Why Are Women Unhappier Than Men?

Maureen Dowd obviously is not a happy camper in her private life and you can tell that because every so often, it leaks into her writing. Why can’t she find a man? Why is she so miserable? Granted, it makes for interesting reading, but you still have to feel a little bad for a rich, famous, intelligent, attractive, accomplished, well heeled woman who’s still unhappy. Here’s an excerpt from her writing:

In the early ’70s, breaking out of the domestic cocoon, leaving their mothers’ circumscribed lives behind, young women felt exhilarated and bold.

But the more women have achieved, the more they seem aggrieved. Did the feminist revolution end up benefiting men more than women?

According to the General Social Survey, which has tracked Americans’ mood since 1972, and five other major studies around the world, women are getting gloomier and men are getting happier.

Before the ’70s, there was a gender gap in America in which women felt greater well-being. Now there’s a gender gap in which men feel better about their lives.

As Arianna Huffington points out in a blog post headlined “The Sad, Shocking Truth About How Women Are Feeling”: “It doesn’t matter what their marital status is, how much money they make, whether or not they have children, their ethnic background, or the country they live in. Women around the world are in a funk.”

(The one exception is black women in America, who are a bit happier than they were in 1972, but still not as happy as black men.)

Marcus Buckingham, a former Gallup researcher who has a new book out called “Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently,” says that men and women passed each other midpoint on the graph of life.

“Though women begin their lives more fulfilled than men, as they age, they gradually become less happy,” Buckingham writes in his new blog on The Huffington Post, pointing out that this darker view covers feelings about marriage, money and material goods. “Men, in contrast, get happier as they get older.”

Buckingham and other experts dispute the idea that the variance in happiness is caused by women carrying a bigger burden of work at home, the “second shift.” They say that while women still do more cooking, cleaning and child-caring, the trend lines are moving toward more parity, which should make them less stressed.

When women stepped into male- dominated realms, they put more demands – and stress – on themselves. If they once judged themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens and dinner parties, now they judge themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens, dinner parties – and grad school, work, office deadlines and meshing a two-career marriage.

“Choice is inherently stressful,” Buckingham said in an interview. “And women are being driven to distraction.”

In the course of her writing, I think Dowd touches on a lot of problems, but never draws the proper conclusion.

In the end, she seems to decide that women are more unhappy because they have more choices now than they used to have:

Stevenson looks on the bright side of the dark trend, suggesting that happiness is beside the point. We’re happy to have our newfound abundance of choices, she said, even if those choices end up making us unhappier.

A paradox, indeed.

I would disagree.

It’s not choices that are causing problems for women; : it’s expectations.

Women are no longer merely expected to act like women. Now, feminism, liberalism, and Hollywood say they’ve got to be able to do everything women used to do AND everything that men still do, and then some.

The old feminine ideal was the woman who got married to a good man, stayed home, took care of their house, took care of the kids, and took pride in making the whole family function.

Now, look at the messages women get from popular culture: Dress like a fashion model, cat around like the women from Sex in the City, get married, have a beautiful house, have 2.5 kids, have a career that’s every bit as successful and fulfilling as your husband’s, and still look like a professional actress, even when you’re 60 years old.

There are only so many hours in a day, days in a week, and weeks in a year and there just isn’t time for most women to do all that. Granted, there are a few who manage to pull it off — or at least seem to do it to the outside world.

But, the reality is that most people have skills, abilities, desires, and wants that they never fulfill — women, in part because of their emotional natures, are just made to feel worse about not living up to the hype of what modern feminism says a woman should be.

PS: Let me just add that in study after study, conservatives have been found to be happier than liberals. That largely has to do with the fact that conservatives tend to be more religious and view themselves as masters of their own fate. When you give up control of your own life by believing that you’re a victim, as so many liberals do, you naturally become less happy. Since women tend to lean to the Left more than men, it’s no shocker that they are less happy.

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