It's funny, all of that is actually proof progress is being made.
Progress never goes linear, there's always push-backs. We're in a time of massive upheaval, of course it's going to be rough sailing.
Women have more freedom and power than they have for all of US history and quite a good chunk of human history. We're nearing the point where women breadwinners are in the majority, increasingly more men are being stay at home dads and fathers are being expected to take a more equal and active role in parenting and housework. More companies are offering paid paternity leave. It's more possible for single women to raise kids, and more single women are choosing to have kids alone.
And, seriously, don't even try to school me on rape culture- but even there we're making progress. Do you seriously think that rape culture didn't exist in the 70s? That's ludicrous! More people actually acknowledge that a husband can rape his wife. We're starting to actually have a conversation about it rather than just allowing it to happen. More people are realizing that "boys will be boys" is screwed up. More people are realizing that 'she was asking for it' is bogus. More people are realizing that teaching kids about safe sex has to include CONSENT
and not just condoms, that we have to take steps to raise kids who won't abuse each other and aren't so vulnerable to abuse. More people are realizing that wives and children aren't property, but people who deserve to be treated with respect.
But there's push-back, there's always push-back. I read awhile ago that the whole abortion debate is pretty much entirely because male doctors realized that women weren't relying on them and got pissed. Before that, herbal abortions were the norm. I'm sure you know the history of the medicalization of birth, including twilight births- but even there, you can't deny that we're going in a better direction. (Hard to go in a worse
direction than just knocking folks out for birth...) The natural childbirth movement is making a lot of progress. Home birth is getting more accessible and more people are pushing hospitals to do better. Medical groups
are recognizing that hospitals perform too many c-sections and are pushing hospitals to decrease.
Honestly, if you pay attention to it, the pendulum on hospital birth is fascinating, especially because not all hospitals are at the same state of progress. A lot of "Baby Friendly" hospitals push too far the other way, denying new parents choices when those choices aren't natural enough (so pushing against elective c-sections and trying to force breastfeeding), at the same time there are still hospitals that try to force c-sections and encourage formula feeding. Sooner or later we'll meet in the happy middle of "Practices that overall focus on the well-being of parent and baby while allowing for personal differences".
That push-back also happens on an individual level. People who like the way things were get scared of change and try to stop it. Some men get more violent because they're defensive of their privilege being taken (and it is NOT
a male-only thing. Women get quite nasty towards minorities as well). It's the exact same as the increased violence against trans folk- it's not a sign that things are getting worse, it's ironically a sign that things are getting better. I'm sure that people would point to the news stories about transgender youth suicides and try to argue things are getting worse- but those kids have always been killing themselves, the fact that we're now acknowledging it and getting outraged is a HUGE step forward! That doesn't make it pleasant to see, but it doesn't erase the massive progress that's being made.
And then some of the problems are because we simply aren't keeping up with the progress that's being made. Our culture evolved on the basis of the nuclear family with a stay at home mother. Hell, we still have summer vacation, which was designed for farming families, despite our culture predominantly being non-farmers. We haven't caught up to families where every adult in the house works. That's a huge part of why there's still the "motherhood penalty"- because SOMEONE has to take care of the kids, SOMEONE has to stay home with the kids when they're sick, SOMEONE has to handle summer vacation, and that person is assumed to be the mother. Gradually, that's going to change- but it will take time. One way to make that change is to push men to step up. Push them to take paternity leave when they're able to and demand it when it's not an option. Push them to be the one to stay home with the kids when they're sick. Push them to do all the things that employers complain about women doing. If 80% of men demanded paid parental leave to stay home with their babies- guess what would suddenly be available to all workers?
It's never a smooth or easy course. Things are better than they were in the 70s in part because we're actually acknowledging the problems. Rape and domestic violence existed in the 70s. Sexism existed in the 70s. But now women are increasingly being able to do something about it and we're increasingly acknowledging it.
Also- do not forget the role that the internet, globalization, and an increasingly sensationalist media plays in all of this. People used to be more cut off, so they only knew about what happened in their community. News had a lot more control about what did and didn't get published. Nowadays, the media seeks out the most shocking stories and the internet means that we hear far more stories than we ever would have before. So a lot of things feel worse in part because we're constantly bombarded with crap.
This reminds me of the argument that comes up around Free Range Parenting. Our society is, objectively, SAFER. But we feel LESS safe. http://www.newscientist.com/article/...l#.VT6AMpOYEXM http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/18/us/wee...-gun-violence/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/megan-...b_1717100.html
A huge part of this is that our eyes are more open now than they ever have been. We're not only able to see more instances than we ever had before, we're ACKNOWLEDGING more than we ever have before. We're looking at domestic violence and rape and bigotry and saying "That's wrong" whereas just a few decades ago, they were status quo and no one noticed because it was just how things were. We talk about racism now far more than we did in the 50s. That's not because we're more racist than we were in the 50s, it's because we acknowledge
racism more now than we did in the 50s. Which is the only way that we're going to make strides to address it.
The progress is far slower than it would be if people werne't so complacent, but progress is
happening and has happened and will continue to happen. People will also continue to fight progress tooth and nail and return us to the time where white, straight cis men ruled supreme. They won't succeed, but the set-backs aren't any easier to handle.
And employers aren't allowed to totally block off birth control. They may be able to screw with insurance- but that's really just proof that we need to stop with private insurance as our main mode and institute national health care the way so many other countries have done.
(and for the love of all that is good- will the anti-birth control people who have no problem funding vasectomies please acknowledge the hypocrisy and just admit that they're sexist @#$@#bags already?)