By Dan Bodine
Note: Revised reposting from Center on Social Minimalism.
An argument can be made the urban mom in the photo above actually is peddling her six youngsters on a shopping trip in defiance both of the auto industry and the assistance of a missing husband/father (or at least a male friend) somewhere. No?
She claims the point is to promote car-free living in Portland, but not so in this other view–e.g., backward Jethro’s view. Car-free as primal instinct is baloney. This one’s been cooked. She’s really flaunting women’s superiority over men under the guise of environmentalism.
Or am I just being too sensitive in an old chivalrous role–to either a true go-it-a-loner female or a Super Mom, a modern-day Lady Lancelot out to save the world? Huh?
Even this, too? A littl’ ol’ woman with a parcel of kids stoking it down a public street on pedal-power alone—all but screaming, “I don’t need a goddamn MAN around!! Go soak yourself, bud! ALL OF YOU!!”
Huh? Am I misjudging this? Forget the advertising angle for the new bicycle. This woman really is married happily to someone like a hip-hop Presbyterian minister? The father of all ‘em she’s totin’?
And she’s really passing it off as ecological brain-storming to show society it can be done? An idea to save the planet? A small example of unselfish woman’s contribution to The Cause? (Which certainly isn’t birth control, I beg your pardon!)
If so, I apologize, right here at the git-go. Sure do. Time has gone off and left me in fossilized thinking! I missed the boat! Here’s the link to care2.com, which takes you to an upscale BikePortland magazine story. All hail our new urban lifestyles! It practically says. But I think there’s more. Reading primal instinct, that is.
In my opinion, mind you, never before in all of humanity’s twisted streams of history have men and women distanced themselves from each other as they’re doing ratt now. And Super Moms are in the thick of the causes.
In Reality Check, men and women today increasingly are sitting in walled loneliness, alone; or alone, with their children; and all staring vacuously at this nothingness in inner feelings.
Because of it, some no doubt will want to argue, i.e., Well, why didn’t you turn the above headline around to read, “Why so much contempt for Super Moms from weak-kneed men?!” Why blame it on women?!
If so, then dear reader, that’s my point! We’re at an impasse, and both of us along with the civilization we represent are getting clobbered. While, too, a few others are making off life bandits from it all.
Thus, ain’t a gonna fight you over it! Hee, hee. Be glad to reply to some honest and engaging reader comments but…Hey, I’m in my 3rd marriage already! Unable to have children in the first two, finally I’m a father, too, in this one. My sails aren’t up right now.
But that ain’t got nothing to do with the price of eggs in China! I still know unhappiness when I see it! In all its many varied forms. And that’s what the photo above represents. To me.
My first years in the mid-70s in the newspaper business, for instance, in Temple, TX, I’d drive down the interstate 70 miles on Sundays to worship at a Unitarian-Universalist church in Austin. Alone. That drive to and from was unhappiness.
Maybe this was my first awareness of something happening—that first decade or so after the University Tower shootings there. But after the Sunday morning service, some of us would pare off and go “skinny-dippin’” at the well-hyped Hippy Hallow cove out on the lake.
Then we’d eat cheese and crackers or sandwiches maybe, sip wine amidst some sex; and then end the day by going to the church’s Sunflower “singles” meeting that night–where we’d bare our souls in what amounted to public confessions.
And make that gut-wrenching contact with the Divine that connects us all firmly to our seat in Spaceship Planet Earth. In my loneliness back as a reporter in Temple during the week, these weekends helped me with clarity and focus.
But I remember then what young women divorced or separated with children (but determined to prove themselves) were doing. I sensed the singular wrongness then; I see its wrongness now.
Unable to afford day care or baby sitters, adrift alone like so many young folks are in these turbulent changes, some even attended college classes with their babies strapped to their backs like Indian papooses. Education?
Or sometimes it was, an older child left sitting just outside the classroom door with strict orders not to go anywhere; or left maybe at the student union with a friend who had a class break–in exchange for returning the favor with that young mother’s child later in the day or week. Scraping by, it was. A mutual aid society breeding mutual scorn for the elephant who wasn’t there.
