Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The future is woman (?)

This article on whether we are on the verge of man's demise was interesting. At the risk of sounding inflammatory however, it could only have come from an American woman. It is easy to look around the devastation brought about by Men In Charge – the wars, financial crises, and countless other disasters like global warming from minivans and say that the time for women has come. We can look further than American shores and see the successes that women have had when they were in charge – the Indira Gandhis, Golda Meirs, and Chandrika Kumaratunga and ask if women have truly been more successful than men.

In contrast, in a separate article, Caitlin Flanagan's reading of Anita Shreve's Testimony leads her to write about today's adolescent women:

Today’s teenage girl—as much designed for closely held, romantic relationships as were the girls of every other era—is having to broker a life for herself in which she is, on the one hand, a card-carrying member of the over-parented generation, her extended girlhood made into a frantically observed and constantly commemorated possession of her parents, wrought into being with elaborate Sweet 16 parties, and heart-tugging video montages, and senior proms of mawkish, Cinderella-dream dimensions—and on the other hand she has also been forced into a sexual knowingness, brought upon her by the fact that, beginning at a relatively tender age, she has been exposed to the kind of hard-core pornography that her own mother has probably never seen; that her earliest textbooks on puberty have included, perforce, eye-opening and often upsetting information on everything from the transmission of HIV to the range and expression of sexual orientations; that she has been taught by her peer culture that hookups are what stolen, spin-the-bottle kisses were to girls a quarter century ago. She is a little girl; she is a person as wise in the ways of sexual expression as an old woman.

I found the celebratory feeling in one article and the despondent feelings in the other somewhat confusing. (More reaction to Caitlin Flanagan's article here.)

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