by Chrysa Smith

Remember the tv shows? When women were homemakers and men brought home the bacon?

Life has sure changed since the 50’s. And in many ways, for the better. Women have more freedom, better birth control and the ability to clean the house in more comfortable clothing (whoever dreamed up that home-based attire?) but hmm–here it comes: Are women really better off than they were half a century ago?

The question was raised on a recent trip, when girl talk turned to marriage and family. A friend of a friend was, let’s say, sampling the male buffet on a regular basis. In the clubs till early hours of the morning, her claim was that she wanted to be married with kids. And that’s when my friend told her: If that’s your goal, it’s unlikely you’ll find it doing what you’re doing. Good point. The moral of the story: Men can be sexually active. Women are still labelled.

But it hardly ends here. According to numerous studies, women are outpacing men in executive level jobs, salary increases and recognition. Yet, they still seem to be responsible for a majority of the housework. And while men offer lots more help with the kids these days, the bulk of drop offs and pick ups and soccer duty and class birthdays still fall on women. Better off? I should say not.

Many of our readers are in the cross-over generation. And I’d like to know what you think.  While I fully embrace a women’s ability to live life to the fullest and grab the bull by the horns (really?), in my view, there seems to be a disconnect with our femininity.  When you look at feminine traits like gentleness, softness, prettiness, artistic natures, creativity, nurturing/mothering, it appears that women tend to minimize those very innate qualities in lieu of living in a man’s world. Aggressiveness, toughness, corporate climbing–the hunter role is not our nature, I believe. And perhaps this is why women are in the position they are—of having ‘it all’—and that is, all the work, all the stress, all the balancing that comes with this act.

I work. I write. And I do it part time. I don’t have the huge house or beach home. But that’s perfectly fine with me. I like to cook. I like to embrace my home. I enjoy being available to my now grown son and pets and garden and husband. I enjoy my femininity. Although I often look around and feel like I’m in a shrinking portion of the female population, I like holding onto a piece of the past. When women didn’t do it all. They did part of a partnership. And I think their stress levels were lower (although living in a slower world helped) and they were truer to their inherent nature.

What do you think? Are you a do it all type person? Are you better off? Is today’s younger generation in a better place?