But the women made it. And changed the world. Out of oftentimes degrading pits of past statuses they’ve climbed to autonomous respect today. We collectively see most things different than in the past, is what it brought.
But further on what happened to men? The so-called partners or partners-to-be? Unchallenged, left alone as flotsam, they drifted into Nature’s law of least resistance and became hapless spectators in a new contact sport–Women’s solo mountain-climbing. Embittered, alas, for being demoted. Or abandoned to growing coldness, they became. But so what?
So what? Yipes!! Out of it all, for extremes, whether on the campus of Virginia Tech or inside a Colorado theater, has come increased violence, in my opinion, both bloody and cowardly.
Most certainly, came emptiness. Squirreled loneliness. And wastefulness!
And the running! Running, running, running…Just to get away from it.
Who, me? Nah, I ain’t got time for it!
Lives–from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud, to quote Robert Penn Warren–not lived, but rode. Harried creatures, we became, with a devil on our back always rushing us to the next position, to the next minute, the next chore.
Left with only time to pantomime Life, we thus drool in our fantasies. ‘Ya wanna see a Batman, huh?! Looky here!!
People cry out, “Please God, let me have contact with other humans, even if it’s fleeting, just a moment, a moment of contact, please, please, please.”
And whether it’s violence, same-sex relationships, child sex trafficking or increasingly now child sexual abuse, WHATEVER, people end up being more alone after every effort to be more involved.
And thus more empty. And wasted.
Where did Life go? We collectively ask. And men are solely the blame? The headline above is still wrong?
Women’s Lib, in the 60’s, naively set out success blueprints for a new generation of young women who believed with all their heart they were destiny’s warriors for a new splashier gender. Which presumably would keep the same male attraction.
Ain’t faulting the designer as much as I am the design. Why was it, to prove equality of virtue, women had to prove superiority in singular accomplishments also? Why weren’t men put under the gun to share more duties of child rearing and home making?
Did too much loosened secularism to chase the radical capitalist’s I-wanna god blind us to the sacredness of sharing, and the empowerment that is family? Was that the misstep? Women’s Lib was really more about Men’s Lib?
To reach their new goals young women had to fuel themselves with so much contempt toward males they became like uncorked bottle rockets unwittingly damned for the High Heavens of Dubious Distinctions. And to bask, mostly alone, in the honors.
What happened to Society’s key team stitches? It’s almost like both women and men are out of sync now. Ask almost any sensitive man, if you want, who’s stepped in to marry a woman with a previous-marriage child, what vibes he picks up around it all?
The time of basking alone for her has stirred more contempt, it has. More secret loathing. And it’s become a regenerative fuel that launches the isolated careerist even higher into radical capitalism’s moribund skies of rockets’ glares and waving flags. On and on and on.And those 1 percenters, underwriting it as non-partisan marketers? They’re raking it all in! See this recent story in the UK’s The Guardian about $21 trillionin wealth now (as much as the combined U.S. and Japan’s GDP together!) being socked away in off-shore tax havens, if you really doubt itl
Radical capitalism gone amuck, it is! At some point, the question must be asked, My God, what are we doing to ourselves, folks? As a people?
How can something so right, be so wrong? How many more Colorado massacres or GOP body-control laws will it take before some noted sociologist with a political bent stands up and shouts, Jeesh, guys!This Women’s Liberation deal isn’t working out too well for us!
For the predominant opposites, we need to go back to the drawing boards, yes, to recognize and honor characteristics and contributions of both sexes; and then join them with remaining same-sex pairings all into relationships as God originally intended—mutually sharing vessels fused by love and respect for each other and pointed toward a common good.
Compacted togetherness, in marriage and in a people, is a stronger bond for building God’s temples on earth—to be filled with the Peace that’s in Heaven.
Giving equal recognition (and pay) for equal accomplishments that come thru equal or similar sacrifices or contributions, and then shared together, equally, could be the makings of a new working covenant for God’s vineyards.
I dare say, too, it would bring us satisfaction.
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