The porn industry dominates the Web, and I wonder if this has something to do with some(okay, many)perfectly intelligent, educated women getting bigger boobs, fat, glossy lips, brazilian waxes(ouch), and butt implants, looking almost like drag queens. Men face more pressure, too, but I think most guys would hesitate at taking out another credit card to go deep into debt for plastic surgery. There are women on Facebook who use duck-face sexy poses as their profile pictures, generous cleavage showing, then complain about getting obscene messages and comments, getting hit on by strange men. These young women(some older)have the right to post the pictures they want, but every action has a consequence, and we still live in a world where women are objects. If we sell ourselves as objects, we're making that decision as willing participants, but where does it get us in the long term? The instant gratification of technology, and all of its gadgets, are objects, too.
During my college days, I read books about feminism, written in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. None of these writers, such as Betty Fredan, Gloria Steinam, and Naomi Wolfe, could predict the addiction of unreality as reality. This is a very modern issue, because my Silent Generation mother(why this group of people are referred to as 'silent' is a mystery to me, because there is nothing silent about my parents)still refuses to use a computer for anything other than online banking. But the slow death of feminism is not just cultural, but socioeconomic. Due to the recession, women are living in poverty more then ever. These same women are educated and have job skills, but the doors are shut, so these ladies, like myself, are earning minimum wage somewhere. I was taught that if you were a woman who earned a good wage, you were powerful, you didn't have to take any shit. But the world has turned, and everyone has less money. Women have been selling themselves for sex since before the Old Testament. Today's idea of a self-made woman is Kim Kardashian, who was not famous until she was in a sex tape with someone named Ray J. Sex tapes are used to establish notorious celebrity status within a pornographic backdrop, because that kind of scandal is no big deal. Women can use sex to establish empires. Not exactly an original idea, but money and celebrity are power, and this illusion is what has diluted feminism into mud, as well as other social issues, such as poverty and racism.
I get angry when I see sexist remarks while on Facebook or Twitter(make me a sandwich)mostly posted by young men whose mothers are working to support them while they sit their fat asses in front of a computer. Obesity is being blamed on mothers who "don't cook anymore, don't even know how, so they feed their kids junk food"(my mother) I know many women who are terrified of being thought of as bad mothers, and this insecurity keeps them from asserting themselves, as if men ever worry about being thought of as bad fathers by other men; if they do worry, it doesn't seem to crush their confidence or make them not want to socialize with other dads. The alleged 'bad mother' is made fun of behind her back, forced into social exile. The same rules applied when my mother was young; know your place and be grateful you're not...a single mother or married to man who beats you. No wonder so many teen boys and young men are sexist; they learned it from both parents.
The feminism of yore, however, has influenced modern marriage. My generation has perfected the co-parenting system; so many of us grew up not living with our fathers full-time, so for some young mothers it made no difference if they were married to the father-or fathers-of their children. 'Baby daddies' don't just exist in the African-American communities, but white people have also adopted the term. If single mothers are taking advantage of public assistance, so are most married couples with children. Men are no longer the breadwinners who can singlehandedly support a wife and children. The men I know can no longer earn those kinds of wages while the cost of living continues to rise. Women are having less children(unless you're Michelle Duggar). Men are waiting to get married until they are over thirty, although they may already be paying child support. The roles of wife and mother have also changed, and there's no going back. But being a single mother is hard, harder than being a single dad who pays his child support every month and only has to see his children every other weekend, two weeks in the summer. Mom makes sure the child does his homework, minds his manners, and goes to the doctor or dentist. From a social standpoint, nothing much as changed. If the child is lucky, Dad has enough time to teach some values or good manners. But who has time to teach the value of gender equality to their kids? Apparently, no one. They're on their own, learning their values elsewhere, from strangers. Girls grow up watching models or actresses find fame and financial security through whatever guy they marry or make a sex tape with. They want to be a Kardashian or maybe Taylor Swift, who dates famous guys. Boys grow up thinking women are only good for sex, finding the female personality too unpredictable and high-maintenance to want to hang around for long. They want to be Charlie Sheen because he's rich and dates porn stars, and those girls are cool because they don't talk a lot, they're happy with the drugs and other expensive gifts. In return, they will have wild sex with you.
Feminism is dead because we let it die. Social equality is too much work, so let's go back to being the sexist, racist, homophobic assholes our ancestors were. Let's live in fear. The old conventions are making a comeback because we think we want to recapture a feeling of safety and security that was an illusion all along. If the last decade has taught us anything, it is that change is always happening, so it is up to us as human beings to decide what we want to stand for, whether it is about helping ourselves or each other. We are encouraged by the media to not think for ourselves, playing on our fear of having to stand alone. The average eighteen year old female would rather die than spend a Saturday night alone at home, even if she ends up accepting a date with a boy she doesn't really like. By the time she's forty, she'll appreciate a few minutes alone, even if it's on the toilet, the bathroom door locked. :)