Belinda Brown: Young women lead a counter-revolution against feminist orthodoxies

The Young Women’s Trust, formerly YWCA, has run a survey in which young women stated their views and preferences only to have them ignored or twisted to suit the ideology and interests of those who run this charity:  women whose adherence to feminism will have helped them attain a position of power for themselves.

These young women, it appears, have escaped the identikit straitjacket of feminism and taken the view that men and women are different and are therefore not equally suited to the roles of construction worker, ICT technician, plumber,  carer or nurse. But rather than acknowledge that these women can think for themselves, they treat them as hapless muppets whose views are “associated with the stubbornly gendered nature of training and work, limiting and restricting the opportunities for young women”. These young women are actually shaping the world around them and it is their views and preferences that keep firmly in place the gendered nature of training and work.

These traditional views about employment are not the only way in which young women are letting the sisterhood down. A third of both younger and older women thought that young women were “better suited to caring for children than having a paid job” and to the horror of the YWT matrons “a staggering 29 per cent of young women thought it was irresponsible for young women to want to work if they have children”.

Put to one side the extensive evidence that mothers of young children prioritise home and family (Netmums: Great Work Debate, You Gov, Centre for Social Justice, U-Switch, Department of Education Survey of Parents). Evidence emerged on the traditional attitudes specifically of younger women as early as 2012. Analysis of the British Social Attitudes Survey (BSA) showed that where previously the youngest generation had been the most progressive, they had now become more traditional in their views. The number thinking that “A job is all right, but what most women really want is a home and children” doubled to 30 per cent in ten years. Nearly 50 per cent of women between the ages of 18-39 agreed that “Being a housewife is just as fulfilling as working for pay”. Nearly 50 per cent of younger women agreed that “Most mothers with young children would prefer having a male partner who is the main family earner rather than working full-time themselves”.

However, rather than acknowledge the real change which was happening, The National Centre for Social Research buried this evidence under a very selective presentation of the figures to support the idea that the revolution towards equality was “incomplete”. In fact, as Geoff Dench tried to show, young women were rejecting the views of their mothers, the baby boomer generation, and arriving at a position far more akin to their grandmothers. The baby boomer’s precious revolution was, and is, never going to be completed. For as BSA data showed, and as the survey from the Young Women’s Trust also reveals, there is a counter-revolution going on.

Now it is one thing for NatCen, the purveyors of BSA, to fudge the issue. It is another thing for the Young Women’s Trust, which claims to “Give young women a voice”, and to “Gather the views and voices of young women and support them in being heard where it matters”, to refuse to hear what these young women are trying to say. So, for example, they focus on young women who are economically inactive, largely it would appear, because they are parents, and try to convince us (although it is apparent that they have never actually asked them) that these women would really much rather be at work. To this end the focus is on free childcare and workplace flexibility so that these young women too can help to increase our “economic growth by 0.5 percentage points per year”.

However these  young women are having children in a climate where contraception and abortion are aggressively encouraged. They are having children, according to the report, when they know that “Having children…not only makes it harder to find work, it makes it harder to be in work and [they] are aware of this whether or not they are already mothers”. In these circumstances isn’t it just possible that these young women have consciously chosen to be parents rather than prioritise work?

If Dr Carole Easton and the other matrons at the YWT would only take on board this reality they might come up with more holistic solutions than the tired and tested double burden of work and childcare. They could explore the potential interdependencies between young women and men, and the possibility that young men might support the mothers of their children in their temporary chosen vocation of childcare, while they go out to work.

In practical terms, this would mean that the extension to the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage, for which they are rightly campaigning, is fought for not just on behalf of young women, who it would appear, are not as dedicated to the workplace as the sisterhood would like them to be. It would be fought for by and on behalf of all young people and would help them on their path not only to independence, but also those who were choosing interdependence, young fathers and mothers working together to bring up the next generation of women and men.

