I grew up in the midwest, where from a very young age we were told the message loud and clear: women can do anything and everything a man can do.
The tidal wave of progressivism in the 90's brought with it a smorgasbord of pro-female messages to us children.
I sometimes get the feeling that focusing on teaching girls how capable they are at working into reality whatever their dreams happen to be has also placed on them a burden into their young adulthood.
It’s a notion that somehow if an American girl doesn’t meet her full potential in womanhood she has let down her mother, maybe her grandmother, and possibly all women.
Our notions of gender were perhaps never more confused.
Please, don’t get me wrong, this is a good thing, and needed to happen.
My European girlfriend knows good food, and loves good restaurants. European women are used to generations of men who consume two baguettes a day and with American women until I had a German girlfriend.
That’s not always possible though - on two or three occasions, Botta was struggling to find a host and ended up swiping right on everyone.
Despite this, I’ve worked a bit in the fashion industry and feel that European women have a better handle on dressing than Americans.
Dark colors, leggings, heels, and the conspicuously absence of the Ugg boots and Denali jacket combo.
I’m not saying American culture should roll back the clock, I’m saying that we should be aware that the previous waves of feminism came to give more freedom, not less of it. I think it would be ridiculous for anyone to place their value and identity entirely around a partner, whether that’s a man with a woman, or a woman with a man.
With an American girlfriend of the past, I sometimes felt that my presence in her life was as a placeholder in the larger tapestry of how she saw herself. It could’ve been my youth, and that of my girlfriends at the time, but it also seemed to me that I was interchangeable in this mosaic of her life.
She’s calm, has a less anxious view of her life, and has grown up free from the kind of “having it all” burden that I think American women sometimes feel.