Danielle Crittenden‘s book What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us vividly captures some of the disadvantages women experience in the current male/female milieu prevalent in our culture (in general) and on college campuses (in particular). The book is not explicitly Christian by any means, yet her conclusions are very similar to mine. In short, if women in the 1950s saw themselves primarily through the lens of their uniquely feminine callings (wives, mothers, etc.) and insufficiently as adults with non-gender-specific intelligence, skills, and aspirations, the modern woman tends to view her worth in ways that suppress her uniquely feminine longings.
The result is a more androgynous culture, and, yes, one in which women have unparalleled opportunity, but also one in which women are increasingly vulnerable to male oppression–precisely because men no longer feel obligated (by societal mores) to regard women with particular esteem. For example, men are less likely to marry and commit to being breadwinners, so women (most of who still innately long to bear children) feel pressured to simultaneously balance demanding careers. Newsweek magazine seems to do a cover story on this about twice a year.
Another example is brought to light by the recent incident of the Duke Lacrosse team and the rape charges. I’m not talking about whether the players actually raped the woman. Rather, I’m concerned about the widespread trend on college campuses nationwide. Many reports site that women are rarely asked on dates by men. Rather, they enjoy casual friendships which may lead to sex, probably with no commitment.
It is one thing for conservatives to make these arguments. After all, conservatives have consistently opposed co-ed dorms and other trends that have led to more widespread premarital sex. However, a recent article in Rolling Stones presented the same conclusion: the current sexual expectations at colleges lead to the objectifying of women, and of their perpetual use (and abuse). Not only does this emotionally scar women (often quite deeply), it renders passive men unable to work for and steward the love/trust of a woman.
(Sorry – no link to the Rolling Stones article.)