Despite most members of the gender revolution wanting an egalitarian position when it comes to work and family, both the men and women that Gerson talks to in The Unfinished Revolution have fallback positions. However, these fallbacks differ in accordance to gender.
For women, the fallback position is self-reliance. Ideally, most of the young women discuss family and careers in terms of having it all. However, they realize that their standards for relationships and what they want out of them are extremely high. However, seeing their mother’s mixed messages, especially those of homemaker mothers who encouraged their daughters to get a good career and work hard, have pushed them to the fallback position of self-reliance. For most of the women who chose self-reliance, their fears allowed for this to become their fallback. They discuss marriage as being a potential false security, especially in a world where marriage is not considered permanent. They realize that to have the life and stability you need and desire, you must create that for yourself. One young woman feels the need to be self-reliant so she does not lose who she is as a person and has control over her own life and surroundings. (Gerson, 137) These women want to be able to support themselves and their potential families in a world where marriage is optional and reversible. They know from their own and their parents’ experiences, that financial situations and supporting a family can take a huge hit when couples separate, and these women don’t want to find themselves in a situation in which they cannot take care of themselves. (Gerson, 139) The main fear for these women who believe self-reliance is the best fallback is simply that of future stability.
For men, their fallback is that of a neotraditional outlook. However, ideally, they would like to have it all, just like women. They want to be involved fathers who are also earning a decent living. One young man discusses the desire to be a parent in in more than just a bread-winning way, wanting to provide for the child’s needs in more ways than financially. (Gerson, 161) Many other young men expressed the same sentiment. However, the main fear driving these men to their neotraditionalism fallback is that of financial failure. They feel that, despite the desire to be involved and different fathers than is traditional, a man should provide financially for their family. Many of them see the hardships of a two-career family where both parents are working (Gerson, 168) and that they should be the ones to take on the work role if need be. Many men want to be a significant part of their children’s lives but they feel the societal and workforce pressure to work hard and be a part of their children’s lives in that way, despite wanting a balance. For many of these young men, they see their egalitarian relationships and equality as a choice that can eventually result in their necessary work roles and their...