Belinda Brown

  • gammosiuwong

    I hope you are right Belinda that there is a genuine counter-revolution taking place among young women but that will remain, at best, only half of the remedy. Young men have to be coaxed into a traditional role, many of whom have no experience of it, and commit to what they see as enslavement. Personally I think we are past the point of no return on that one and I wouldn’t recommend it without fundamental legal changes. Marriage remains a metaphorical, and often sadly literal, death sentence.

    • Belinda Brown

      I would agree about the legal changes but both parents bringing up their child seems the best way to go and on average I do think mothers want to spend more time actively looking after kids than the fathers do, and supporting that unit seems an important role to have. Long long way to go though.

      • Jack Robert

        Most men are sensitive about what they say to women, so cannot (like me) go back to traditional roles- we have become mostly modern men who look for a women that doesn’t depend on us(men), so will find it difficult if not impossible to go back to roles as such, or until our late 30’s- early 40’s. Legislating changes on men will be easy to do but will not mean that the will do it, family is not the first thing men think about until 30 or later. Countries like Japan are think of do a bachelors tax or other taxations, any financial de/incentivise to marry do not change people’s preferences, if done so then marriage is no more than equivalent to a business agreement which the other party can sabotage without a fault or penalty.
        Singlism is the new thing that is being promoted, so attitude for some might have changed but I don’t believe people will return to the same nuclear family as before, cohabitation is seen as the new way forward, just like we have different forms of family. More than half the population is single this WILL continually get worse. Men will have the same freedom women had WHEN the male pill is released.

        http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census-analysis/how-have-living-arrangements-and-marital-status-in-england-and-wales-changed-since-2001-/summary.html
        http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/mar/27/singles-england-wales-older-majority

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2226138/Lonely-Britain-A-MILLION-people-live-1996.html

        • The ‘Pill’ enslaved women to men and cured morality. No man would be foolish enough to take a pill that messes with their hormones.

          One of the biggest silences is the effect of the pill and late motherhood and the link to increased cancer risk. The state rightly discourages smoking to lessen lung cancer, but no or little noise is made to the causes of breast cancer. That is because two of the triggers are feminist cultural revolutionary tenets.

          Cancer Research UK coyly highlights these risks but the silence on prevention is deafening.

          • Jack Robert

            The male pill is under research and was supposed be out first (in 1971), the pill(women) changed the society we live in and slightly fractured, it is not the only factor that might cause cancer, it is also not that larger as smoking (there are more people that get other form of cancer that get less help then women, so they have the bad but also the great health care when they do get it). The male pill is a better alternative then a vasectomy which is irreversible,many men will now have their reproductive right which women have fought for, e.g married men need to ask their wife for permission to get a vasectomy, older men have to pay child support for an accident. It might cause like before (abortion increase) a population decrease globally, also give men the chance to look around and focus on their career, ambitions and lives in general.

      • Groan

        I do think there is considerable work too to affirm positive roles for young men. In my work and in research many young fathers are not in work nor really seeking it because they say their priority is their children. This could be an excuse of course but I do think it is deeper. Their really is work to be done to affirm the idea of supporting a family as a vital role, one that the man may not do exclusively but take a bigger responsibility for. So much by way of public pronouncement appears to assume men will just get to work and take responsibility and they’re just plain bad if they don’t. But narratives full of the dangers of “absent fathers”(cold heartedly working long hours to avoid childcare and nurturing) give no recognition to dads busily working extra hours/shifts to support their young families. What a mad world to want people to stop depending on the state and then roundly belittle as uncaring and “absent” the men who do “get on their bike” to support their family.
        The real tragedy of this is in my experience that as they grow through their twenties young men do want to fulfil just that positive role, but nowadays they have to discover this for themselves rather than find it in their socialisation or education.

