The 2nd and final part of her Introduction
The second question I am often asked is about the topically of the opinions I expressed then. To what extent is what I describe over twenty-five-years ago still relevant to the “new woman” and the “new man”?
Here is a list of issues which I recognized in the original book to be men’s most significant disadvantages compared to women.
1. Men are conscripted; women are not.
2. Men are sent to fight in wars; women are not.
3. Men retire later than women (even though, due to their lower life-expectancy, they should have the right to retire earlier).
4. Men have no influence over their reproduction (for males, there is neither a pill nor abortion – they can only get the children women want them to have).
5. Men support women; women never, or temporarily, support men.
6. Men work all their lives; women work only temporarily or not at all.
7. Even though men work all their lives, and women work only temporarily or not at all, on average, men are poorer than women.
8. Men only “borrow” their children; women can keep them (as men work all their lives and women do not, men are automatically robbed of their children in cases of separation – with the reasoning that they have to work).
As one can see, if anything, the female position of power has only consolidated. Today a career in the military is also open to women in many countries – but without conscription for all. Many achieved for themselves the right to practice their job for the same number of years as their male colleagues – however, the retirement age was not increased for all of us. And now as before, it does not occur to to the underprivileged to fight against this grotesque state of affairs.
Only as far as the sixth point is concerned, has there been a significant change. In the more entertaining spheres of work, there are more and more women who happily and willingly work and still keep their job despite having the children they nevertheless desire. But only a few of these women would be prepared to offer a life of comfort not only to their children but also the children’s fathers, supported by their often substantial salaries; and fewer would further be prepared, in case of separation, to give up their home and offspring and support the next admirer with what is left of her income. Also, men would not like it: emancipation may be fine, but to be “kept” by a woman is still not acceptable – housekeeping and raising children is not worthy of a “real” man.
Sadly women’s manipulation of men is as topical today as it was back then, but so are the measures which could be used to end it – to the benefit of both sexes. In the meantime, however, there are already a few feminists who are talking also about men as human beings, so the continuation of this discussion may not have to be conducted quite so loudly.
Esther Vilar, August 1998