This rant has nothing to do with editing. But:
I think part of feminism is recognizing women's failings. The standard of blameblameblamelamentlamentlament isn't very productive, because it allows us to avoid looking at the problems, and our own role in them -- and our own role is what we have most control over, and can most easily change. So best to start there before turning to criticizing society.
Now, this said, two disclaimers: I know many strong women feminists, and simply by living so independently and by being such badass women, they help change things and provide inspiration to less badass women like me. Secondly, I cannot and will not speak for my parents' or grandparents' generations.
But for my generation, I think we are largely holding ourselves back by clinging to traditional roles. Yes, these roles are hard to transcend, but that's what makes it worthwhile.
I read an article in Self magazine last night in which a woman was writing to an advice columnist about how now that she started working part time her husband was griping about the hassle of shifting household chores. Shifting, probably meaning he actually has to do some now. And she wants to know, what can I do to ease this transition and the columnist says, explain to him how this is good for both of you and blah blah blah. What?! A husband is upset that he now has to participate in household chores while his wife works (only part time)? Well, since the '50s are over, it seems this husband should be told to suck it up and that he had a nice free ride for a while, which is now over, and that ovaries are actually not a requirement for washing a dish or changing a diaper.
But I don't think that husband is 100% to blame here. The wife in question clearly expected to do the majority of the housework from the beginning, and thus enabled the husband to believe that he was entitled to a free pass. And when things change, she further enables him by carefully treading to complace his ridiculous objections. How would it been if she would have talked with said husband about dividing the housework fairly from the beginning of the marriage? At this point, it is up to us to set the standards and set these precedents.
I have another friend who views herself as a strong, independent woman. In many ways, she is. But she still refuses to transcend traditional roles -- she wants a man to woo her, to ask her on dates, to pay for them. She refuses initiate
a date, but waits for the man to come to her. What kind of message does this send to men who are trying to participate in a feminist world? Well, it confuses the shit out of them. Are we equal, can we do the same things as them -- or not? Do we want chairs pulled out for us, or will we be offended?
Looking at myself, I too like to feel wooed and like it when a man offers to pay for me on a date (though I often refuse). But why do I want this offer? I tell myself I think it is a nice gesture for both parties (women should offer too), and that I am a poor graduate student. But I think it really ties into supporting traditional gender roles.
Look, I can buy a guy a drink at a bar, or buy my boyfriend flowers. (I once dated a guy who wanted me to buy him flowers; I thought that was very kickass.)
I think many feminists at this point would tell me that I am not helping the cause by criticizing women. I agree that society is a problem, but we make up 51% of society. And many of our actions and attitudes serve only to reinforce traditional gender roles. How can we make progress when we are part of the problem?
I think we all need to examine our own beliefs and intentions and simply ask ourselves where they come from. Am I cooking dinner for my boyfriend because I enjoy cooking (and do so for my friends too), or is it because I just expect to cook dinner? Next time a female friend complains that men never ask her out, or tells how her boyfriend took her to a nice dinner, or talks about all the laundry she does, just ask her why.