Feminism and Happiness

“. . . no one seems particularly interested in discussing whether or why women’s happiness might be declining. Rather, they appear to merely make sure that everyone knows that ‘feminism’ is not to blame and that McInnes is a Bad Person for criticizing it.”

This is from the very well-resourced Umlaut article “Is Feminism Making Women Less Happy?” which stands on its own. It’s worth taking the couple hours to follow up on all the links! In a nutshell, the author asserts that yes, the evidence indicates it might be, and that refusing to even recognize the question exists ensures the problem will persist, harming both feminism and women.

The reason for the unhappiness is both more simple and more complex than any of the links in the article argue. Women aren’t the same as men, not physiologically nor mentally. Different things make men and women happy. Even if that wasn’t true, men aren’t “happy” with soul-sucking cubicle jobs all the time either.

But men have a special secret weapon: they aren’t nurturers, they are providers. Men are, for the most part, best made happy when they are materially taking care of their responsibilities. That’s why men with the means prefer to pay for their dates instead of going dutch – it makes them feel “right.” And that’s why men have suffered through the most hellish, soul-sucking, dangerous jobs imaginable: it’s not their dream job playing in a rock band or play-testing top video games, but it feeds the family, even if it’s incredibly menial and meaningless.

The original women’s rights leaders, at least from the more modern wave of the 1960s, were not going to work in those cubicles or dishing out hash browns at the local diner, like most women who have jobs. They were, rather, scholars and activists, student lawyers and professionals. They had jobs that were not putting one screw on one bolt, or processing the hundred and fiftieth insurance policy application of the day. Their jobs meant something. And they were right: it’s stupid to lock talented people out just because they have a womb instead of a penis.

But to achieve their goal of being treated equally, they insisted that ALL women should take on the same desire: that all women should be able to work just like all men. And they apparently did not understand that most jobs are not those scholarly positions, but rather the dishing-out-hash-browns positions.

Now here’s the problem: women DO have wombs, and they DO have differently wired brains. They are physiologically and mentally primed to take care of social groups physically and emotionally – that’s why even single women with no families yet tend to have strong social groups with deep emotional connections. Guys love their friends, but they do not nurture their friends.

More, women need to exercise those strong nurturing desires, and not just for a few hours after work. Women working in those soul-sucking cubicle jobs yearn for their children, worry about their friends, and look for companionship, any companionship. That’s not a problem in some occupations: teaching, the medical professions, social work, and certain segments of legal, for instance, all provide ample opportunity on the job for women to nurture and care for others. Not surprisingly, those are the occupations with high concentrations of women.

But CEOs don’t nurture. Insurance claims adjusters often can’t have hearts. Accountants deal mostly with numbers, not people. Programmers work with code, not children. There are happy, fulfilled women in all those positions, of course – but they are not the norm. Each of these fields and positions is dominated by men, who are motivated primarily by material provision for the family.

Yet today’s women’s rights leaders push for women to be equally represented in these fields too. THAT IS DUMB. In order for women to be well-represented in these less-nurturing fields, one of two things must happen: you must allow every woman into those positions, regardless of her qualifications for them. That locks out men who are better qualified, disadvantaging any business or organization who hires all-female-comers. That means women in those positions achieve less overall than the men – and low achievement reflects poorly on all women in that field, reinforcing prejudices rather than deconstructing them.

The other way to have equal representation in these fields is to require women to go into them. That is self-evidently a bad idea.

The solution here is simple (and complex): first, stop bean counting! It doesn’t matter what sex your accountant is, as long as the work is done properly. And second, let our daughters and bright young women know they have the right to pursue happiness, in whatever shape it takes. Too many feminists condemn stay-at-home moms, and too many men STILL think women can’t be good engineers. They are both wrong. But you can’t force long-standing attitudes to change overnight, even with legislation. Instead, we need to teach our children to love others and judge them for their true qualities, not prejudices either feminism or tradition has saddled them with. It’s a long fight, but a good and worthy one.

 

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