I read an article the other day that made me really sad. It said young women are the biggest users of Facebook. That the first thing many young women do every morning, is log into Facebook.
The article said the survey-takers weren't sure why, and maybe it has something to do with young women feeling particularly disconnected, and Facebook is a way of trying to feel less disconnected.
But they didn't pursue why that would be.
Is it possible that there are a lot of women who are being deprived of careers now? I read another article that said most people in the world, including the US, believe that when jobs are scarce, it's more important for men to have them.
Among the many books I've been reading lately, one is a compendium of interviews that Bill Moyers did with a bunch of poets. Every once in a while, I happen upon something in there that really strikes a chord.
So I'm about halfway through the book and got to this interview with a Japanese American poet named Garrett Kaoru Hongo.
Bill asks him why he decided to write poetry and he says
I was experiencing a social and historical sadness
He says he wanted to connect with the history that was repressed.
Bill says "Repressed in what sense?"
He says I wanted the words I was reading to belong to me, but there were no words for me. He talks about how there wasn't anything in his high school textbooks about Japanese in America. That they weren't there when the US gained independence from Britain or during the Civil War.
This is something that always bothered me. Somehow we were supposed to be thrilled that Martha Washington sewed the flag? I never enjoyed history class until college. Before that, it was always taught as if the women weren't even around. The men were off having important conventions and signing important paperwork and the women were at home making butter. Anybody see John Adams?
Hongo says: I felt I didn't have an identity
Then there's this long story about how Hongo's grandfather told him about how he was treated by the American government and how angry he was. And so he was basically charged with telling his grandfather's story. Somehow, to speak for him.
I don't know about you, but my mother and my grandmother and great-grandmother always expressed disappointment that they didn't get to pursue their career dreams. That they were held back by their families, by society's expectations, by the men coming back from the war and taking all the jobs.
Hongo says: I was basically indoctrinated in a Western vision of articulation, of speaking to emotional and historical issues, but my experience was one of repression.
Lately I feel like even when I'm just expressing an opinion, just telling the story of my personal experience, I'm being told to shut up. That it's my imagination. That it can't be true. That it's dangerous to say what I think. Or that things will change on their own (!). Or that I'm just being too negative. Or that I'm discriminating against men if I say anything that implies women don't actually have equality.
It makes me sad.
For example, I know this guy who really feels a lot of frustration about being a white man these days. He feels like all the women and minorities get all these fellowships and clubs and opportunities and he's left out. He thinks his career is in jeopardy because of that.
So when he had a daughter I thought, "Oh good, maybe now he'll learn what it's like."
But I don't think so. He's a big fan of John Tierney's.
Now I'm just worried for that little girl. Even though she's not old enough for Facebook yet.