1. If men are to begin to share in the “work of love” we will have to change our ways of loving them. This means, among other things, that we cease praising and being grateful to the fathers of our children when they take some partial share in their care and nurture. (No woman is considered “special” because she carries out her responsibilities as a parent; not to do so is considered a social crime.) It also means that we cease treating men as if their egos were of eggshell, or as if the preservation of a masculine ego at the expense of an equal relationship were even desirable. It means that we begin to expect of men, as we do of women, that they can behave as our equals without being applauded for it or singled out as “exceptional”; and that we refuse them the traditional separation between “love” and “work”.

    They will not, for a long time, see this as a new form of love. We will be told we are acting and speaking out of hatred; that we are becoming “like them”; that they will perish emotionally without our constant care and attention. But through centuries of suckling men emotionally at our breasts we have also been told that we were polluted, devouring, domineering, masochistic, harpies, bitches, dykes, and whores. We are slowly learning to discredit these recitals, including the one that begins, “Mothers are more real than other women.”

    – Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution, Tenth Anniversary Edition (Virago Press, 1992, first published 1976), p216

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