Why are women less happy?

A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that women are less happy now than in the 1970’s, when a similar study was conducted. Not only did the subjective happiness of women decrease absolutely but also relative to men.

female-depressedThere are several theories as to why. Some guess that the women’s movement was unsuccessful. Others posit that men have gained more than women from women saturating the workforce, but that doesn’t really explain the absolute decrease in female happiness.

Many are overlooking a few fundamental reasons:

  • Women have a natural instinct to rear their children. By becoming career women, they leave their children in the primary care of others. Regardless of how much they try to convince themselves, they feel guilt for not being home with their children.
  • Society as a whole has become much more “aware” of unpleasantness. The Media could be called the culprit here, but there are lots of reasons for it. We have become a much more depressed society. It’s now in vogue to be a complainer. Look at the majority of Facebook status updates; “Why can’t I finish my laundry?”, “Monday is winning!”, “Just trying to survive today.” Now one might say that should affect men as much as women, but men are a little more resilient to societal pressures and often don’t care to be in style (just look at the way I dress).  Happy people are seen as annoying.

The study is inherintly flawed because of it’s subject matter, but still might illustrate some proplems in our society.  In the end, the study asks more questions than it answers.

Thanks GM and CBM.

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6 Responses

  1. Janet Erickson says:

    There are several other reasons why women are not as happy as they were 40 years ago. I feel strongly that the primary reason is, as you say, that women have been taken from the home and thrust into a fiercely competitive workforce. When a woman, for whatever reason, turns from her divine and inherent feminine nature of bearing and raising children, and caring for a home and husband, she is robbed of her most fulfilling experiences in life.

    I recently watched Aleta St. James, and international and highly respected fore-runner in alternative healing, in an interview with Diane Sawyer. (Watch the interview here http://aletastjames.com/ ). St. James has many accomplishments of which to be very proud. Four years ago, however, at age 57, she gave birth for the first time to a set of twins. When asked if she regrets her decision to have these children, she says, “It has been the most fulfilling thing I have ever done”. And she says she’s done it all.

    This is a testament to me that women, as brilliant or successful as they might be in a career, are still at their best and most fulfilled in the home as a wife and mother.

    Additionally, when a woman chooses to have a career as well as a family, she accepts so much more responsibility than traditionally has fallen to women. She is expected to excel in the workforce and then perform miraculous feats in her home by keeping things clean, orderly, attractive, and to care for children and husband just as women have in the past. In half the time, she must keep nutritious meals prepared, an attractively decorated home, pearly white laundry and raise brilliant, talented and over-scheduled children. No wonder she is not as happy. How can she possibly keep up?

    Another reason is the unbelievable societal obsession with appearance. Not only must a woman comply with all the requirements listed above, but she must also keep her skin, face, hair and figure looking like that of a 20 year old. How can she possibly compete with this ambush of flawless women in the media and on the silver screen? She can’t – or is it just me? It’s true that this was a concern for women 40 years ago, but today, it is grossly augmented by our unlimited access to images of perfection – be they digitized – everywhere we turn.

    To top all this off, women face an ironic personal dilemma in their relationships with men. In my experience, a man is more readily attracted to a woman who is very true to her feminine qualities such as tenderness, compassion, creation of beauty, peace and a delicate need for masculine leadership and protection. Women in general have turned to independence, corse and masculine mannerisms, and competition. They are no longer the feminine and tender beings that they were decades ago. Can it be that in our efforts to impress the male gender by proving our equality, we have in reality alienated ourselves from their tenderness and adoration? I believe this is true. Women have traded the adoration of their husbands and children for the respect of the world, which is fickle and fleeting.

    No wonder women are not as happy. They have fallen victim to the illusion that fulfillment in life is outside their homes, their marriages, their femininity and finding joy in the simple beauty of service and love. In reality, their greatest joy will be found within those relationships and responsibilities that they have compromised.

  2. Reluctant says:

    Janet, Thank you for the very insightful comment. I agree 100% with your observations.

  3. ryan says:

    Women are probably not happy because only one of them can be married to me (at a time, barring legislative and religious changes.) zing!

    Also, it is a well-known fact that women blog a LOT more than men do (speaking of which, dan, why are you still blogging?!?) and blogging means you have to think about life and too much thinking can lead to pain. Quod erat demonstrandum!

    please double post comments to facebook, as I do not read blogs anymore

  4. Reluctant says:

    Ryan… I haven’t blogged in many moons. Check the date of my last post. Facebook is king. It’s the third largest country in the world 😉 And I am about to just redirect my blog to my facebook account 😉

    I do agree with your insights though.. especially the one about being married to you. I’m sure Rachel would appreciate that comment :p

  5. ryan says:

    facebook is large, but so is Siberia, but that doesn’t mean I’d want to live there. unless there was oil. I’d like me some free oil!

  6. Reluctant says:

    You can move Rachel (and your other wives to Siberia)… I’m sure that would keep the women happy

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