When Betty Friedan set out to market her leftist ideology, she did not call it a leftist ideology. She seized on a more brilliant ploy: she said that feminism was an effective treatment for mental illness.
Women were suffering anxiety and depression, Friedan said, because their lives were circumscribed by soul-deadening rounds of housework and child rearing. Only gainful employment could treat their malaise and point the way to happiness, fulfillment and an enhanced feeling of self-worth.
As a marketing campaign, it was brilliant. Women latched on the feminism as though it were a panacea.
Amazingly, when Friedan mindlessly compared a suburban housewife’s kitchen to a concentration camp women embraced the idea that the stay-at-home mother had failed herself, had failed to fulfill her potential and had failed the women’s movement.
To be clear, feminism has not offered women a free choice. In its constant attacks on the roles of housewife and homemaker it has made clear that if women do no have careers they will be excoriated and ostracized by right-thinking feminists. The same fate will befall all women who refuse to call themselves feminists.
When Anne-Marie Slaughter, wife, mother and highly accomplished career woman, walked away from her high powered job in the State Department because she her children were suffering from her absence, feminists were outraged.
Her freedom to choose did not allow her to make choices that did not advance the cause of feminism.
Even Marissa Mayer ran afoul of feminists for banning telecommuting at Yahoo! How dare she make a decision based on what she considered best for her company. Didn’t she know that she had to decide based on what was best for feminism?
Besides, Mayer is not a feminist. For that thought crime alone she was banned from polite feminist conversation.
More recently, we have examined the peculiar mind warp of Lisa Endlich Heffernan. After giving up her career to bring up her three sons, Heffernan has now announced to the world that she regrets her choice. Not only is she guilt-tripping her sons, but she is showing how feminism can deprive a woman of her pride for having raised her children.
Obviously, movement feminists do not respect women’s freedom to choose.
It’s always a good idea to put these ideas to the test. In Great Britain the Office of National Statistics was recently directed to conduct a survey of a large number of Britons in order to see whether stay-at-home mothers were suffering from feelings of worthlessness. Did they lack self-esteem? Did they feel unfulfilled?
If Betty Friedan was right, stay-at-home mothers should be suffering severe despair.
The Daily Mail reported the results:
Stay-at-home mothers are more likely to think their lives are worthwhile than women who go to work, a study of national happiness suggests.
They tend not to suffer from boredom, frustration or feelings of worthlessness, according to the research on Britain’s wellbeing.
Worse yet, from a feminist perspective, people who get married experience the most happiness:
Data also revealed that married people are significantly more contented than cohabitees and much happier than single or divorced people.
Since feminists dismissed marriage as a patriarchal conspiracy designed to deprive women of fulfilling careers, these results are not good news for them. Apparently, a marriage license is not just another piece of paper.
Obviously, some women will prefer not to stay at home to raise their children. No one doubts that they take their responsibilities as mothers with the greatest seriousness and that they make what they consider to be the best decision for all involved.
It is good that they have the choice. It would be better if they were not being subjected to feminist mental coercion.
Apparently, Lisa Endlich Heffernan succumbed to the coercion. When feminists attack stay-at-home mothers as traitors to the cause they are effectively punishing these women for exercising their free choice. They are trying to produce the kinds of mental health issues they predicted.
In a world where women do have the freedom to choose their path in life, women who choose home and family seem to gain a high sense of their own self-worth, unless, of course, they have developed the bad habit of flagellating themselves for having betrayed the feminist cause.