Wow, what a great article. I had missed seeing it. My grandmother graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Latin and Greek at the beginning of WWII. She taught high school until she married my grandfather, an organic chemist who helped developed synthetic rubber. My mother was born in 1920, the year women got the vote in this country. My grandmother divorced my grandfather in 1930 for having an affair, and worked through the depression, raising two children with very little help from my grandfather. My mother was a feminist her whole life, as well as working for world peace and for civil rights. I was in the women’s liberation movement in college (we were called women’s libbers as a sort of smear, and nobody seemed to know what a feminist was). One of the biggest things we were pushing for was a model daycare center for the University campus. It was a bad idea, we were told, because it would encourage more women to work outside the home. And a day care center could never be as good for a child as being home with their mother. (I have a lot to say about that!) We never did get a day care center; this was in the early 70’s. It was years later that a day care center was finally started, but not the model we had hoped for, with interns and professionals working out how to make it work best for all involved.
And Psychologists were still arguing about whether a woman could be considered a mature woman if she only had clitoral orgasms rather than vaginal orgasms. When the big push to pass the Equal Rights Amendment was going on, one of the main spokespersons against it was a woman named Phyllis Schlafley. (SP?) She was a lawyer, which would not have been allowed except for all the work of generations of feminists! And her main argument seemed to be that if the Equal Rights Amendment passed, your little girls would have to go into bathrooms with big dangerous men. Which is scary, if it had been true. I still don’t understand, after all these years, just why so many people (men and women) hate the idea that women are equal and ought to have the same right to run their own life that men do. I am not and have never been a woman who thinks there are no differences between the sexes. (And precious few white men can jump (joke).) But those differences have been used to hold women back from the many ways we might choose to live, without even being able to test the arbitrary boundaries set for us. I do not hold men in general responsible for this. I do think it’s harder for men to understand women’s issues, but it is our society (and some men and some women) who have done their best to keep women in old roles. I still don’t get it.