Earlier today my friend emailed me this op-ed by Ross Douthat from The New York Times. It’s loaded with standard anti-feminist rhetoric about how “all the achievements of the feminist era may have delivered women to greater unhappiness.” Riiiiiiiight, Uh-huh. His opening paragraph:
American women are wealthier, healthier and better educated than they were 30 years ago. They’re more likely to work outside the home, and more likely to earn salaries comparable to men’s when they do. They can leave abusive marriages and sue sexist employers. They enjoy unprecedented control over their own fertility. On some fronts — graduation rates, life expectancy and even job security — men look increasingly like the second sex.
This is horribly oversimplified in so many ways. For starters, the wage gap still exists, so women are not more likely to earn salaries comparable to men’s. And how easy is it to leave abusive relationships? Definitely easier said than done. Furthermore, sexual harassment in and out of the workplace is a persistent problem that many women constantly put up with but given the court’s unfriendly record towards women, many women do not sue sexist employers. Do women really “enjoy unprecedented control over their own fertility”? I would say not exactly, given that abstinence-only sex ed still reigns in this country, and many abortion clinics have had to shut down because of the shitty economy.
The article that Douthat links to? Not a reputable source. It’s from Double X and it’s by notorious anti-feminist Christina Hoff Sommers. I didn’t have the patience to read her article so I just scrolled through it briefly and when I hit the bottom of the page this is what I read:
Why are there no conferences, petitions, workshops, congressional hearings, or presidential councils to help men close the education gap, the health care gap, the insurance gap, the job-loss gap, and the death gap? Because, unlike women, men do not have hundreds of men’s studies departments, research institutes, policy centers, and lobby groups working tirelessly to promote their challenges as political causes.
OH NO, WHAT ABOUT THE MEN?!!!! IT’S CALLED PATRIARCHY. WE LIVE IN IT. MALE PRIVILEGE ABOUNDS.
Her closing paragraph:
The struggle for women’s rights is far from over, but the serious battlegrounds today are in Muslim societies and in sub-Saharan Africa. In these and other parts of the developing world, most women have not yet seen so much as a ripple of freedom, let alone two major waves of liberation. We should be directing our efforts toward the millions of women who have never had the luxury of coping with the problem that has no name.
Condescending much? Ethnocentric much? Let us liberated westerners plunge ourselves into the poor “third world” and rescue these oppressed women from their plight! But I digress…back to Douthat’s op-ed. In his second paragraph, he writes:
In the 1960s, when Betty Friedan diagnosed her fellow wives and daughters as the victims of “the problem with no name,” American women reported themselves happier, on average, than did men. Today, that gender gap has reversed. Male happiness has inched up, and female happiness has dropped. In postfeminist America, men are happier than women.