Who is society? Who made it? Who decided?
We are society. You are society.
Society changes, change is fearsome, change is hard, there are always people resisting change. Lock it down, stop it, don't change it, this decade was perfect (for some group) and we could do it again right without all the discrimination and cruelty...or could we?
By age 3 I do not trust adults, with very good reasons from a small child's perspective. So I watch the adults. I do not model my mother or my father because adults are not trustworthy. They do insane illogical things. Why?
As a female I note that half of marriages end in divorce. Women usually but not always have the children with them. Men get new wives, new children. My mother says that my sister and I are both "diaphragm babies" -- birth control failed. So birth control is not reliable.
Girls and boys are treated differently. It's annoying. By eighth grade, the girls are dropping out of math and science. Not me. I like math and it's easy. Science is important: actual study and experimentation, not some book written by men 2000 years ago and now with over 3000 different versions each claiming the only right path to heaven. And heaven, well, I have to live life here. Give it my best. The afterlife will have to take care of itself.
I want children. I do not want to be a wife. Too many many many older women, dumped, divorced, trying to raise the children and get child support. If a marriage ends, then the man no longer wants any relationship with the woman, complains about splitting the money, and often abandons the children. As if the men are more romantic than the women and also more selfish. If they decide it was not true love after all, they throw the woman out. Clearly wife is a job that dead ends more often than not in poverty. Men seem to want a wife and then they don't. They have no respect for the job of wife. Women make 70 cents on the dollar.
I read the children's books. In the Little House series, as soon as Laura gets married, she is not allowed to teach school. 1860s. Only single women may teach school. In Louisa May Alcott's books, words about how women can be shining examples of ethics to men and girls to boys. 1880s. In the bible, a man works for seven years to earn a wife, and then another seven years to earn her sister as wife. Are women property or do the men have to prove their ability to provide? So where did the men as providers come from and whose fault is it? It all revolves around birth control and control of the womb, doesn't it? The King Hereafter, where the victor "lies with" the widowed queen, and then returns nine months later to "lie with" her again. To be clear that any offspring are his.
Women are vulnerable during pregnancy. Newborns are vulnerable. Newborns are a lot of work. Women can miscarry, can get sick, can die during pregnancy. Before caesarean sections, in a failed delivery a woman would have contractions until the womb wall thins and ruptures. Mother and child bleed to death together.
If I want children and the money to raise them, I want a career. Wife is unpaid and unappreciated and unstable. A wife's work does not count towards the gross national product. I go to college and look at graduate school. I work in a lab at NIH and realize: family practice physician. Endless learning, study people, and not tied to either a university or publish or perish. Medical school.
And a husband who not only is happy to have me earning but also will stay home with the children while small. It works for us. We don't care what society says.
It breaks down after a decade. Not because he minds me earning. I struggle for a while to understand. He needs to get away as our son reaches 12, because he needs to grow up too. And truly away. So I end it and he returns to school. To everyone's surprise he finishes his degree and works. The children are with me but he calls them 5 days a week the first year. And stays in contact. And helps them.
Society doesn't like me. I don't like it back. And I continue to work to change it. My small town physician culture takes a decade and then says, you are right. I brought up burn out in 2002. I fought a too high quota of patients in 2009. I thought that opioids were a major problem all the way back to medical school. The medical society doesn't like it. They don't like me. But they are now saying what I said a decade or more ago.
My grandmother was a housewife to a physician professor psychiatrist. And she paid my medical school tuition. Because she was delighted that I too wanted to be a physician.
We live in a democracy. We live in change. We are society. We are change.
How much work does it take to change what society says? How much courage? The stages of grief: denial, bargaining, anger, grief and acceptance.....