Feminism Hurts Women
March 30, 2012
A few decades back, a vocal minority of women decided to revolt against chastity, small government, low taxes, marriage, courtship, and motherhood. They decided that it was better to be able to have recreational sex before marriage, to put their own careers ahead of motherhood, to liberalize divorce laws, to pay women to have children without being married, to vote for higher taxes, to expand government to offer social programs and redistribution schemes, and to assault the traditional gender roles of husbands and fathers. Most men had nothing to do with starting this revolution, but men in general went along with it because they wanted freely available recreational sex more than they wanted children to be safe in stable, married homes.
. . .
It’s not working for anyone.
Wintery Knight discusses (among other things) an essay by Mary Eberstadt in the Wall Street Journal with a blunt title: “Has the Sexual Revolution Been Good for Women? No”. Excerpt:
This brings us to Myth No. 4, which is perhaps the most interesting one of all: The sexual revolution has made women happier.
Granted, happiness is a personal, imponderable thing. But if the sexual revolution has really made women as happy as feminists say, a few elementary questions beg to be answered.
Why do the pages of our tonier magazines brim with mournful titles like “The Case for Settling” and “The End of Men”? Why do websites run by and for women focus so much on men who won’t grow up, and ooze such despair about relations between the sexes?
. . .
Or how about what is known in sociology as “the paradox of declining female happiness”? . . .
However one looks at the situation, it seems difficult to argue that the results of the revolution have been a slam-dunk for happiness.
It is always hard to disentangle the weeds from the plants in such a large field. But if the sexual revolution has made women so happy, we can at least ask what it would look like for them to be unhappy.
(emphasis in original, links added)
See also a longer but very interesting piece by the same author in First Things: “The Will to Disbelieve”.
All reveal a wildly contradictory mix of chatter about how wonderful it is to be liberated by sex, on the one hand—and how impossible it has become to find a good, steady, committed boyfriend or husband on the other.
Pope Paul VI predicted grave consequences that would arise from the widespread and unrestrained use of contraception. He warned[: . . . “]It is also to be feared that the man, growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and, no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium, may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion” ([Humanae Vitae] 17).
No one can doubt the fulfillment of these prophetic words. They have all been more than fulfilled in this country as a result of the widespread availability of contraceptives, the “free love” movement that started in the 1960s, and the loose sexual morality that it spawned and that continues to pervade Western culture.
It suggests that in feminist and post-feminist America, women tend to feel unrelenting pressure to succeed on the same terms as men in the workplace, while also trying to find time for such traditionally feminine activities as caring for their children. Because women are given no more hours in the day than men are, they cannot find the time to do everything, and are unhappier than American women of generations past.
“Given that the chance of a successful pregnancy declines with age, some women who hope to have children never will, despite the rise in fertility treatments that facilitate pregnancy.” Strikingly, “Among older women, ages 40-44, there are equal numbers of women who are childless by choice and those who would like children but cannot have them . . . .”