Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The feminist betrayal of women

The ugly secret of feminism is that it has not made women better off or happier. In fact just the opposite is true.

The Wall Street Journal asks: Why aren't women happier? and it is a fascinating question. It comes in response to a new report on the general happiness of women in America that just came out and shockingly it turns out that women are less happy now than they were 35 years ago. What?! How can that be? Allow me to express some thoughts….

(In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not a woman)

Some of the theories behind this from the secular media have to do with women not acclimating to their new opportunities quickly enough, that these great opportunities make women feel depressed because they haven’t gained the whole world all at once. In other words, expectations rose faster than social change and women felt left behind. So the problem is not the enormous shift in women’s roles and expectations, but rather because things haven’t changed in reality fast enough.

May I pose a different theory? Women are not as happy because feminism has sold them a mess of pottage. A small handful of women convinced vast swaths of the rest of the women in this country that what they thought they really wanted was not only not what they wanted but that in fact desiring to be a wife and a mom was something to be ashamed of. Even now women who choose to stay at home with their children are accused of “letting down the team”, which assume that the “cause” of feminism takes priority over the raising of children.

Thirty five years ago, in 1974, the percentage of women in the work force was much lower than it is today. With the advent of mass contraception, it was far easier for women to control, delay or even prevent having children. This helped drive women into the workforce in greater and greater numbers. According to the Department of Labor, in 2008 59.5% of women were in the workforce (defined as working or actively looking for work). In 2002, 55% of women with infant children were in the workforce versus 31% in 1976. This has led to the creation of more than 687,000 daycare centers.Women are already 46.5% of the workforce and with layoffs hitting male dominated professions, it is quite possible that we will see even this year women becoming the majority of the workforce. That is a big deal culturally to have our workforce become majority female. Women are working more and in a wider variety of industries and professions than ever before. Yet they are less happy.

Meanwhile, as women enter the workforce a couple of things happen simultaneously. The number of workers goes up and that supply has a negative impact on labor demand and wages. As society shifts to a two income family labor and wage norm, it becomes progressively harder to make it on one income. The cause and effect are the inverse of what we are told; it is harder to survive on one income precisely because so many families have elected the two income model. Take away the accessibility of revolving credit, leading to enormous amounts of unsecured debt driven consumption, and I think you would find that the buying power of a single income family 35 years ago is pretty similar to the buying power of a two income family today.

While mothers and fathers are working, houses sit empty during the day and children are warehoused somewhere else. Generation after generation of kids are abandoned into the system of daycare, preschool and public school by their parents. As I cited above, according to the U.S. Census Bureau there are more than 687,000 daycare centers in America. 69,000 of the largest centers employ three quarters of a million employees (primarily women I assume) to watch kids so that other women can go to work. Ultimately this leads to two million preschoolers in day care out of around 10 million preschool children. One out of five preschoolers is being raised by someone other than their parents for the majority of their waking hours. We are reaping the harvest of generations of latchkey kids who got nice vacations and a TV in their room but essentially raised themselves under the influence of their peers, the television and the internet and under the supervision of disinterested strangers instead of by their mothers. Little wonder we find nation in the state it is in today.

Maybe what a lot of women want is to be a mom and what a lot of moms want is to be...a mom? Not a super mom who juggles a career and a couple of kids, but just a mom. Can a few extra bucks make up for dropping off your eight week old infant at daycare where they will spend 45 hours a week being watched by someone else until they are old enough for school? Is that really making women feel fulfilled? Maybe a group of angry, bitter women in the media and academia don’t really understand what drives the majority of women. Is it that hard to believe that women and men have different goals and motivations?

The truth is that the feminist movement has not "liberated" women or made their lives better, but has instead made their lives worse. Women are more stressed and less happy now in spite of the utopian promises that women's liberation promised. Women were sold a bill of goods by feminism and now society as a whole is paying.

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