Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sad, Cautionary Tale for Young Women and Feminists

I was watching Fox news this morning and Cindy Adams, the gossip columnist, came on. She was being interviewed about her new book: Living a Dog's Life, Jazzy, Juicy and Me. Being a dog lover myself (my dog died almost 2 years ago so I am currently dog-free), I was prepared for a few light-hearted New York dog tales and a couple of laughs just before work.

Instead, I was treated to one of the saddiest stories I've heard in a long time. I don't even think Cindy Adams herself or the people who set up this interview realized how poignant this segment could prove to be for her and for the many young women who might have been watching particularly if they hadn't had any children as yet. Or were too old to have any now having passed their fertile years without meeting a solid partner.

This poor woman was sitting there kissing her dogs and proclaiming they were the ONLY reason for her existence. It seems her husband and mother died within a few months of each other and she never had any children. So she's entirely alone with the exception of these two dogs, Jazzy and Juicy. Who were adorable btw. My favorite dogs are german shepherds and labs or spaniels...Yet Jazzy and Juicy were pretty cute and I certainly wouldn't hesitate to get two of them IF I ever decide to have a dog again. Anyway, I'm still recovering from losing my last one.

Anyhow Cindy Adams had these dogs dressed up riding in a limo, wearing mink coats and going into clubs. They showed shots of them at home...Clearly these dogs represented for her the babies she never had.

It was incredibly errie for me to be sitting there watching this woman talking about Jazzy and Juicy and see the placid smiles on the faces of the three newscasters (themselves all married with children) oblivious to the heartbreaking drama being played out here right in front of them.

Errie, sad and scary.

I mean young women need to see examples of lives worth living. Not some pallid imitation of life where you wind up with a dog or worse, a bunch of cats, as your only companions when you are entering the autumn of your life. If an educationed, successful, career women like Cindy Adams (or even that Maureen Dowd who will be the next one with the dog/cat books) cannot effectively create a life, we risk women turning their backs on all the equality opportunities they've been given in order to ensure they don't miss out on what makes most womens' lives worth living (with or without equality) our children.

Let's remember women went without equal rights to educational and job opportunities for eons while they stayed home to raise their children and I'm sure if you asked any women who is a mother what was the more important thing to her, EVEN TODAY, she's not going to say her BA or her job. It's her children that are a mother's priority and most women DO become mothers. So we are talking about most women here.

Just talking to a non-custodial mother the other day, she mentioned to me how all the rights she had marched for in the 70s meant NOTHING to her today...as the tradeoff winded up being that she was to lose custody of her daughter. The education, the job, her own credit card, none of it meant a hill of beans to her as the price she was asked to pay for it was to lose custody of her four year old child and cause a lasting riff in the mother/child bond for both of them. As her relationship to her daughter will never be what it should have been due to those lost years.

This WILL be the issue that will destroy the entire equal rights paradigm if it is not resolved to mothers' satisfaction. As every right they fought for will ultimately come to NOTHING but some words on a piece of paper which no women will bother even reading or paying attention to in if the ultimate cost is loss of her children. Feminists better think very carefully about their support of gender neutral custody or they are going to wind up with no womens' movement. Or just a movement containing a few women existing on the margins of society with the majority of women either ignoring or even outright hostile to them.

Thus Jazzy and Juicy (as cute as they are) can be said to represent nothing more then a sad cautionary tale for young women and feminists...


Stacey said...

You go girl! Thank you for posting!

Anonymous said...

As the parent of two cats I found that somewhat poignant. Sadly there may be many people, male and female, living that life.
Nice read maggie. Thanks.

NYMOM said...

How can a human being be the parent of a cat???? In fact your household pets are companion animals, not children. Which I have nothing against people having cats or dogs as pets. My point was that household pets or companion animals should be in addition to, not in place of, the people who should be in your life.

A rich, fully-lived life INCLUDES people as well as animals.

Also remember, Cindy Adams, Maureen Dowd, Condi Rice, Harriet Miers, Kay Bailey Hutchinson etc., ALL these women are examples to younger women who look up to them as role models to pattern their own lives after. Now how in the heck is that going to work if younger women see that some of the most powerful and successful women in our
society wind up in their twilight years with a cat or dog as their only companion? Or in the case of ALL of them never having children. Actually, Kay Bailey Hutchinson was reduced to a single parent adoption of a chinese orphan and she was an attractive, bright, articulate, successful politician. The rest of those women had NO kids...

So where does that leave the average woman if these women couldn't create a decent life for themselves?

I don't know about anybody else, but seeing that segment about Cindy Adams upset me for the entire day. I hadn't even had my morning coffee yet before being hit with Jazzy and Juicy as her only reason for existing???? I mean the woman is a very successful newspaper columnist. Surely there is more to her life then this????

Everyone concerned about women must work on this situation...