Being an X-Generation Woman

Updated: May 18, 2019

If you are a member of the X generation, in your forties and early fifties, you are experiencing the fall out of feminism. The generations before us fought hard so the women of our generation and our daughters would be equal in this world. Are we living up to the challenge or are we being destroyed by it?

Someone Forgot to Write the Manual

Our generation is defining what equality looks like, what it means, and how we can be truly equal, however, we are victims of our upbringing. The girls of our generation grew up being told that we could have both a career and a family. We were given a torch with no manual and few models to show us the way. The boys grew up watching their fathers and learning what it was to be a man. Their message didn't change, stereotypically, mom did the house work, dad did the work outside. Mom took care of the kids and dad drank beer.**

The result?

We have a generation of women trying to have it all and not enough time or energy. They are tired, stressed, and have little left to give to their husbands, who still need their attention. Men feel the demands of having to help out, do more of what they were taught was woman's work. They changed a few diapers, made a few meals, and took care of the kids a little more than their fathers ever had. For that, parents patted them on the backs, congratulated them on a job well done, and told the women, see you have equality.

As women, we picked up the slack. We strived to be everything. We felt the guilt of not being there full time with our children. We felt the pressure of not giving enough time to careers. We felt our husbands slip from our grasps and move away from us.

Is it no wonder the divorce rate is so high?

Will gender roles change?

Society has a long way to go before we are truly equal and the ideology of what is men's work and what is women's work in the home changes. I applaud the men who stayed home to raise the children and care for the family. It is not a choice society embraces, yet as equal partners, men should be able to make the choice to stay home.

There is hope that men and women will figure out how to work together in this new reality. A world where what it means to be a man includes childcare, housework, and laundry.  Until men and women can truly break free of traditional gender stereotypes and models, relationships will continue to strain to the breaking point.

A letter from a father to a daughter about what lessons she learned from him regarding woman's work and how sorry he was.

** I realize that this is not representative of every Gen-Xs upbringing - just the majority.

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Shannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN a book about a boy and his mom caught behind enemy lines when soldiers attack their North American hometown. The story asks the question, what if it happened here?

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