Now that I have your attention with my wilfully provocative headline (provocateur, moi?!), please allow me to flesh out a little what I mean, and dig a little deeper... (I have moon in Scorpio, and, apparently, a common characteristic of that placing is that we like to dig, dig, dig until we've got right to the bottom of an issue, so I always imagine a little scorpion, scuttling determinedly through the desert, with the tiniest little trowel strapped to its back...)
I wrote a piece a few days ago detailing why I thought the Roe v. Wade legislation had been overturned now (examined as always from the key question when evaluating any political or world event: why this, why now?). One thing I noted was that abortion had failed in its founding promises of "liberating women" as, ever since it's become legally available, women across the Western world have uniformly become unhappier. I said:
"Comprehensive studies on women's happiness since the 1960s, conducted both here and in the US and in developed countries around the world, do not reflect the initial promises of the sexual liberation lobby - namely, that hormonal contraception and legal abortion would make women happier and more fulfilled. On the contrary, in every country where reliable data is available, the findings are always the same: greater educational, employment and political opportunities correlate with a decrease in happiness for women, as compared to men."
It was a relatively minor point in my overall discussion, but nevertheless, in the comments' section, a few people took exception to it. One said:
"I appreciate a lot of what you have to say here. The main thing that sticks out for me to counter is the suggestion that women are unhappier when they have increased access to education or opportunity. It implies women are happier without it. I think you know, as do I, that there are many reasons for that unhappiness not due to increased opportunity, but the article kind of makes it seems like those things alone make women unhappy."
I guess I was not surprised to get this response, so I constructed my reply, which someone was kind enough to say, was so good it deserved its own FB post. As I am yet again banned on FB (wrong-thought for sharing German data demonstrating a decline in fertility post-jab), I will share it here instead. I said...
"Thanks for the kind words and interesting comments. Personally, I actually agree with the findings on opportunity and happiness, because "greater opportunities for women" have only benefitted a small, privileged (mainly white and wealthy) elite of women, whilst making things much harder for everyone else.
Whilst many middle-class women can benefit from a top education and a rewarding career, free of the burdens of childcare and domestic tasks (as they have nannies and cleaners), what "women's liberation" for most women has meant is a doubling of their duties - instead of just being expected to look after the children and the home, they are now expected to do that AND have a full-time job and bring in money.
Because there are only a tiny number of "rewarding careers" available, as opposed to the far more typical "dull jobs", most women are shunted into often tedious, monotonous, and even crushing work. Working in supermarkets, call centres, and care homes is far more typical than being a glamorous executive or hotshot lawyer. Most women would instantly give up their boring day job if they won the lottery.
Modern ideology has taught us women "should" be happier pursuing more traditionally male lives - e.g., pivoting life around work, money, and independence, rather than the home, family, and community. But the evidence overwhelmingly shows us they aren't happier this way, and were happier prior to the 1960s (when their overall happiness was much higher than men's, whereas it has deteriorated in every subsequent decade and is now much lower than men's).
I'm not making any moral judgments about what "should" make women happier, and I agree they should have all the same opportunities open to them as men. I am simply observing, as a social critic, what the evidence clearly demonstrates - which is that women's lib has, overall, not made women happier. It may have made a minority of individual women happier, but the social trend overall is downwards. And as I said, none of it was ever designed to make women happier. The elites knew very well what effect these social changes would have, and that's why they pushed them."
The reality is that the rhetoric surrounding feminism and equal opportunities has been so brilliant and compelling, that it has convinced nearly everyone of its veracity, including those who would not describe themselves as feminists.
While I want to be clear yet again that I (vigorously) support equal opportunities between the sexes and firmly believe that nobody should be discriminated against on the basis of their gender (or race or age - I am a passionate advocate of true meritocracy, which is sex, race, and age blind), it is also important to examine which choices typically result in happier outcomes for women, in order that they can make an informed choice.
