Back in the day, it came from those things.

I remember watching a documentary about farmers in an isolated enclave somewhere out west. And one guy wanted to marry his girlfriend an he recollected that the first time he saw her, he knew he had to have her. The way she fed the chickens, the way she picked the corn, the way she got up early to milk the cows. He knew she would be a good farm wife and that was all a man like him wanted.

When a woman, in a traditional culture, had healthy babies and worked the farm and cooked hearty meals, etc., she was cherished and she knew her role and value in the bigger scheme of things. Not saying she might nt have been oppressed, too. Or whatever. But in her mind, she had value. She wasn't on Prozac, she wasn't trying to kill herself, she wasn't drinking herself blind at the saloon and letting different guys climb on top of her. Maybe she was bored and maybe she didn't have rights, but she wasn't questioning her reason for being born or wishing she was dead. (Not saying it's OK for ppl not to have equal rights.)

But as roles change, ppl have to carve out new niches for themselves and it doesn't always work. Well, yes, I can cook a great, hearty meal for my family and use what I don't cook for clothing and to grease the wagon wheel axles. But oh wait, my family likes McDonald's and my househusband shops at the gap. Cow fat isn't indicated for the BMW I can't afford.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
Okay so you're tying career(in this case farmer/full time mother) to self esteem. I can see it tied more directly to self worth and then to self esteem, the two usually go hand in hand. I don't see how it's different now. Most people still work but I don't think they revolve their self worth around their career or jobs as much anymore but many still do.

I get the religion thing, you need a reason/explanation for your purpose in life.
Originally Posted by Josephine
How are you defining self esteem? (So many different definitions of it.)

I think the difference with it now (moving away from traditional gender roles) is that there are no clear cut ways to be relevent and demonstrate that you are succeeding at whatever it is you are supposed to be doing.

Generations ago, women felt if the kids were healthy and the house was clean and the meals were served up hot when the husband walked thru the door, she was a good wife and an asset to her family and community.

But that's not enough anymore. Most men don't want that anymore and society doesn't reward it. Now there are all these other things she needs to do to feel a sense of self worth: look like a movie star, compete w/ men at work, climb the corporate ladder, run the McMansion, raise the bratty spoiled kids (w/o grandma and grandpa around to help bc you moved away), fight to keep a marriage together that's statistically likely to end in divorce, etc., opening your own doors and paying for dates and buying your own condoms and calling him first. Making the empowered decision to allow your husband consume porn and making the empowered decision to walk off a good-paying job bc you were asked to make coffee. And being labeled a bad employee bc you're a good mom or a bad mom bc you are a good employee. And being a bad daughter in law bc you did both differently than your mother in law wanted.

Just a lot more stuff than women a century ago had to contend with.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
Wow lol, I don't relate to any of this. I have heard of it though for women a bit older than me that have superman standards, which is why that 'lean in' book was written. I think there are probably people my age that feel that way too.

Why isn't succeeding at one's career, being able to support yourself and a family enough for many of these women? I don't understand working women who want 2 full time jobs(outside the home and taking care of a home/family as good as a full time stay at home mom), its not possible.

I think the pressures you mentioned are self inflicted. If she doesn't want to be 'empowered' by holding her own doors, competing at work with men and women, make a lot of money, etc, that's fine, there are many traditional men that may like that and will provide and play that role. There are a lot of men though that want to have their cake and eat it too - have a woman contribute equally in finances(or more) but then expect her to do most of the domestic duties.