Thursday, September 7, 2017

How Feminism Failed Women

Call it a preemptive strike. Lisa Miller reports on the dissatisfaction experienced by millennial women who have chosen to follow the feminist life plan. Having put career ahead of family they have discovered, according to Miller, that the workplace has not fulfilled the feminist promise. They have not found in their careers the satisfaction and emotional well being that feminism promised.

Worse yet, many of them seem not to have families. They say that they want nothing more than to have a home and a family, but Miller, good feminist satrap that she is, insists that the problem can be solved by giving women more power in the workplace.

A rational human mind would conclude from Miller’s article that feminism has failed young women, that it has led them on a snipe hunt. They were promised everything, great careers, perfect work/life balance, husbands who change diapers, great sex…. The reality is: they have unsatisfying careers, trips to the Caribbean, and an empty household. Feminism promised women that they could have it all. Today’s millennial women have less than their mothers.

Feminism failed because it promised young women that once they had established successful careers they would not depend on a man for anything and thus would be less needy, less dependent and better able to be loved for who they really were. Feminism did not understand, inconveniently, that, in the marriage market, aging is not a woman’s friend. Independence and autonomy do not make a woman wife material.

Miller, however, wants these women to have promotions and more international assignments. She does not know or does not care that women with husbands and children are disinclined to take such postings, because they do not want to disrupt their families. As we pointed out a few weeks ago, women litigators with young children do not want to work twelve hour days and do not want to spend a week in Kansas litigating a case. Should we not respect their free choice?

Women with children often do not aspire to climb the corporate hierarchy. Women without children are less likely to find husbands or to have children. Since Miller ignores these salient points, she comes across as hopelessly wedded to her ideology, ignoring reality and refusing to accept that feminism has failed women.

Examine Miller’s opening gambit:

Millennial women — at least those who reside in professional bubbles — seem to have it all. They are better educated, more prosperous, less encumbered by cultural expectations than any previous generation of women. They delay marriage (if they marry at all) and children (if they choose to conceive). They can own or rent. They can save or spend. These women have been on familiar terms with their ambitions all their lives — raised by careful parents to aim high (millennial women are likelier than their male peers to have professional jobs, to be managers, and to work in finance), and tutored by their cultural icons to perform their empowerment, and never submit. You know, “Bow down, bitches,” as they say.

When Anne-Marie Slaughter famously explained that she, for one, could not have it all, and that trying to have it all had severely damaged one of her children, feminists were outraged.

Miller fails to note in her parenthetical remarks that delaying marriage is the basis of the feminist life plan and that many women do not marry at all they did know that the older they got the more difficult it would become. It also did not tell them that being ideologically committed to feminism is a turn-off for most men.

Miller also skewed reality by saying how wonderful it is that women can choose when they want to conceive. In truth, the problem is not the choice, but the fact that after a certain age women lose the freedom to choose. Happily for many women reproductive endocrinology has helped, but the supposed freedom to choose vanishes after a certain age. Allowing women to believe otherwise is dishonest.

As it happens, Miller does report, faithfully, that women are unhappy with their careers because they have nothing but their careers. What do they want? They want to have familes. They want to be more like housewives, not more like CEOs:

The women complain of the enervating psychic effects of the professional treadmill as white-collar piecework and describe their dread as they contemplate bleak futures — decade after decade, they imagine, unfulfilled. After a lifetime of saying ‘yes’ to their professional hunger — these are the opportunity-seizers, the list-makers, the ascendant females, weaned on Lean In — they’ve lost it, like a child losing grasp of a helium balloon. Grief-stricken, they are baffled too, for they have always been propelled by their drive. They were the ones who were supposed to run stuff — who as girls imagined themselves leaving the airport in stylish trench coats, hailing a taxi with one hand while holding their cell in the other.

Limp, desperate, they fantasize about quitting their good jobs and moving home to Michigan. They murmur about purpose, about the concrete satisfactions of baking a loaf of bread or watching a garden grow. One young woman I know dreams about leaving her consulting job, which takes her to Dubai and Prague, to move back home and raise a bunch of kids. Another, an accountant with corner-office aspirations, has decided to “phone it in” for a few years while she figures out what she wants to do.

Credit to Miller for reporting honestly about what these women really want. Discredit to her for ignoring these women’s express wishes in order to try to rescue feminism.

Miller’s rescue mission begins by denouncing these women for having misunderstood feminism. Her approach reeks of radical ideology. Fanatics and ideologues believe that when their schemes produce human calamities the fault is always that someone misread or misapplied their brilliant truths:

The female dissatisfaction chronicled by Betty Friedan in The Feminine Mystique was prompted by a widespread awakening to the bullshit promises of domestic happiness, manufactured by culture to make female containment look good. Now another bullshit promise has taken its place, and another generation is waking up. The men in charge are still in charge. It is impossible for women to continue to have faith in a vision of their own empowerment, when that empowerment is, in fact, a pose. It is not true that a gleaming kitchen floor is the key to female satisfaction. And “Bow down, bitches” is a lie.

