Feminist or 1950’s Throwback?

November 12, 2014 Updated: April 23, 2016

Dear Kathy,

    I’m 34 years old and I am a strong, independent woman. I’m well-educated and very successful at work. My friends are all guys because I’m just not a “girly girl,” if you know what I mean. I used to roll my eyes when other women would go on and on about marriage and children. I’ve never been that girl.

     I’m not anti-marriage or anything, don’t get me wrong. My attitude has always been, “if it happens it happens.” I see family as a lateral move, not an end-game goal. My focus is on my relationship with myself, where I want to go in life, what I want to accomplish.  

     A few months ago I met my boyfriend and all I can think about these days is marrying him and having his baby, the sooner the better. It’s like I woke up one day totally morphed into a 1950’s throwback, a housewife wannabe. I’m really freaked out about it. What’s wrong with me and is there a cure? Please advise.



Dear Sarah,

     There is nothing wrong with you that needs curing. You are simply the product of a feminist culture which is in transition. Women in the 1950’s were conditioned to focus on home and hearth as the be all and end all. The socio-political upheavals of the 1960’s and 1970’s opened up new possibilities for women in the educational and career arenas.

     The feminist rhetoric of the 1980’s and 1990’s gave a generation of women the encouragement to have it all. We were lauded as superwomen who could work at high power careers and raise children simultaneously, operating at full capacity in both roles.

     The cold, hard reality is that in spite of the myriad exciting opportunities which lie before us, we still only have 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week. Having it all requires doing it all, which is exhausting. Consequently, your generation is figuring out who you are and where you belong as part of a feminist movement in transition.

     Desiring to commit to another human being and form a lifelong bond, to create and care for new life together, is no lesser a goal than obtaining a graduate degree or making a significant contribution in the world of work. Take a deep breath and give yourself permission to be a full woman in every sense of the word – to pursue your personal and career goals whether married or single, as a mother or childless. You are right on target for a thirty-something year old woman, not a “throwback.” Enjoy the moment!