I am a libertarian in most respects, but critical to my "live and let live" philosophy is the notion of informed consent. People must have all the information before they make an important choice, otherwise their choice is not coming from a genuinely empowered and autonomous place, but rather, one of deception and omission. I certainly believe (again, vigorously) that people have the right to make what might be determined poor choices, but they must know that they are making them, and go into these decisions with their eyes wide open.
For instance: if I choose to go to the pub and consume several celebratory shandies, I do so in the full knowledge that this is not the healthiest thing I could be doing, and that I will probably feel bad in the morning. But that is my choice, coming from a fully aware place, that alcohol in excess is bad and can create a hangover, and so my choice is fully informed and therefore morally valid. I certainly don't need the nanny state or self-appointed "moral authorities" making these choices for me, as per the future dystopian society of Demolition Man (that we inch ever closer to all the time), where everything deemed "bad" is banned.
The point is that I made my choice based on the full facts, and that's morally appropriate. If, however, I had been told by the alcohol industry all my life that alcohol in any quantity is good for you and almost certainly won't cause a hangover, and made the choice to go for a night on the town on the basis of that information, then my choice is morally undermined, since I am making it on the basis of false and misleading information.
So, we can apply that equally to the issue of women's liberation, a movement which has insisted from its inception, and most vociferously in all the decades since, that the path to happiness for women is education, career, and independence.
Certainly, that is so for some women, and they should have every opportunity to pursue those goals if that is what they want. Social changes in the last 50 years have made that more possible for them, and that is good.
However, the evidence overwhelmingly shows that, for most women, this isn't the path to happiness, and many come to realise that they would far rather concentrate on other aspects of their lives - their relationships, their family, their local community and personal interests - rather than the office and the rat race. The trends in this area are very clear and consistent: women outperform men at the university level, and in the early stages of their career, but when they get to about 30, their enthusiasm often starts to dramatically dwindle, and the performance trend reverses. After the age of 30, women start to make different choices, including more part-time work, swapping high-powered, well-paid work, for lower paid, less stressful work, and even giving up paid work altogether, to concentrate on other things, such as their family and home life, and other things they deeply care about but that don't necessarily pay (such as campaigning and activist work)
Historically, when life was structured in such a way that most women's lives did revolve around the family and local community (including spearheading important local movements), then - whilst not a perfect panacea (nothing is) - most women were happier. Prior to the 1960s and women's "liberation", evidence from all over the developed world showed that women's happiness with their lives, and their mental health, were both in much better shape than men's.
Since women's lib, that trend has reversed, with women's mental health and happiness deteriorating in every subsequent decade, and now, women across the West are, as a demographic group (obviously there are individual exceptions), typically unhappier and more mentally ill than men.
You can call that a lot of things, but "liberating" is not one of them. Well, at least - not for women.
The reason society was structured the way it was prior to the 1960s was not simply to "oppress women" - although it did limit some of their opportunities, and it is right that those limitations have been challenged and changed - but rather, it was to support them to do the thing most (not all, certainly, but most) wanted to be able to do, which was raise their own children at home (supported at that time by a much more interconnected local community) without having to worry about earning money.
There is a fundamental modern misconception about marriage, in that its critics believe it is all about "controlling women" and forcing them to "serve men", but actually the concept of marriage is not primarily about either men or women - it is about children. Marriage was conceived of as a stable way to raise children, bearing in mind that children need two things: someone present in the home to care for them, and someone bringing money into the home to make that possible. Sure, the man could stay at home and the woman could go out to work (and in some families that happens), but most women, if asked, would rather be at home with their young children, rather than away from them doing a boring job (since, overwhelmingly, most jobs are boring), and most men would rather take responsibility for earning the money, over being at home with the children all day.
