One of my dearest and closest friends took a brave step recently.  She expressed to a man, for the first time ever, what it was that she wanted in her future.  No longer did she hide under the “independent woman” guise; when asked during a date where she saw herself in ten years, she replied, “I want to be married, have children, and be a stay-at-home mom”.

Why, you ask, do I consider this a brave step?  Well, my friend comes from a feminist background and was taught early in life that she didn’t need a man to be happy.  She attended a feminist college, and spent most of the first decade of her adult life struggling between what she thought she should want and what her real yearnings were.

For many years she dated men who didn’t reach her level of maturity or provide her with any real emotional fulfillment, mainly because she didn’t know what she wanted out of a relationship and was too afraid of rejection to voice her real desires.  She did some soul-searching and realized that, upbringing be damned, she wanted to build a traditional family with traditional values and roles.

Many women (me included) who suffer from low self-esteem find it hard to believe that we will find a man who will be willing to allow us the joys of staying home with our children and taking care of our husband.  Skewed feminism concepts propagated by society and encouraged by cowardly men have made us believe that we are only as good as the job we hold, the income we bring home, and the body we parade around in.  The traditional skills of child-rearing and home-making have been relegated to quaint black and white memories tinged with the sepia of oppression and quiet despair.

It takes a strong, confident woman to shut out society’s expectations and listen only to her heart.  And it takes a brave, grounded man to meet her halfway.

I mentioned my friend’s act of courage to my parents over lunch a few days ago.  My father was surprised, and remarked that when he was young (in the late 60’s in Mexico) men wouldn’t dream of approaching a woman with the intention of dating unless the man’s end goals were to marry her and provide for her and their children.

At first I became very upset at feminists.  Because of them, women with “traditional” goals now have to go around justifying and masking what used to be something perfectly acceptable.  Many single women today wouldn’t dream of telling their date that they are looking for a man who will support them and allow them to stay at home and raise a family, lest the man think she was only interested in his money.  And many single men today would yell “check, please!!” upon hearing the woman’s request, branding her a gold-digger and not wanting to shoulder the responsibility.  Yet, it’s been demonstrated countless times that couples are happiest in relationships with well-defined roles, and what could be more well-defined than a traditional marriage?

However, my friend pointed out that not all aspects of feminism are bad.  Fifty years ago, if women wanted to work it was as nurses, teachers, or secretaries.  Now, the world is our oyster.  We can travel, make money, own homes, and build careers.  We’re much better role models for our daughters now than we were fifty years ago.  But are we really?

Last week I had the pleasure of spending a week with Mr. T’s 10 and 13-year old nieces.  They come from a conservative family, so I was shocked to hear them utter the phrase “Women are better than men” several times over the course of the week.  At one point, I tried explaining that we’re “different”, not “better”.  They wouldn’t hear it.  Has society gone so far in the other direction that our future generations will be too blinded by bitterness and insecurity to appreciate the glorious and life-affirming differences between the sexes?