Parenting by the Books: ‘Little Women’
Sarah Blackwood
429

Too true! I remember having similar ideas when I read the book decades ago, albeit not anywhere near as coherent as what you have written. Thank you for so clearly pointing out the bizarre nature of some of our sexist and patriarchal expectations and cultural conditioning.

I’m not certain it’s germane, but it strongly occurs to me to share the following: I don’t know how old you are, but there used to be a well-known “pop psychologist” by the name of Dr. Joyce Brothers (she passed away in 2013 at 85). She seemed really smart to me when I saw her on TV, & I liked to read her books in particular. When I was 16, her book titled,”What Every Woman Ought to Know About Love and Marriage” came out and, even though I was certain I was never getting married (!*), I snapped it up at the library and read it.

I remember nothing of what was in the book, but for one thing: she explained that she addressed this latest book about marriage to women not because men don’t need to learn anything about marriage, but because marriage means more to women than it does to men.

In this, then and now, she was absolutely right. Women generally do value marriage and motherhood far higher than men traditionally have. Whether that’s nature, nurture or some combination thereof, I don’t know. And of course, there have always been individual men who have valued marriage (and parenting) as strongly as the majority of women have tended to do, but they were not even close to being the norm.

Men, more and more & all over the planet, are beginning to understand and value marriage and child-rearing perhaps closer to the way that women generally do and have done, but I feel it will take quite some time — perhaps many generations- for men to “catch up” to women in this regard. That’s not “fair” or “just”, but I think it is realistic.

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*FYI- I got married at 19, and 28 years later, am still married to the same fella….hmmm, maybe I oughta go re-read that book……

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