What I am going to share in no way negates women pressing on to live their lives as they see fit-
to be paid for the job they are doing (versus their gender), to follow their passion, or have options.
But, let's talk about where men have found themselves while women have been "finding" themselves.
I am a product of the first generation that was told we could do it all, and have it all.
While I was intrinsically not a career woman, I was always intrigued by the gifts God gave me,
and pursued them. However, quite honestly, my real dream was to be married,
have children and support my partner. Ideally, that would have been someone
who also embraced my dream to be a stay at home mom.
I never believed that having this perspective, I was holding back the progression of women
in the workplace or on the planet. Rather, I believed and still do, that
true freedom for anyone in any way comes from having the option
to follow your dream for the vision of your life. To be exactly who you are.
When I married my ex-husband, I was 25 years old.
I supported his career and promotions, including our six moves in six years to four different states.
I handled all the details of our life together, rehabbing all of our properties,
and caring for my sweet stepson.
I was already an enigma in the 1980's.
When I attended social events, (especially related to my ex-husband's job), I was often asked
by women from his office, "What do you do?". And when I answered, I watched a
returned expression with a cocked eyebrow, followed by the question: "Aren't you bored?"
On the other hand, it was my belief during this time that while my ex-husband loved his job
and was great at putting a roof over our head, he should also come home
from work, share his feelings and plant flowers with me.
And, more importantly, that not doing so was a shortcomming.
Somehow in this lost paradigm of roles, we found ourselves
not balancing one another out, but having to be all things.
And in that, some piece of the women's movement towards equality,
eventually over time seemed to leave men without the same respect that women were demanding.
Television today often portrays men as weak, as not having an understanding, as doing dumb and wrong
things, as taking too much energy, and as someone to walk away from in empowerment.
As someone truly not needed.
This is not a projection, it is a reflection. And it crept in when we weren't looking.
In some paralleled way, it reminds me of the same way television used to portray women.
And men don't speak up the same way about it, until asked.
Today, many men don't know if they should reach out, hold back, open a door, or pick up a dinner tab.
They are confused. They crave "relationship" and closeness as much as women do, if not more.
After talking to single men in the dating pool, I was taken back how many men shared
that they were waiting for a woman to make the first move- or that they were assuming that if
she didn't do so, she wasn't interested. And, that they were afraid that if they did make the first
move, they might be seen in a negative light or accused of crossing a boundary.
Men in partnership, on the other hand, at times report the experience of not knowing how to please
or live up to a redefined expectation, or feel under-appreciated for what used to be viewed
as positive qualiites.
Are men quietly finding themselves in the same place women were decades ago?
And just because women can do the same things as men,
has that started to translate into not needing them or celebrating our differences?
We are, in fact "equal"...but we are not "identical".
It's the gift of balance.
And, what I believe God intended.