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Why do men have problems dealing with women who were born after 1960?

United States in the 1960s was a country in flux. The rise of the civil rights movement and (by the mid-1960s) the escalating Vietnam War protests created a significant polarization between people agitating for fundamental social change and those defending the status quo.

Against this backdrop of turbulence, the late 1960s saw the rise of Women's Liberation, a mostly middle-class social movement that focused on several critical issues in a male-dominated society: women as wage earners; women and sexuality; women and violence; and the proposed 1972 Equal Rights Amendment.

In the 1970s, Women's Liberation gave root to the philosophy of feminism and what ultimately became known as the women's movement. The women's movement made profound, enduring changes, creating a society in which the roles of both women and men became much more ambiguous and flexible. Boys and girls who came of age after 1960 found themselves in a world in which their roles were not nearly as well-defined as those of their parents and grandparents.

Men, who were already different from women in important ways, now found themselves struggling to understand a changing social environment in which their needs and desires were often ignored, trivialized or disparaged.

Although it is tempting to view our personal problems — especially relationship problems — as unique and idiosyncratic, we must recognize that we are part of a society that is strongly influenced by post-1960 changes that have not yet matured. As a result, both men and women live in a world in which their roles, their personal goals and expectations, and the pressures of society upon individuals are still, to a significant degree, contradictory and disorienting.

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