Apparently, the women quoted in the prior paragraphs wish for nothing more than what Miller disparages as “bullshit promises of domestic happiness.” Note the typical feminist denigration of any woman who would choose to marry young and to put family ahead of career.

Miller then blames the patriarchy. You see, the males who run companies have not given women sufficient power. Apparently, Miller was not paying to attention to what she wrote. These women do not want more power. They want more domesticity.

Miller explains:

What does it mean to grow up listening to “Roar” when female achievement has flatlined? The wage gap is about the same as it has been for a decade, which is to say since these women were in college, buckled down tending to their GPAs and loading up their resumes with extracurriculars. There is still no occupation in which a woman who works full time earns a lot more than a man, and few in which women have parity. Women have less savings than men, and are less likely to qualify for a mortgage. The cost of living, for everyone, has risen in urban areas. These are the parameters of the psychic vise, for growing numbers of women are the main or sole breadwinners for their families. When a woman delays children and partnership into her 30s to earn money and establish independence and then sees how her paths are blocked, it is perhaps no wonder that something like anguish is the result.

Miller insists that by the time professional women reach their early thirties they start complaining about the lack of opportunity. Perhaps she lives in a bubble, but unmarried women approaching their mid-thirties are far more concerned with their diminishing opportunities to have children.

Miller skews the facts here:

As they age, their dissatisfactions increase so that by the time they’re 30 or 34, two-thirds say their employer doesn’t do enough to promote and encourage diverse hiring; more than a third say they don’t have female role models; and just 39 percent say they believe they can rise to the top of the organization they’re in (down from 49 percent of younger millennial women). At all ages, millennial women say they feel that men get the plum international assignments — even though they also believe that the plum international assignments are crucial to advancing their careers….

It’s as if the women have cleared spaces in their lives for meteoric careers, and then those careers have been less gratifying, or harder won, or more shrunken than they’d imagined. And what’s there to fill the space, except more Insta images of female gratification — vacations! cocktails! — that inadequately reflect the lives they lead?

What does Miller want? You guessed it, an outpouring of rage and a revolution. Added to it she proposes that young women should dispense with their hopes and dreams for home and family and become more invested in their careers:

Rage and revolution are called for, and such upheaval requires more professional investment by more females, not less.

Do you honestly believe that these embittered angry feminists are going to have families? If millennial women want to set out on a better path they would do better to understand that feminism has failed them and that the promise of social revolution has been shown, over and over again, to be a massive con.


21 comments:

David Foster said...

"They were the ones who were supposed to run stuff — who as girls imagined themselves leaving the airport in stylish trench coats, hailing a taxi with one hand while holding their cell in the other"

What a superficial vision of what an executive or senior professional job is all about.

Reminds me of the pathetic minor villain in The Fountainhead who, after his college graduation, was looking forward excitedly to the great things he would do, but couldn't remember what field he was planning to do them it.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Great... thank you.

JP said...

"That old bald cheater, Time."

I just learned a month or so ago that Ben Johnson killed a man and then claimed benefit of clergy.

That kind of surprised me. The killing part, not the benefit of clergy part.

Ares Olympus said...

What's missing here in part is the reality that marriage is a stable institution for the upper most educated class, and very unstable for the lower "working" class, assuming they get married at all.

https://www.today.com/money/marriage-luxury-good-class-divide-who-gets-married-divorced-8C11457474
-----
In recent years, people with a college degree have become more likely to get - and stay - married than their less educated counterparts, and those who stay married also tend to be much wealthier than unmarried adults.

Some experts argue that marriage itself is contributing to rising inequality, because people who are highly educated – and therefore have higher income potential – are more likely to choose each other as spouses.

There are lots of theories for why people are increasingly choosing spouses with similar educational backgrounds – or feeling like they aren’t in a financial position to choose marriage at all.

“We’re setting a higher bar for marriage today,” Wilcox said. “That bar is not easily met for working class and poor women and men.”
-----

The advice "marry young" might be correct for women who want to be mothers, but don't marry your peers, rather you have to marry up, to older and wealthier men who have established careers.

The ideal would seem to be for women to stay as attractive as possible, finish college in any old major (since upper class men want broadly educated mothers for their children), and get a token job to look useful, live with your parents if you can, until your Mrs. degree kicks in and your husband can take over.

And for women who fail on the attractiveness game to catch a man, at least they can take care of their aging parents and be good aunties and such.

sestamibi said...

"Some experts argue that marriage itself is contributing to rising inequality, because people who are highly educated – and therefore have higher income potential – are more likely to choose each other as spouses"

Bingo. Even the New York Times noticed this process, known as "assortative mating" in an article a couple of years ago. We dodged a bullet by not bringing Assortative Couple #1 back to the White House last November.

Now excuse me while I pack to attend my nephew's wedding this weekend. He and his fiancé are both doctors.

David Foster said...

