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The Future of Feminism

January 9th, 2014 // 9:00 am @

wecandoit The Future of Feminism by Oliver DeMilleIt could be over. The whole, centuries-long debate between men and women, as well as between women and women, over the best role for women, may be coming to an end.

Ironically, this hinges not so much on women or men, but on both. And on children too.

Let me explain.

Feminism has progressed through several phases in history.

  1. First, women demanded voting and other basic equality with men.
  2. Second, they argued for the basic intrinsic equality of both genders.
  3. Third, they sought legal equality in the Equal Rights Amendment era.

All of these strategies made sense to men and women, even those who disagreed with the various leaders and agendas of feminism. After all, the idea of seeking equitable treatment and rights is basic to most Americans.

But at some point, starting in the 1980s, feminism took several interesting, and surprising, turns. Most men were shocked by the intensity of the woman vs. woman debate between those who argued that all women should have full-time careers and those who felt that such a choice was a downgrade for women, that their best work was done in the home.

This was followed by the “We Can Have It All” era, where many young women idealized having both full-time careers and all the benefits and rewards of full-time homemaking. One side said this was the ideal, another side argued that this was a mere illusion.

And finally, in the most recent evolution of feminist debates, dubbed “The Mommy Wars” by the media, some promoters of women in careers and some who believe that homemaking is the female ideal faced off in increasingly tense and extremely strong language.

By this point in the dialogue, men were basically left out of the conversation. National reports showed that more women than men are in college, and that men’s financial outlook is in decline while the earning future for women is bright.

Feminism was still a passionate topic, but the battling sides were made up almost exclusively of women.

That brings us to today. We now seem to be entering yet another major era of this discussion, but this time men are back in the conversation. They are front and center, in fact.

Women are increasingly talking about what men should, or shouldn’t, be. The idea seems to be that if men would just get their act together, many of the modern problems faced by women would be solved.

Like past battles, this one tends to anger almost everyone who thinks about it. One side makes the case that women are better off just living independently. They can have men in their life, if they choose, as long as they don’t become dependent on a man.

In fact, this view seems to accept that men will come and go, and that ultimately a woman has herself, her education and career, and a few close (women) friends that she can really depend on.

Her battles, in this narrative, are against enemies and frenemies, who are nearly always other women — not against men.

This worldview shows up in numerous recent movies and a host of articles in women’s magazines. Watch popular women’s talk shows, and this perspective is nearly always accepted as a fundamental — and undebatable — assumption.

On the other side is a growing view that men and women are very different, that each should fully engage their differences, and that both are happiest when this occurs.

As I said, this is ruffling feathers wherever the new view is shared.

Many women who agree with the historical goals of feminism — and men who view themselves as enlightened, modern, sensitive males — find this newly popular perspective corrupt, positively medieval, and above all, baffling.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about this new era of discussion about men and women is that the majority view (the “Independent Woman”) patently refuses to even entertain the growing new perspective (“Real Men/Real Women”).

It is similar to when feminism first began, and men just ignored it, discounted it, or perhaps even laughed at it. This is how the current majority Independent Woman crowd is treating the growing Real Man/New Women minority.

In case you haven’t yet heard this new perspective, it goes something like this:

  • Men are happiest when they are deeply involved in a chosen life mission that centers around their deepest interests and passions, their life purpose.
  • Women want just such a man; anything less is a letdown to them.
  • Men want a woman who will support them in this purpose and help them achieve it.
  • Women are happiest when they are helping a man who is deeply engrossed in such a life mission, and raising sons who will someday pursue just such a mission and daughters who will help a man do this as well.

For the Independent Woman crowd, the Real Man/Real Woman view sounds a lot like a modern return to the worst elements of old-style patriarchy, the very reason that feminism was invented.

But as feminism proved, just ignoring this growing minority perspective isn’t going to make it go away.

A lot of people, both men and women, swear by this rising view. For them, women are equal to men, and should have all the same opportunities in education and work. And the happiest equal men and women, they maintain, follow these simple guidelines.

Men want a woman who above all wants to support him and raise a family, and women want a man who gives his life to a central purpose and raising a family.

If a man doesn’t have a life mission, a great purpose, he isn’t going to be very happy. And his woman won’t be very impressed with him. Neither will she feel valued or fulfilled in a marriage if her spouse does not depend on her to help in a real, important purpose.

This is the immediate future of feminism, the debate between the Independent Woman viewpoint and the Real Man/Real Woman perspective. Like I said, this is making a lot of people angry.

On the humorous side, this really is a return to the beginning of the whole debate about feminism. The first shall be last and the last shall be first, I guess.