    • Jack Robert

      Are you suggesting that there be legal change to discriminate men in to a role which they aren’t prepared for, like some bachelor tax for single guys ( this will suggest that marriage is enslavement)? Also feminism changed women first and now you are looking to change men, which is wholly unfair.Men’s revolution will start with the male pill, they will do what women have been doing for the last 4-5 decades…

      • RobertRetyred

        ” bachelor tax”?
        🙂
        And a spinster tax? And a single transgender tax?

        Or just a non-married tax? But will they get cheaper rates on singles holidays?

        • Jack Robert

          It’s probably cheaper, as long as you don’t up grade.If your married, you could always can go by yourself ? Are in- favor of the tax?

      • gammosiuwong

        No, I’m suggesting equality for men in the misandrist Family Court.

        • Jack Robert

          And you believe that because women now want traditional role (an easier life) that the government ( which has an economic and social benefit) and women that have changed their individual attitudes will want to change the no fault divorce act. Also what makes you think that the financial position of men to look after a family with one income (as it takes 1.5 ) is possible and that men will want to come back to traditional roles after all this time. As women want the benefit not the risk which is relegated to the men. In short the change of the law will not happen even though attitudes change so men will opt to be traditional.It will never happen

          • gammosiuwong

            You are not understanding me at all.

            No, I don’t think that either the government or women want to change no fault divorce. If they had any desire to do so, and even the slightest interest in genuine equality, they would have done so already. But because they are resistant doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be an objective.

            Neither do I believe that men will readily return to the plantation – thats why I refer to it as “enslavement” – even if there weren’t, as you state, serious financial impediments should they wish to do so.

            What I am saying about both of these points is that ‘head in the sand’ traditional women, despite their abhorrence at doing so, shall have to in time accept that while we may have a mutual enemy in feminists that this does not mean that relationships can be as cosy and advantageous for them in the future as it was in the past. In short, men will only entertain women once more when they demonstrate in legal change, not vacuous promises, that their emotional and financial gluttony will no longer be tolerated. Doubtless we’ll have to drag the vast majority of traditional women to that realisation kicking and screaming. So be it.

  • Mez

    I agree, childcare ideally biased towards mum, but a system in which both parents can benefit, ie choice, and the freedom to choose.

    • Groan

      I think a minimum state intervention and equity are called for. It has been a gain that the legal impediments to women working have been removed and there is still much work to be done to allow men to make similar choices about childcare. Given an equitable approach it seems very likely that the majority will want to approximate to their aspirations for family and tend to follow “traditional” patterns. There are always variations and mavericks and people often change over time. It cannot be beyond our wit to stop hectoring women and men about what they all should or shouldn’t do and simply allow folk to do their best. As I have commented elsewhere one of the great nonsenses is the existence of “single parent households” when in fact there are partners in residence or frequently involved, yet our welfare system itself effectively incentivises the concealment of this.
      From across Europe it appears to be that the most “gender equal” societies in terms of helping choices are the most “gender segregated” in choice of job and sector. Suggesting in a way that if these feminist Govs. (Sweden for example) simply looked at the results of their policies, rather than castigating people for their backwardness, they would conclude that generally the traditional gender splits are what the majority choose. Non of this implies that the unusual should be precluded or punished. Just that it shouldn’t be enforced through policy.

    • Phil R

      But not childcare funded by taxes

  • Bogbrush

    In the end you can’t fight nature. The brainless equal outcome agenda can’t ever work; equality is great and after establishing rights to participate equally, it means no more than free choice.

    The older generation are locked into an obsolete fight long since settled; that’s why they whine on about the fictional gender pay gap so much.

    • Groan

      Exactly so. Increasingly it looks like a group of women who have decided for themselves to choose the rigors of career. But can’t face the idea that this is still generally seen as an exceptional route for a woman. In psychology its well understood that women are much more into and influenced by their perceptions of their peers and how they are viewed ( “being judged”). I do suspect that often men are collateral damage in a “war” amongst women as this particular group seek affirmation for their choices from other women, effectively by enforcing the views that would produce this. The continued going on about mythical discriminations appears to be much more about psychological game playing rather than addressing any actual problem.

