We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: But a Long Way to Where?

Print Friendly

March 1, 2001

Janice Shaw Crouse, Senior Fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, presented the Forester Lecture Monday Night, February 26, 2001 at Huntington College, Huntington, Indiana on the topic of women’s well being during the 20th Century. Crouse added another phrase to the well-known slogan–“We’ve come a long way, Baby … but a long way to where?” Reviewing the findings of the recently released report from the Beverly LaHaye Institute, Gaining Ground: A Profile of American Women in the Twentieth Century, she pointed out the need “to reclaim the family for the children of the 21st Century.”

Crouse reported that the trends of the past century have caused family breakdown and disintegration in civil society. She said, “We are in the midst of a blizzard of change … and we are reaping the whirlwind.”

Here are some excerpts from her speech:

  • In many respects that television program [Sex in the City] is a metaphor for how far women have come and where it got us. Women have more opportunities than at any other time in history–all four women on Sex in the City have pretty spectacular careers: a high powered attorney, a public relations executive, an art dealer and a newspaper columnist. But as portrayed on the show, not a single one of them is happy about where her life has taken her.
  • The 1960s saw relations between men and women, parents and children begin to unravel. First, there was the free-love phase of the sexual revolution followed by the alienation phase, which ultimately morphed, into the politically correct phase. The 1960s saw the beginnings of 40 years of wandering in a bitter wilderness of ever increasing hostility between the sexes under the tutelage of radicals like Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and Germaine Greer. Marriage rates began to drop like a rock and toward the end of the decade with the introduction of no-fault divorce the upward trend in divorce took a much steeper ascent.
  • Feminism promised them [women] “free” sex. It held up the illusion of careers without consequences for children. The seductive voices beckoned–crying out that life is about exploring, experimenting, excitement–being the perpetual adolescent. No strings, move on, go for it. So what if you get burned–you haven’t lived if you don’t have memories of some wild times. Forget the scars–it’s the memories of those moments of joyous madness that make life real. But, many of the women who were taken in by the myths have found that they’ve paid an exorbitant hidden tax–the “free sex” has brought on a scourge of sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, cohabitation and disconnectedness; others have found that their jobs and upscale lifestyles have become an unbearable burden.

Leave a Reply