But there is one big difference this time: the Independent Woman crowd is in the majority — at least in the media, academia, government, and other centers of pop culture.

How this difference impacts the debate remains to be seen.

Just to be clear, I agree with the Real Man/Real Woman side of this argument. I’m just fine with men or women being fully independent. I think we should all have the freedom to choose what we want, and the fact that my daughters (I have 5) have as many options as my sons makes me very happy.

I also think that the happiest men are passionately focused on a great life purpose, and the happiest women are married to such men — where they help each other in the most important parts of life.

Are they equal? Of course. Are they different? Of course. Should this be used as an excuse for men to control women, or for women to control men? Of course not.

But here’s the real problem: Our modern society is structured by the elitist class to convince the rest of us not to engage a central life mission or purpose. We are taught to get an education that will give us a job, a career, working for corporations and institutions run by the upper class. We are taught that our great life passions and interests are at best hobbies.

We are taught that well-paid professional drone work is the ideal — for men and for women. We are taught that children should be trained in schools run by the policies of elitists, seeking the goals outlined by elitists for those in the middle and lower classes.

This message is being taught in nearly every school in modern America. It is being promoted from Hollywood, and encouraged by Madison Avenue. It is being increasingly regulated and enforced from Washington.

Worst of all, more and more parents teach this message to their kids: “Get good grades, get into a good college, get a good career, and spend most of your adult hours working for someone else’s profit and power. This is the key to a happy life.”

As long as this lie dominates our society, a majority of men and women are going to miss out on real life. That’s the future of feminism, manhoodism, childhoodism, socialism, and capitalism.

It’s a serious problem.

For men, women, and children.

And the only thing that has any chance of changing it is Real Man/Real Woman ism. Real Men and Real Women find a great life purpose and give their all for it. And, where possible, they do this together. This is the key to a happy life.

That’s where I stand. I hope you do too.

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odemille Why Washington Cant Be Fixed, But America Can Oliver DeMille is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling co-author of LeaderShift: A Call for Americans to Finally Stand Up and Lead, the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd.

Among many other works, he is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

Category : Blog &Culture &Current Events &Family &Generations &History &Politics

Summer Reading for YOU

June 14th, 2013 // 10:56 am @

5 Recommended Books for the Summer

by Oliver DeMille

“Dad, can you read to me more?” Meri asked me.

Surprised, I looked up from my book and responded, “Oh, sure.”

I took the book she was reading and read a chapter aloud to her. When I finished, I handed her the book.

“Thanks, Dad,” she said. “I could have read it myself, but I just love it when you read. I mean, in the winter you read to us a lot, and with all our classes and other activities it seems like I learn a lot from you, and all my other teachers.

“In the summer is when Mom reads to us the most, out on the couch on the porch, but I don’t learn as much from other people, and it seems like you don’t read to us as often.”

Meri walked away with her book, but our little conversation got me thinking. I’ve always taught that winter is the key time for family reading. But I think that summer is the most important time for kids to see their parents reading—mainly because they tend to spend less time on official “schooling” activities and more relaxed time with parents (and observing their parents’ leisure activity choices) during the summer months.

When children and youth see their parents reading a lot, they naturally value reading. When children and youth value reading, they read more.

Our choices during summer to make a huge difference in the education of our kids, and one of the most impactful things a parent can do is set the example of reading. If your kids see you reading books a lot, especially during summer leisure, not only are you filling your bucket of ideas and resources, but the example you set can drastically influence them. Reading is powerful!

On the national scale, all free societies are reading societies, and reading starts in the home!

Here’s a great summer reading list* that I’m following. I’m making sure all my children and youth see me reading these books this summer. And I’m really going deep—by reading with a highlighter and pen, taking notes and marking quotes as I go. I’m sharing these books because I hope you’ll do the same:

The Early History of Rome, by Livy

livy-the-early-history-of-rome-books-i-v-pengThis great book isn’t part of the Great Books of Western Civilization, but it could be. I want my children and youth to see that I care about history, and I’ll look for opportunities to share Livy’s stories with them and talk about the connection between reading history and being successful leaders in life.

Rascal, by Chris Brady

rascalI want my kids to know what a “rascal” is–at least the way Brady defines it. I want them to be the kind of people this book promotes, and I can’t wait for them to ask me about this book.

wnmA Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink

I want my youth to be innovative, creative, and have initiative. This is one of the hardest things to teach, but I’ll look for opportunities to discuss these things as I read this book.

Isaiah, in the Bible

I love sharing scriptural verses with the kids and discussing the meanings and lessons. It leads to a lot of important conversations with the kids about the most important topics.

