For women, the end of the twentieth century
is no big deal.
After Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem
we had hoped for better things,
but where has all that consciousness raising gotten us?
We are stretched thin,
trying to fill the shoes of our mothers
while pushing our way
into the world of our fathers.
Meantime, we are blamed
for the problems of our children.
Some harsh master or mistress expects us to be all things,
having an ageless body,
incredible orgasms on demand,
and the calm nature of a Zen master.
We try for a little spiritual sustenance,
only to be bombarded by articles in women’s magazines
blithering about decorating the perfect house
in the 1950’s style.
At the same time
we are expected to whip up
a gourmet meal in twenty minutes,
not forgetting our aim
of losing twenty pounds
in ten days.
Men are discovering their inner feminine nature
as we go off to offices
dressed in tailored navy slack suits,
leaving the children in the hands of tired workers
at the local day care center.
Some call this “the sandwich generation.”
Often we must care for aging parents
while trying to cope with rebellious teenagers.
We wonder what the new century will bring.
We begin to long for the dull world of our mothers,
who stayed at home to suckle their babies
and be there with milk and cookies
when the kindergartners came home from school.
We are told that now we can have it all.
I can’t help wondering
what “all” is.
© Peggy Latham, 2012
|Gloria Steinem, 1972: Photo from|