  • Singularis

    I cant help but wonder if the situation arose that feminists got their way and banished men to home duties whether it would swing back the other way, men being accused of denying women a greater role in family life.
    I am a house husband who works part time, my wife works full time and quite honestly I feel I get the better deal so accept my fate chained to the kitchen sink because even if my wife wanted to stay at home with the kids, the Establishment is going to do all it can to chain her to her workplace.
    Funny sort of freedom really.

    • Dan Theman

      I’ve always found it bizarre how they’re so obsessed with power in a corporate, material world but not with power in a more fulfilling, family environment. If it were considered normal for men to be a house-husband, I’d consider myself quite privileged to be in that position over slaving away for someone who couldn’t give a crap about me.

      What’s wrong with caring for a family? If you think about it, it’s actually the most important job/honour on the planet, every future generation (the future of humanity) reflects how they were raised by their parents.

  • Tricia

    I also sense a change in the 18-25 bracket. The have it all idea has become an obvious nonsense to them and I so hope and pray for their children that they will fight for the reinstatement of motherhood in marriage and a secure family.
    This came home to me this week as I was helping with Secret Santa at a local primary school and I was helping the children wrap secret gifts and writing tags. The love sent to Mummy and Daddy and the confusion over Daddy not being able to share chocolates with Mummy because he did not live there. But one in tact family had 2 wonderful secure daughters and I was instructed to not only write love on the tag but hugs and kisses because she had the best Daddy ever. Please all you young people Dad’s are important!
    I hasten to add that I was writing and wrapping to speed up the process, not because the children could not do it.

    • AKM

      Teenage girls plan their course through life by looking at their own and their friends older relatives. Current 18 to 25 year old women will have been looking at their never-married and/or divorced 30+/40+ year old cousins or aunts and thinking “I do not want to end up like them”.

      • Mikalent

        That or they look at all their divorced aunts and cousins and think, all I have to do is dupe a man into marrying me and I can just start claiming alimony. Which is shown, because apparently(according to Pew research data) over 70% of women still view getting married as a life goal, but only 30% of men view marriage as a life goal, with another 10% stating they would like to get married, but only if they find “the right person” and years of cohabitation.

        Yet add to the fact that the divorce rate is now OVER 50/50 mark, and 70% of all divorces are initiated by women, and in court women overwhelmingly get child custody+ child support+ alimony, all with the US “No Fault” divorce law, and the most common reason being given by WOMEN for divorce is “unsatisfied”, freaking UNSATISFIED. I think a lot of men are just done with women all together.

        • Jack Robert

          It’s worse for men as your stats shows,are they dumb for doing it

    • Jack Robert

      So you really believe the youth(18-25) want to go back to traditionalism due to changing attitudes and not that many have a bad/difficult economic situations and are look for support, especially in the being of their lives when they leave home or are looking to do you. Motherhood is already instated by all institution, I am pretty sure that letter that children are give are usually told to give it to their mother or parent as you can be sure that all children have contact with her. Fatherhood is not seen as important in society generally- apart from as financial responsible for their children, hence why family is in decline. Fathers as rare endangered breed that are seen as not totally needed, mother are believe to do it all. You can see that when you go back to help-out at school.

  • Jack Robert

    feminism changed women first and now you are looking to change men, which is wholly unfair.Men’s revolution will start with the male pill, they will do what women have been doing for the last 4-5 decades…

  • StoneCutter

    This reminds me of another article “How Europe is slowly dying despite an increasing world population” at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/11414064/How-Europe-is-slowly-dying-despite-an-increasing-world-population.html The map shows an interesting trend.

  • I’ll stay liberal enough to still ask for supportive attitudes towards those who might like to reverse those roles–even if fewer choose it there should be no discrimination or need for stigma. Or to parents who both want to work part-time, maybe one more hours than another but staggering data shows children DESPERATELY need their dads around and not just two or three tired hours a day.