So the institution of marriage evolved to reflect those preferences. It actually evolved to support and protect women, to give them a stable context in which to raise their own children, free from the expectation that they should be toiling away in a factory or some other grim environment to bring home the bacon. It used to be a stigma for a man to have a wife who worked, not because an evil patriarchal society wanted to keep women from the "joys" of depressing and potentially dangerous jobs, but because it was recognised it was best for children if women weren't stressed, anxious, and exhausted by doing a terrible job they hated. Men were instead expected to shoulder that burden, and be shamed by society if they tried to pass the buck to their wives.
Hence, women were generally happier and more mentally stable than men, as men would uniformly be expected to work long hours for decades in the most unrewarding and dispiriting of environments, if that's what it took to support their families. Sure, a few wealthy, privileged men had "rewarding careers" that were maybe more interesting than being at home with the kids all day, but the vast majority did not. The vast majority of all people who have ever worked have not had "rewarding careers", but average - and frequently boring, tedious, and monotonous - jobs.
So, when the malevolent social architects went at these arrangements with a hammer in the 1960s, forcing women out of the home and into a procession of - in most cases - boring and low-paid jobs, who really benefitted? Who did this really "liberate"?
First, it liberated men. Free from the burdens of having to support a family single-handedly - since now women can work too, and can also deal with unplanned pregnancy - not by a shotgun wedding - but by an abortion - men could live the unencumbered life of a bachelor for as long as they pleased. Free to enjoy women's company and sex without making any kind of commitment or investing any of their resources, men were now free - or at least, a lot freer than women were, who still had to bear the burdens of unplanned pregnancy when it occurred, but without any significant social pressure on the man to support her. A great deal of abortions are a consequence of an unsupportive partner who encourages the woman to "get rid of it".
Of course, some men are abusive and women are better off without them (it has always been so: some women are abusive and men are better off without them, too), but on the whole, the decline of marriage and the collapse of the expectation that a man will support the family so the woman can be at home with the children, has not benefitted women. It has, in fact, and in most cases, made things much harder for women, since as I said in my quoted comment above, women's liberation has not liberated ordinary women from the expectations that they will cook, clean, and look after children. They're still expected to do all that as they can't afford domestic help, as wealthy women can (and always could). It's just now they're expected to do all that - AND have a full-time job and be a significant financial contributor to the household.
Again, this does not look like "liberation" to me. Or at least, not for women.
Of course, the people it has liberated are employers and social engineers. Employers now no longer have to pay men a "family wage", since women work too (and are often forced to, since the end of the family wage means many families can no longer survive on one income), and they also now have more potential labour available, meaning they're less incentivised to create optimal working conditions for existing staff.
Social engineers, meanwhile, are now able to prise the children away from the family home at a much earlier age, and begin their indoctrination campaign as soon as possible. As Nicholas Rockefeller, of the eponymously sinister dynasty said, his family bankrolled women's lib for two primary reasons: one, to get women into the workplace, as before women's lib, the bankers couldn't tax half the population, and two, to get children out of the home and into state-controlled day-care as early as possible, so the indoctrination can begin.
On the subject of state indoctrination, it's important to realise that that is what schools are - not "public" schools, but state schools - government schools. If you asked the average person, "how long did you go to a government school for?", they would say, "what? I didn't go to a 'government school'. I just went to a normal school."
But you did go to a government school. We all did. And as such, these institutions exist - not to equip you with valuable skills and best prepare you for the future - but to indoctrinate and shape your thoughts and behaviour in a way that best serves (and doesn't threaten) the ruling classes.
So, one belief they vigorously sponsor is that it's best to remain in education for as long as possible, especially for women, as this is the path to liberation, happiness, and success.
In reality, the government only wants you to stay in education long-term for two reasons: 1) to skew the youth unemployment statistics (which would be much, much higher if tens of thousands of teenagers weren't "going uni" to study something useless), and 2) to further indoctrinate you into particular ideologies that mean you will have few or no children, to help meet depopulation goals (the more highly educated people are, the less children they have).
