Tuesday, March 31, 2009

There was no greatest generation

Veneration of the past always amazes me. When people talk about the good ol' days I am always very tempted to inform them of just what it was like in the "good ol' days" what with lack of sanitation, life expectancy lasting a whole 40 years and just where you could end up unless you were born into the upper crust of society.

I don't know how the rosy glasses of the past happens but I wonder if it isn't because we want to pretend at one point we all lived in a utopia or something. So then you see people saying this latest generation is the worst and ruining the world. In fact they've been saying that since ancient greek.

Like this quote attributed to Socrates by Plato "The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt forauthority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in placeof exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of theirhouseholds. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. Theycontradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up daintiesat the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."

You can easily picture an old grandfather sitting in a grocery store sipping coffy saying the exact same thing about us 20 somethings.

I've been reading an interesting website called Sociological Images that raises questions about just what influence societal assumptions has on ads and came across an old handbook from the 1940's when women were entering the workforce in droves due to the war.

It was clearly created to help all those poor male bosses who suddenly have to deal with this influx of women. Click on the image to see the bigger version or here. I think the author would be a bit surprised to find out this "husky girl" is not as even tempered as he assumed.

Though what saddens me the most is the realization that despite 70 years of clamoring for acceptance I know quite a few people that would still agree with those stereotypes. The veneration of the past means that we can never show how demeaning things are now without someone saying that things were better when the little woman stayed in the kitchen and shut up.

EDITED TO ADD: I just came across this little poster from a fairly recent book about how guys should deal with women. Makes me want to go live in a cave for a while:


Leslie said...

I think the only one thing that I agree with there is the swearing thing. But honestly, I don't know a man that would be happy working where he's constantly being sworn at. Its really scary that people thought that way. What's scarier still is that many people still think that way. I'm sure glad my bosses don't give me huge lists of things to get done. I need a list, but I'd rather make it myself and prioritize it that way. And I totally agree with the (un)even tempered thing. I can be damn moody if I want to be (as you likely know).

Linda said...

Yes people still think that way! I get told all the time I should ask for a man to help me with large boxes. Ha! I do it myself thankyouverymuch! Our mothers and grandmothers had to deal with so much to get publications like that put out of print. I thank them for continuing to work and change some people's minds!

Chesney said...

Great topic which I am sure will get a large response! Us women need to stick together!

Elizabeth said...

"Never ridicule a woman" as it damages her self esteem and efficiency...'cause, yeah, I know TONS of men who have NO PROBLEM with being ridiculed at work.

Cate Subrosa said...

Thanks for directing me to that website, there's loads of really interesting stuff on there.

I had to laugh at point 3 on "husky" women being of a better temperament... plenty of people would certainly still say that now!