Who invents these women? Do they not read history books?

I’m remembering an anecdote Joanna Russ relayed in which one of her female students said, “I wish things could go back to the way they were in the 50s. Our roles and choices were so much easier.”

Russ wanted to take her by the shoulders and say something like, “You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. You want to go back to the 50s where you had no voice, no autonomy? When you were a private slave owned by your husband?”

Uber easy.

That’s one of the false beliefs about the “Golden Age” where women all knew their place and men were happy with their robot wives hopped up on valium (one of the other great myths is that all men were really happy with this set up, too, being married to mute women and having all of the financial and emotional responsibility of the house placed squarely on their shoulders. Yea, right. Partnerships can be oh so much hotter). Many people are deathly afraid of choices. The idea that “all you have to do” is get married, have kids, and get dinner on the table sounds great and “easy” until you do it. When your only creative outlet is vacuuming the house every morning, you’re probably going to go a little spastic.

Are things tougher now? Maybe so. But you also have the ability to be financially independent, the choice to marry or not, date a woman or not, travel or not, have children or not, without the intense social stigma that existed in the 50s. Sure, you’re still encouraged to marry and have kids and become some sort of superhero, but if you don’t vacuum, don’t have kids, and don’t marry a man, it’s not like you’re ostracized from the village (well, most villages) and sent to live by the sea where you become the local witch.

Choices can save you.

Putting out for your husband when you don’t want to or don’t feel like it, however, isn’t doing either of you any good. Sacrificing yourself for your kids doesn’t do you or them any good, either. Call me crazy, but I think emotionally, physically, sexually, intellectually fulfilled people make way better parents than stifled, angry, repressed ones.

Fulfilled people make better worlds, overall.

Something tells me that encouraging your husband to rape you isn’t the best way to go about making a better world.

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