    • Belinda Brown

      I am socially conservative but I am happy for people who want to be able to reverse roles to be able to do so. In the UK it is very difficult to have traditional roles if you want to – i.e mums can’t stay at home and look after their kids if they want to. And dads are often out of the picture altogether – as in the report I am quoting from – many of these young women are parents but there is absolutely no recognition that they could have male partners or that their children could have dads. They are invisible.

  • 2cyar

    It’s kind of a shame that young women feel this way because men’s liberation has only just started (50 years late)…and I seriously doubt that future generations of men are going to want to reject it.

  • Col Conran

    It comes down to choice & if you want to be a stay at home wife & mother, then be one.
    If as a woman you want a career then have one, if you want both, children & a career, then have one.
    There is a big difference from wanting a man/husband to provide for her family & the family being able to survive on one wage.
    Really, I can’t see most young women wanting to go back to traditional roles of 50yrs ago, ever.

    “”a staggering 29 per cent of young women thought it was irresponsible for young women to want to work if they have children””

    ^^^29% isn’t a majority, it’s a minority of young women surveyed. The survey needed to state how religious the girls were, as religion still tries to push traditional roles onto women & often these girls except this as normal.

    “”Nearly 50 per cent of women between the ages of 18-39 agreed that “Being a housewife is just as fulfilling as working for pay””

    ^^^ this has always been the case & feminism supports this. It is the woman’s choice that needs to be respected. Equality is the right to choose & if a woman wants to stay at home & be a mother, that’s her choice.
    But, most men can’t earn enough to be the main breadwinner anymore. Any young
    girl who is thinking the old traditional roles were great would soon
    walk out the door if the mans wage couldn’t support what’s needed for
    the family to survive. Hence why most marriages now are more a financial partnership with both providing finances so the family can survive.

    Women generally live longer than men & need extra funds in retirement, how is this going to happen with one wage?

    Years ago when traditional roles were in play, women often ended up financially poor in later life & often had to rely on extended family to survive once her husband had died.

    Having children leaves women financially poorer & often women years ago would stay in an unhappy marriage only for financial reasons, these girls will learn this soon enough.

    It will always come back to personal choice & living a comfortable life will always win out over going backwards to old traditional roles of the sexes.

    • Belinda Brown

      There isn’t personal choice – that is what feminism has eroded. The system is stacked up so that women have to go out to work whilst their children are still babies and this is due to the way the tax and benefits system works. The system could be adapted to at least enable women to stay at home till their kids are at least three if they want to (as they used to be able to do) . I am not talking about women not going out to work. Women have always worked and always will. It would just be great if they could look after their kids when they were small if they wanted to. And I believe most women do want to.

      • Col Conran

        Sorry you’ll need to read my comment again, I changed it after I read the survey you linked to.

    • Belinda Brown

      Sorry – you are not getting it – there is a difference between research findings and the way they are interpreted by the commentators – there was no evidence to say that these girls felt the jobs were out of their reach that is the spin of the commentators and of course the recommendations are feminist recommendations because it is feminists making them.

      • Col Conran

        Sorry, but you’re just reading between the lines to draw your own conclusion to suit your own personal views. For a start, you don’t even mention that it is a survey of disadvantaged girls.The charity is working to improve the lives of women aged 16-30 who are trapped by low or no pay and whose life chances are becomingly increasingly limited.
        This annual report shines a light on the realities of these young women. You leave this out so that the reader thinks it is most young women, you’re not honest in what you refer to & therefore you’re spreading false information to your readers. All I read was that these girls were disadvantaged & faced what all disadvantaged people face “discrimination”

  • Neptus 9

    Persons as individuals choosing their roes in life — and changing them — will maximize freedom and society. Feminists simply reversed what they saw as chaining them down and tried to force individuals into a mirror image of their imaginary oppression.