An Untaught Generation
The fourth letter to the editor of First Things in this set surely expresses the perspective of many Westerners now entering middle age and finding the unexpected light of adulthood opening their eyes:
Meanwhile, I have gravitated to a certain type of mommy-blog: one written by a stay-at-home mother, lovingly grateful to her provider-man, capably in charge of every detail of her children’s lives and home: the Angel in the House, as we might have sneered back in English 101. While the blogger and I remain quite different people, she seems to have grasped, early on, some essential fact about gender relations that no one ever told my husband or me. Those brave and brainy revolutionaries who raised us—parents, professors, Self magazine—never so much as hinted that someday we might want to act like men and women. Having dodged that retrograde fate, we had turned into neutered freaks, mired in resentments and domestic dysfunction. Our lucky kids!
This is not to call for a return to the inequalities of the past, and it’s not to say that everybody in an entire generation was raised equivalently. (My own upbringing, for example, was not as drastic as the writer’s.) But I don’t think that there’s any question, on the broad level of a culture, that the middle and later decades of the twentieth century saw a too-dramatic disregarding of deep cultural and biological tendencies.