Judging from my daughter and her friends, compared to older professional women I know, the female species may be emerging from under the thumbs of their male counterparts.
The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, September 20, 2010. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's Addiction in Society blog at PsychologyToday.com.
Two Kinds of Women
In my experience, there are two kinds of women (not those two, potty mind).
For want of more sophisticated terms, I'll call them "old woman" and "new woman."
The idea of changing women's consciousness has been bandied about for some time now. But I've just been encountering it in two parts of my life.
One is the spirited debate around European alcohol policy where, the way I see it, Northern Europeans are imposing their attitudes toward and strictures around alcohol on Southern Europeans, who have a totally different consciousness about it.
In the process, I fight with big machers (that's a technical term in the alcohol field) - male in nature, Northern European by trade - who run roughshod over Southern views.
And some of the most insightful and ardent proponents of the Southern view (that alcohol is an indigenous force in Mediterranean cultures, socialized early in life within families, so that even as young Italians et al. congregate in Southern European plazas to drink beer, they still don't pour it down their gullets like Americans, Australians, and Finns - to name a few) are women.
Yet the women live in fear of offending the machers. I realize they have careers to protect (unlike myself). But, still - as I told one - why bother to do research, write, and believe in something if you run for the hills whenever challenged by some supposed big deal in the alcohol policy world? Among other things, their attitudes and the way they express them show that they disrespect you.
Okay, let's shift to another part of my life space - my 22-year-old daughter. On a girls' day out (where we get massages and facials - I'm the only man in the facial place), she told me about applying for a real job at the prominent male-oriented periodical where she has an internship since she graduated from college. A paid employee is leaving, and my daughter - only a few weeks into her internship - applied for his job, competing with another, older, male intern.
I said, "Isn't that a brave thing to do?" She said, "Why?" I said, "Well, first because you could be afraid that they'll think you are too pushy. Second, because you'd be afraid of being rejected. And you are competing with a man for a position in a men's club."
My daughter answered, "No, not really. I feel I'm smarter than him - he misuses words all the time. I think every one of my girlfriends would do the same thing."
Has this new generation licked the approval trap, where women, to protect themselves, don't push up against male-established barriers for fear of offending, and thus remain trapped in female ghettos?
I dunno - but could be.