Marks-VikingVoyage of a Viking, by Tim Marks

I can’t wait to talk to my kids and youth about this book! It’s about seeking for greatness, learning from your mistakes, not settling for mediocrity, and constantly improving yourself. I know the title of this book will have all my kids asking me questions about it!

 

Chillin’ and Grillin’

This week I’ve been reading these books in the evenings outside by the grill and the court where the kids play basketball, in the hot afternoons near the swamp cooler, and in the kitchen before meals and during cleanup after the family eats. I’ve taken turns with each book, so I’m a few chapters into all five of them, but I’ve had more than one discussion about each with the kids.

Tonight as dinner started, I got everyone’s attention and said, “I’m reading this awesome book. Actually, I’ve read it before but I’m re-reading it and I want to share something from it that really touched me.”

Everyone quieted down and listened. “Here goes,” I said. Then I read from Voyage of a Viking:

Kids can be pretty relentless in teasing one another, and the kids in my school were no different. I had never before been the subject of teasing and bullying, so it was a new experience for me. You see, news of my parents’ divorce got around town pretty quickly, and it wasn’t too long before the news hit my schoolyard.

The little kids in the family were leaning forward at full attention, and even the teens were paying close attention. I kept reading:

And then the teasing began. ‘There’s Tim, and he doesn’t have a dad,’ the kids would whisper to each other and taunt me.

I stopped reading and asked, “How would that make you feel?”

“I’d hate it!” Meri said forcefully. The other kids agreed.

After they shared their feelings, I asked, “Have you ever been teased like that?” We discussed this for a while, then I asked everyone, “Okay, I have another question. Have you ever teased anyone this way?”

“No way!” Meri exclaimed. She is nothing if not earnest.

“Are you sure?” I asked slowly.

Everyone considered. “Well, actually,” Meri said, then she told several stories of when she wasn’t very nice to people in her life. The other kids shared too, and we had a great conversation about being good friends and also standing up against bullying even when the victim isn’t your friend.

When I read what happened next in the book, everyone got even more interested. You’ve got to read it to get it! We spent dinner talking about this and discussing it.

At the end, I said, “I’m so excited to read the rest of this book.”

“Me too,” America said emphatically. “Meri” is nine years old, and she loves to read. I don’t know when she’ll read Voyage of a Viking, but I’ll be sharing from it and the others on my list all summer.

Actually, I’m having a hard time reading it because after our dinner discussion my visiting twenty-year old daughter Sara borrowed my copy and is reading it. Oh well, she reads fast. In the meantime, I’ve got the other four books.

Tomorrow at breakfast I’m planning to share the following quote from Livy, where he says that he is excited to write about Rome because, as he puts it:

I shall be able to turn my eyes from the troubles which for so long have tormented the modern world.

I’ll ask the family, “Why do you think people always feel that the modern, current world is so chaotic and hard and that the people in history somehow had things more simple? I mean, Livy thought this clear back in the time of Jesus Christ.”

This question is more for the teenagers, while yesterday’s conversation was perhaps more accessible to the younger kids. But everyone takes part in all of it. The older ones (me included!) bear reminding about Core Phase issues, and the younger ones benefit immensely by being including in the discussion of “serious” topics of academic and intellectual interest.

I could go on and on sharing examples of how to do this, but I’ve got a book calling to me. I’ve finished work for the day, and I want to read in the yard this evening—so I’ll be near the kids and we can talk.

Maybe I’ll teach them from one of these five books I’m reading, or maybe Meri will bring me a book of her own to read and talk about. Or perhaps we’ll all just sit in the warm evening and watch the sunset and talk. I often have the stack of all five books around with me, so I can just pick and choose which to read and share.

In any case, I’m excited to keep reading and sharing my book list this summer. This first week has been great. I can’t wait to see what we’ll learn about together in the months ahead.

Summer is a great time for education. So just get out your books, start reading, and share! The impact on freedom is huge.

 

Also check out Summer Reading for Kids >>

*Most of these books are available at your local library. Or, check the affiliate links to see amazon reviews, etc. 
 

Category : Blog &Book Reviews &Business &Citizenship &Culture &Education &Family &Generations &Independents &Leadership &Liberty &Mission &Statesmanship

Wounded by School (book review)

June 14th, 2013 // 10:13 am @

Another important book about freedom (and the lack of it) in modern education is Wounded by School by Kirsten Olson. It outlines the normal ways in which modern education hurts most children, shows the history of why schools adopt such harmful policies, and suggests real solutions.

bk_woundedFor example, Olson writes: “Many theorists suggest that the purpose of schools is to mold and shape individual self-concept so that pupils will accept a particular place in society…” Is this really what you want for your children?

