Conversation with a New Dad about Women — by Deborah Levine

A friend on Facebook is the brand new father of a baby girl. Simon Cohen, in awe of childbirth and fatherhood invited his friends to give him ideas for an upcoming British radio show asking, “Why aren’t women given more respect? It’s the 21st Century!”

My response began with … “The 21st century is a transitional time for gender roles. The uncertainty generates all kinds of responses ranging from great respect, to some very strange pseudo-scientific statements concerning reproduction & rape, to hostility bordering on the violent with some going over the edge. Once we got beyond the early stages of the women’s movement and made gains in the workplace, there were expectation of equality, equity & equanimity. That was a bit premature.”

Simon wrote, “I think you are right. We are indeed in a time of transition. But looking through the lens of human history, are we not still in the early stages of the women’s movement? And could we be moving towards a feminine movement? Where we are seeking to lift up not just the rights and equalities of our ladies, but the (sacred) feminine within each of us?”

I shared with him, and now with you, my thinking on his suggestion:

“The current trend away from “feminism” towards a more feminine version of it in which supposedly men & women can both participate is both encouraging and disappointing. Having found Feminism far too strident for society to handle, there has been an ongoing attempt to shave the sharp edges off the Women’s Movement to make it more palatable. In some ways, this is good because it gives respect to women who choose to be mothers, who choose to stay at home, who choose to be among “Girls just want to have fun.” ( A song that this old feminist finds ridiculous but that my daughter loved growing up – Generational differences!)

From its beginnings, the Feminist movement encouraged another look at the goddess imagery in history by both men & women. I can see that strand of the movement strengthening, and I think you may have something to do with that – Go you! But the fundamental push & pull of motherhood vs. careers still remains, and perhaps intensifies with the years. Also, the sex-object industry (advertising) is hard at work to make women’s lives ever more challenging, especially with the availability of nips & tucks, botox and designer shoes that can eventually cripple you.”

I’d like to say a few words about ‘mature’ women whose children are grown and may or may not be in the workforce, or perhaps only part time. One of the strands of the Feminist movement was to point out that society considers these women the most useless, expendable creatures among the population. When I go out to speak, the mature women flock around me, virtually in tears because of their demotion from whatever role they once had in society. In my view, if we are going to start somewhere in giving women their dignity we’ll reverse this situation.

There is no role in society more pivotal than the older woman. Released from the bonds of Jimmy Choo shoes with an accumulated knowledge of relationship building at so many levels, the mature woman is a cultural treasure. Yet, she is an object of derision and nobody wants to walk, talk, or look like an old lady. Nonsense, you should be so lucky!”

Thank you, Simon, for your passion in highlighting women as Wonderful, Marvelous, Glorious!


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