my eyes -- and dies.]

Me: How about you become the rich woman?

The Teenager: ---

Me: Never be dependent on someone else, Teenager. Even if you do marry a rich man, work or make sure you have your own money.

The Hairdresser vigorously nods. The Teenager does not reply.

For those of you wondering where she got this idea, it wasn't from me. (I've been working since I was a teenager and have worked all of her life, albeit mostly from home and part time recently, though that hasn't been entirely by choice.) And she's not the only young woman -- far from it -- who dreams of marrying a rich man, or the man being the rich one.

Ladies, where did we go wrong?


Anonymous said...

Teenager, heed your mama's words! The ONLY person you can ever count on is yourself ..... and your mama of course!

J. said...

@Anonymous, You tell her!

Btw, when I told the teenager about the post (we have a rule that she has to approve all posts about her), she said: "You know I was kidding, right?" And I kind of know she was, though not entirely.

John Barker said...

Welcome to the Neo-50s. In the next decade, you will see countless extraordinary, bright young women choose a more "traditional" path. (Not saying that A. will be one of them.) Bt in many ways this is a victory for feminism. The idea, after all, was to provide choice, not a directive.