On a larger scale, what is the impact on freedom of raising a generation of youth to “accept a particular place in society”? This is a class system, pure and simple.

Olson points out that “Schools are deliberately designed to sort and track” students into order to promote the class system. Olson also suggests that among the key ways modern schools wound students are things like the following:

  • I felt sick in school.
  • I’m in the middle.
  • I must comply.
  • I can’t measure up.
  • I am better than those below me.
  • I must impress my superiors.
  • What I want isn’t as important as what my betters want.
  • Creativity must be secret—my focus must be conformity.
  • Learning isn’t fun.

And for parents: “I feel helpless about saving my child,” and “The experts know what my kids need more than I do.”

Olson’s solutions center around bringing freedom back into schooling. Indeed, this is the focus of a lot of cutting-edge books and research on education.

Above all, we need to be clear about one thing: Freedom works. It does. Freedom is the best choice in society and also in education. If you are a parent or teacher, you have more power than you know. I highly recommend this book.

 

Category : Blog &Book Reviews &Culture &Education &Family &Leadership

The Creativity Quotient

May 22nd, 2013 // 4:11 pm @

creativityI recently learned about the Creativity Quotient (CQ) from an article by bestselling author Roy H. Williams.

I’ve long been a fan of Williams’s Wizard Academy and his books, especially Wizard of Ads and  Free the Beagle.

The Creativity Quotient provides a whole new level of analyzing education, and more people need to understand it.

As Williams put it: “All across America, our 2nd graders score higher on CQ tests than our high schoolers. Evidently, compliance and conformity come at a price. Children starting school this year will retire in 2072…. CQ is 3 times more reliable as an indicator of career success than IQ.”

This is a serious issue for a nation that is losing its leadership edge in the world—precisely because we don’t effectively teach innovation in most of our schools.

CQ measures four types of learning and thinking:

Fluency. This measures, according to Williams, “The total number of interpretable, meaningful, and relevant ideas developed in response to the stimulus.”

Flexibility. “The number of different categories of relevant responses.”

Originality. “The statistical rarity of the responses.”

Elaboration. “The amount of detail in the responses.”

Together these offer a profound, and effective, way of measuring how much a student has actually learned—and to what extent he or she is able to apply valuable knowledge.

This is a much more effective gauge of learning than IQ (Intelligent Quotient) or even the more current EQ (Emotional Intelligence).

Our nation needs this way of scrutinizing education.

The most recent educational trend, at least in the public school system, is known as “accountability,” but this has followed the pattern of Education 2000 and No Child Left Behind, meaning that it emphasizes conformity, rote learning, and institutional compliance rather than truly quality learning.

In contrast, CQ provides an objective measurement tool that can really get to the heart of great education.

If students consistently increase their fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration skills in a certain school, classroom or home, the educational system there is clearly working.

If not, something needs to be improved.

If we applied this to all public and private schools, as well as higher education, we’d see the need to make real changes at almost all levels of schooling.

While all great education is ultimately individualized, CQ is the best institutionalized measure I’ve seen—because it seeks and measures objectives that actually have everything to do with quality education.

It’s about time.

In a world where nearly every institutional measure, including so-called “accountability,” has to do with benefitting the educational bureaucracy and justifying the status quo (especially current budgets), CQ can genuinely be used to improve the education of future leaders.

Whether this will catch on in any significant way remains to be seen, but most likely it will only be widely used in the non-traditional education sector, from cutting-edge charter schools and Montessori programs to home schools and upstart private schools (what Daniel Coyle has called “chicken-wire Harvards”).

I suppose it shouldn’t surprise anyone that schools focused on innovation are usually promoted by entrepreneurs and innovators rather than by the educational establishment.

Parents, teachers and educators who are genuinely interested in great education—more than trying to impress the declining but powerful educational bureaucracy—will find that CQ is a valuable tool.

Indeed, it was foreshadowed by bestselling futurist Alvin Toffler who wrote in Revolutionary Wealth that truly successful schools will replace rote memorization and a culture of intellectual conformity with creative thinking, personalized learning plans and individual mentoring.

Another way to say this is simply that great education is based on the principle of “Inspire, not Require,” as outlined in A Thomas Jefferson Education.

To summarize this view: Our children have genius inside, and the real purpose of education is to help them detect, develop and use their inner genius to serve and improve the world.

Most schools aren’t pursuing this fundamental goal of education any more, but parents, teachers and educators who really care can make sure that such learning is offered to the students they work with.

The 7 Keys of Thomas Jefferson Education outline how to do this.