I watched a film recently, about a middle-class, middle-aged couple battling infertility (it was pretty good actually), and there was a funny, yet poignant and revealing scene, where the 40-something woman, in an argument with her husband, shouts at him that she blames all her feminist gender-studies professors at university for her lack of a family - that they told her it would be oppressive and catastrophic to have a family before establishing her career, and never warned her of the consequences of leaving it too late, or how devastating that would be.
Of course, there are plenty of women who never wanted children, never had them, and don't regret a thing, and all power to them - this is certainly a completely valid choice that should be wholly supported and commended, if that's what makes someone happy. But for many women, they do want them, but are confused and misled by feminist rhetoric about the kinds of lives they should be leading, and are making choices founded on the belief these choices are the ones most likely to maximise their happiness and fulfilment - and then reeling with increasing shock and despair, when that turns out not to be true.
As I said, I'm all for people making whatever choices they want in life (so long as these don't harm others), including the right to make bad choices - but these choices must be made from a place of genuinely informed consent. Women need to be presented with all the information about what choices are most likely to result in what outcomes, so they can evaluate all the evidence and come to a meaningful conclusion - which one cannot do if vital facts are omitted from the discourse, as they always are in all "liberal, progressive" discussions regarding women's rights.
One vital piece of information is that the hard-wired personality traits that are generally necessary to have a successful, high-powered career - such as competitiveness, aggression, and disagreeableness - are all far more common in men. Yes, there are plenty of aggressive, disagreeable women (I'm sure we've all met them), but on the whole, women are more likely to be more agreeable and less confrontational, and to lack the go-getter, super-ambitious "killer instinct" that drives a certain type of man to the top of his field (often at great personal cost, and such "workaholic" men typically have very strained relationships with wives and children).
Women are often made to feel inferior and inadequate when they struggle to be as assertive as men in climbing the greasy career pole and negotiating the top jobs with the best salaries (this kind of "assertiveness training" for career women is what psychologist Jordan Peterson deals with the most in his clinical practice; he says it's very rarely necessary for career men). This is because these largely testosterone-driven traits simply occur far less often in women than in men. Women can learn to be more assertive and if that makes them happy, great - but often, trying to contort yourself into something you are not, but believe you "should be", does not make a person happy - on the contrary. True liberation, and therefore happiness, comes from flourishing in what you are, not desperately trying to be what you are not.
I'm not the first to say it, but a lot of feminist rhetoric strikes me as very misogynist, as the unrelenting message is that the traits that more often come naturally to women (agreeableness, an interest in people and relationships, preferring less stressful work) are inferior to traits that more often come naturally to men (disagreeableness, an interest in work and money, enjoying more intense work). It almost seems to imply women are faulty men, and need to become better men in order to be better women.
Again to repeat: some women are naturally more typically masculine and some men are more typically feminine, and nobody should be restricted from pursuing the kind of life they want to live, regardless of whether or not it's "gender typical".
But that doesn't take away from overall social trends, and what we can clearly observe about women's happiness and fulfilment over the last 50 years. And I'm not just talking about the false dichotomy of choosing "children or career". It's also a perfectly valid option to choose neither, particularly given children - rather notoriously- quickly grow up. Many women still choose to eschew a high-powered career, or not to return to one, once their children are independent, because the idea that all life has to offer women is "children or career" is a ridiculous, restrictive misnomer. Life's rich tapestry offers so much else - art, music, nature, travel, volunteering, campaigning, writing blogs on the internet... - and a focus on that, or whatever inspires and drives someone, may bring them very much more than a career does. Most of us need to earn money: but a lower-stress job with less hours, undertaken to finance what one really cares about, might, for many, be a better choice.
Ultimately, the bottom line is this: freedom of choice is not meaningful or morally valid, without fullness of information. 'Consent' is not enough. The consent must be genuinely, fully, and deeply informed. That means confronting a lot of challenging information, which isn't presented by the slick PR of the mainstream, and making some hard choices. But such choices are essential for living a truly authentic human life. Hey, nobody said it would be easy (at least, nobody with a little metaphorical scorpion with a trowel on its back...).