Will feminism be responsible for the death of the family?

By Sabrina Almeida

Mississauga, March 4 (CINEWS): She’s a new force to reckon with—the feminist! And she has the power to change social dynamics as well as the family structure. It is not surprising therefore that for the first time in 2009, the number of unmarried women in American surpassed their married counterparts. Studies reveal other interesting trends. The few women that are tying the knot, do so at a much later age. Also, many of those in relationshipsDissent Winter 2013.indd prefer to just live in rather than get married. Moreover, not only are women having fewer kids, some are opting not to have any children.
What has this got to do with feminism? It has caused a disconnect between what many of today’s women want and what the family set up has to offer. Feminists consider a woman’s traditional position in the family as disadvantageous and discriminatory. Age-old practices wherein a woman was forced to give up her career (or was not allowed to work at all) to raise children, financial dependence and males making all the decisions typically prompted the movement to empower women.
But while feminism may have started out as seeking equal status for women economically, politically, and socially, it has now gravitated to them prefering to be separate.

Unmarried and childless by choice

Many will tell you that they are not delaying marriage or opting not to have kids solely because of their careers. They just don’t want to. I remember an old aunt advising me not to have kids when I was newly married. I thought she was selfish but looking back I guess she was a feminist who was far ahead of her times.
This trend is not limited just to women in the West either. Although there might be larger number in Europe and America, the truth is that today many women in India too are making similar choices.
With casual relationships and sex to fulfill their needs, more and more women are not willing to give up their independence for a long-term commitment that typically spells compromise. They want to live life on their own terms,
unencumbered by family.
It might come as a shock to many traditional cultures that this is the new reality… and that home-building and procreation are not innate female characteristics as we once believed. Just look around at the number of accomplished South Asian women who have stayed single by choice.

Men are staying away

Does this mean that all feminists have given up on marriage and relationships or don’t want kids? Not necessarily. In some instances singlehood is not by choice. Aggressive or radical feminism has many men running scared. They don’t want complicated relationships either. Or, to have to conform to the new norms established by feminists rather than what feels natural to them. And it has nothing to do with sexism.
So don’t be surprised if the feeling of being undermined and disposable prompts the brotherhood to take a leaf out of the feminist book.
In fact the word on the street indicates that a growing number of young men would rather turn to porn than date for the fear of becoming entangled with a feminist.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Painting all men and family situations with the same brush is flawed thinking. Not all men expect their wives or partners to kowtow to a traditional way of life. If marriage and kids are not for you, that’s fine. Just so long as this is
not fueled by misconceptions or one bad experience.
The role of men and women has altered dramatically over the years. Women’s empowerment aside, education and changing economical needs have an equally important role to play in it. Fewer married women are stay-at-home moms even in India,
simply because of the financial implications for most lower and middle-class families.
Men who expect women not to work need a reality check. And women who are using this as a crutch to avoid relationships need to acknowledge the real reasons for not wanting to commit.
Also, as fewer women commit to relationships and raising kids, the future of the family and the entire human race hangs in balance. We could soon be facing extinction and the family might become an archaic instiution that dwindling generations will only read about in sociology and history text books.

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