This may seem idealistic to some people, but education is by definition concerned with ideals.

In fact, if anything, we need a lot more idealism in our educational system.

We need a serious return to innovation—the future of our nation and economy literally depends on it.

For those who are professional educators, either as teachers or administrators (or who have friends who are), I hope they’ll study and pass along the emerging ideals of CQ.

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odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

Category : Blog &Book Reviews &Education &Family &Featured &Leadership

Is Feminism Over?

January 24th, 2013 // 9:12 pm @

“Though it might be naïve, [this generation has] a belief that friendships are forever,
whereas most dating relationships are expected to end.”
Psychology Today, January/February 2013

“Are Girlfriends the New Husbands?” This is the title of an article in the January 2013 issue of Marie Claire magazine.

The article goes on to say that the person many women now count on most for things like support in the delivery room, help with financial or career problems, or someone to talk to about one’s biggest challenges, is not a husband, but a best girl friend.

For example, the article states:

  • “In place of marriage, there’s a new, ultramodern partnership that melds the camaraderie and loyalty of a friendship with the intimacy, support, and pragmatism of a husband.”

 

  • “Across the nation, tens of thousands of single women are in committed quasi-unions with their closest confidents, behaving like married couples in virtually every respect (except for the sex, of course). They hit up family functions together, stand in as emergency contacts on doctors’ forms, even cosign mortgages together.”

 

  • “…if your mother’s been nudging you to settle down and find a husband already, tell her to relax, you’ve kind of, sort of, already got one.”

 

  • “A record 46 percent of adults 25 to 34 are unmarried, according to the Pew Research Center, a figure likely to climb even higher given how dim a view Millennials [born between 1984 and 2001] have of the institution: 44 percent think marriage is altogether obsolete.”

This is an interesting addition to the post gender-war world where over half of marriages end in divorce and the traditional roles of men and women are just interesting historical traditions for many in the younger generations.

While (as the article points out) best friends have always been important to women, and many women feel that the person they can truly count on isn’t a husband but rather a close female friend, the core change is that now this relationship is increasingly the ideal for many women in their twenties and thirties.

The concept of a husband becoming their closest confident and best friend is losing ground, replaced by the expectation that a husband can never fully fulfill the roles that a friend always will.

Indeed, many young women today expect marriage to be rocky, but they idealize friendship and hold their female friends to very high standards.

Many girls and women “think that friendship has to be perfect,” as Psychology Today put it.

The article in Marie Claire noted that “a 2010 study found that young, urban single women outearn their male counterparts by 8 percent…”

For today’s generation of women ages 20-35, who make more money than men their age and get most of their emotional support and friendship from other women, feminism is just an era of history.

What is there to fight for when they’ve won?

On the other hand, in the major magazines targeted to men from this same generation, many young males think they’ve won the jackpot.

For example, in the January 2013 issues of GQ, Esquire, and Men’s Health, there are numerous articles giving tips for how to have more frequent and better intimate relations—none of them assume that such sexual relations carry any long-term responsibility or commitment.

Many single men in the 20-35 generation see life as endless freedom, plentiful intimacy, and few obligations, and they are content with women earning more in such an environment.

It seems that in a culture where sex isn’t limited to the bounds of marriage, men are less likely to commit and women end up replacing the ideal of husbands with best friends.

The January/February 2013 issue of Psychology Today may have put its finger on the core issue:

“Only religions still take sex seriously, in the sense of properly respecting its power to turn us away from our priorities. Only religions see it as something potentially dangerous and needed to be guarded against…. Religions are often mocked for being prudish, but they wouldn’t judge sex to be quite so bad if they didn’t understand that it could be rather wonderful.”

Within marriage, most religions hold, sex is part of the human ideal—outside of marriage commitments, it can be a real danger to personal happiness and societal progress.

In any case, for many people of the rising generation the feminism debate is over.

The question that remains is whether today’s young will really change their ideals.

Will they continue to see single life, career fulfillment, a series of romantic relationships void of commitment, and close friends as the accomplishment of their dreams, or will they, like past generations, desire lives built around marriage, children raised in traditional families, hearth and home.

While such words may sound out-of-date to some modern ears, the truly surprising thing would be if this generation doesn’t eventually return to these “quaint, outdated” definitions of success, happiness and fulfillment.

If it really does reject the values of marriage and hearth, it will be the first generation in history to do so voluntarily.

Despite current trends, it’s highly doubtful that this will happen.

I’m convinced that deep down this generation is a lot more old-fashioned than it knows.

Time will tell.

 

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odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.

Category : Culture &Current Events &Family &Featured &Generations

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