“The most dangerous phrase in the language is, “we’ve always done it this way.” – Admiral Grace Hopper
The old feminist story goes once upon a time in the land of patriarchy, men openly oppressed women because of their gender. They hid them away at home, fathers forced their daughters to marry, and husbands forced their wives to be mothers. Women had no choice but to comply and depend on men for their economic survival.
Feminism saw this was wrong. They wanted to liberate women to earn their own money, to build a career, and to be economically independent. Feminism gave women a choice to marry, reproductive rights, and sought to level the playing field of economic imbalances. In fighting for womens’ right to choose her own path, we as women are working towards all equality amongst men and women. Nice fairy tale, except it is utter bullshit.
Feminism as a political movement rose accordingly with economic growth. Our current economic realities are based on production and consumption. In the 1950’s we had nationwide abundance of goods through an abundance of production. In the 1950’s the United States produced 36% of the world’s Gross National Product (GNP). Economic prosperity was found in all of America.
Modern day appliances of convenience were mass produced. This included washing machines, dryers, vacuums, dish washing machines, toasters, and coffee makers. Prior to this revolution of convenience for women their time was spent on completing housework, raising children, and comforting their husbands. A combination of less housework and services caring for children led to large numbers of women entering the workforce.
In the late 1940’s after the victory in World War II, the population experienced the largest baby boom in American history. The Baby Boomer Generation consisted of 78 million babies born during 1946-1964. These babies were born at the height of our economic prosperity. The Baby Boomers came of age during a period of good wages, good jobs, cheap products, cheap education, and cheap housing.
It is no coincidence that second wave feminism occurred from within the Baby Boomer generation. In the 1960’s and 1970’s we were at our economic peak. We had a balance of mass production and mass consumption. This secured fair wages aligning with stable employment. Those wages were used to buy goods, invest in infrastructure, and circulated within the local economy.
Unfortunately, the peak of production happened in the 1970’s at our moment of peak oil. For those not familiar with peak oil, it is the moment when easily accessible oil starts to decline. The energy scare of the 1970’s was that peak oil moment. With oil more difficult to obtain, the price of oil rose, in turn raising the costs of production. Mass production began to decline and was eventually outsourced to other countries. Following the decline of production was the decline of wages and decline of employment opportunities.
Every economic chart has a bell curve the same as the bell curve of peak oil. This includes housing, higher education, wages, food, utilities, stocks and debt. The top of the bell curve is economic stability before the contraction of the economy. Millennials were born at the top of the bell curve, but we are coming of age at the teetering point of the downturn.
We are decades behind the moment of peak oil due to monetary manipulation initiated by the Nixon Shock. The Nixon Shock severed the U.S. Dollars’ value from the intrinsic value of gold. This happen right at the very top of the peak oil bell curve. The monetary system has been trying to keep up gains of a deteriorating economy through debt for the past 40 years. This monetary policy is about to send the United States into a downward spiral until it all resembles the decay of Detroit.
Through the contraction of the economy we are going to experience the contraction of all the economic gains of feminism. Female dominated professions are declining in the quantity of employment opportunities. Wages have stagnated or begun to fall in female dominated fields. The return of investment on liberal arts degrees is swiftly declining. Leaving many young women with large piles of student loan debt.
Currently we are on the top of the roller coaster where the clicking noise stops, the ride stops, and we feel the angle facing downward. The calm moment before the jerk plunges us down the bell curve and sets into motion the reversal of gains acquired from the Industrial Revolution.