A young woman was recently sharing a story with me about the state of affairs in the dating world.
“It’s shit.” That was her synopsis. Tidy and to the point.
Lately, I’ve been regaled with story after story of the modern dating zeitgeist. Women are supposedly empowered when they have casual sex without emotional ties. Men are at their best when they don’t act like men at all. Modern day dating seems to be more about ‘take what you can get when you can get it’ over finding the right one.
We’ve found ourselves neck deep in strange waters. Whether it was progressive ideologies that many thought would improve our lot or it was concentrated agendas to erode the foundations of the western world (take your pick), we have arrived. Men are told that their worth is in being a good ally to women. They are portrayed as nincompoops and feeble morons on tv shows and movies - thank God for the eye rolling woman who steps in to take control. “Ahhh men, so useless!” They are told that masculinity is toxic and that any expressions thereof are outdated tropes, best to be avoided. The best they can offer is a version of themselves that looks an awful lot like how a woman communicates and expresses herself. We demand that they talk more. Feel more. Emote, dammit!
And then there’s the women. I suppose that being a woman, I am particularly saddened by what has been sold to us as the highest version of ourselves. While the men are busy trying to express their emotions, the women are told to ignore theirs or, worse, carry the catastrophes of planet earth on their shoulders. At one time, feminism promised liberation from the kitchen, but built in that promise is the message that the kitchen is something akin to a jail cell. Raising children and breastfeeding and the nurturing of our little humans became outdated. Feminism wasn’t just a choice, it was a call to arms. Today it’s tough to find what wave what feminist belongs to. What do these words even mean anymore?
Years ago I started reading books on feminism. It was an ideology, a veritable movement, that my life had been strongly shaped by. I knew little of it other than it meant I would grow up to be able to do what I wanted to do. I figured it was a good thing. Like everything else, what the original intentions were and where we’ve arrived may look wildly different. Every corporation and government are happy to grab onto a good revolution when it advances their causes. But when reading about the women that drove second wave feminism, I was disturbed by many of their worldviews. I realized how dark and cynical their perspectives on men and families were. In their world, the value of a woman was outside of the home. I don’t believe these things and yet, my life has been radically shaped by them. All of our lives have been. And we hear it all as if there was absolute acceptance when, in truth, there were many women that fought against second wave feminism. Why is that? Were they masochists? Or has our version of events been highly edited?
The awareness of how the ideologies of a few can cause sweeping changes in the lives of the many, especially when reinforced by governments and corporations (are they one in the same at this point?) is evidenced all around us. The cold hard truth is that we, the people, are more profitable as workers than we are in the home. Raising free thinking, creative, autonomous human beings has little value in systems that need our compliance. When we teach our children that the value of a life is based on the careers we choose and the money we make, we have lost the plot. Look around, the lost plotted are everywhere and they’re filling themselves with drugs and alcohol, casual sex, porn, food, sugar, social media, and shopping. We have arrived in a radically different world in which the act of mothering has been drained of its magnificence.
Young women are now telling me that the men they are meeting have an expectation of their wives to contribute “50/50” to the bank account. Or, they warn, they will keep their money separate. When the children come, the daycare is there. I know too many young women that have the desire to stay at home and raise their children but feel the choice is discouraged, if not outright shunned, by their families, friends, future mates, and society at large. So feminism and the goals of the powers that supported it have achieved the evolution as they deemed the evolution should look like and here we are.
I do believe that I now have enough requests to open up my own little dating service. What would I call it? Hmmm… Slowdown Singles? Women Wanting? Men 4 Marriage? In a world where young people increasingly find themselves growing up and being taught that there are no differences between men and women, is chivalry dead? Is being a gentleman passé? Are the values of family and tradition lost? I don’t believe it. I just think it feels so out of reach, that most dare not want it. Exactly why we must show that it’s not out of reach at all.
Just as food was stripped of its wholeness in the march to industrialization, relationships have been too. Many of us find ourselves today reclaiming the lost practices of preserving, butchering, homesteading, and growing our own food. Our parents or grandparents had these skills. The knew how to darn a sock and nurture an apple tree, but they let it go when they were shown a convenience that made all those things seem antiquated. And so it is with relationships and families. Divorce got easy. Women could make their own money. Children need not be raised by their parents. In everything there is good to be found, but the destructive consequences of many of these decisions cannot be ignored.
Many of us are collectively waking up to find ourselves on paths we never chose. Whether it’s the implanted ideas on what it is to be a woman or a man or just a human being living life as one thinks it’s worth living. We have been cleaved off from nature, from each other, from the gifts and uniqueness of our sexes. But something is happening. There is a shift afoot. And in every great shift, frustration ignites the