"stay as attractive as possible, finish college in any old major (since upper class men want broadly educated mothers for their children), and get a token job to look useful"

Best not to incur a lot of college-loan debt while getting that degree in any old major....from what I read, a lot of men are viewing $100K loan balances as a major turnoff. (Guess it's sort of a negative dowry, or a bride-price paid not to the parents but to the barons of academia)

Also, there *are* some men...not sure how many, but a nontrivial number...who do value professional interests & accomplishments in potential wives.

Sam L. said...

Feminists hate other women. Else why would they lie to them?

Jack Fisher said...

You guys have got to unwind, seriously unwind. Feminists aren't out to get you. An MRS degree from college is as valuable as a BA or MS or PhD, probably more so for many academic degrees. My wife is a fellow professional and we raised a family just fine. If a fellow litigator wanted to avoid the brutal hours to raise a family, great. If she liked the work, fantastico.

I don't look at individuals as stereotypes or as representatives of demographic groups, why do you?

Sam L. said...

Why, just because we can! After all, aren't feminists telling women to not get married early, to get a job and work into one's 30s, and that men are just totally no-good , bounders only interested in sex, Sex, SEX?

Deana said...

I have mixed thoughts about this topic. I agree entirely that feminists did as charged and yet refuse to see how they contributed to the anguish so many of these women feel.

And yet . . . I know MANY women in their mid-to-late 40s who were raised by very traditional, religious mothers who simply wanted their daughters to get an education "just in case" their future husbands became ill, passed away at an early age, or, God forbid, left them for another woman. All of these mothers knew of cases where such things had happened and they just wanted security for their daughters. Of course they told them they could do anything but what was clear was that they wanted them to get married and have a nice family.

Well these young girls went to school, excelled, and became good employees, and good citizens because that is how their traditional mothers had raised them. These were not women out there trying to prove anything. But the husbands? They never showed up.

Why? These were not women beating on their chests and screaming about the patriarchy. These were pretty girls, accomplished, fun, financially sound, and from stable families. Did they date? Oh yes. But the men never seemed to express long term interest. Many men wanted Barbie dolls. They wanted women who partied hard. They wanted excitement.

While modern day feminists will burn in hell for the damage they have caused, not just in women but in men, children, and society in general, it is dangerous to paint the picture as one in which women are entirely to blame for the condition many find themselves in today. Many men made it abundantly clear to women that they didn't want the "nice girl" when they were in their 20s and 30s. And so time passed and these women grew older. I can't blame some of these women for feeling cheated.

The funny thing though is that I know many of these middle aged women who now run into older men in their 50s and 60s who all say the same thing: "I just can't believe no one ever snapped you up." I guess with some men, they have to age quite a bit before they can discern a good woman from one who will simply cause you grief.

AesopFan said...

Deana said...
I have mixed thoughts about this topic. I agree entirely that feminists did as charged and yet refuse to see how they contributed to the anguish so many of these women feel. ...While modern day feminists will burn in hell for the damage they have caused, not just in women but in men, children, and society in general, it is dangerous to paint the picture as one in which women are entirely to blame for the condition many find themselves in today. Many men made it abundantly clear to women that they didn't want the "nice girl" when they were in their 20s and 30s. And so time passed and these women grew older. I can't blame some of these women for feeling cheated.

The funny thing though is that I know many of these middle aged women who now run into older men in their 50s and 60s who all say the same thing: "I just can't believe no one ever snapped you up." I guess with some men, they have to age quite a bit before they can discern a good woman from one who will simply cause you grief.
* * *
A very perceptive comment. My two sisters are among those very bright, very accomplished, unmarried women. On the other hand, I have a son (ditto VBVA and unmarried) who would love to have a family, but so far hasn't found the right companion. I'm hoping that some day he will discover one of these "passed over" women who will think he is just what she's been looking for.

Anonymous said...

Jack Fisher: "I don't look at individuals as stereotypes or as representatives of demographic groups, why do you?"

Spoken like a true apostle of the church of liberal pieties. It's giggly funny to read an educated professional adult believe this virtue signaling witchcraft works. Don't think you have biases and judgments about categories of people? Here's a lollipop and a pat on the head. Now go back to your playgroup with Ares Olympus and make pretend.

Jack Fisher said...

Anonymous, what's funny is that on a board where people use fake names, you are so unsure of yourself that you have to tell us you're using a fake name.

I think this is because a girl destroyed your self image so thoroughly that you now are threatened by all women. So in your case, there are feminists on the bed and under the bed. Be afraid, little man, or just grow a pair.

Amirite?

Ares Olympus said...

Deana said... The funny thing though is that I know many of these middle aged women who now run into older men in their 50s and 60s who all say the same thing: "I just can't believe no one ever snapped you up." I guess with some men, they have to age quite a bit before they can discern a good woman from one who will simply cause you grief.

I'm open to this interpretation - many younger men are immature and stupid and marry women on looks primarily, and miss out on other more grounded women who aren't as much into game-playing to land a husband.

I've wondered which is better - to marry for the first time in your 50s or 60s with all your accumulated solitary bad habits, or start your third marriage in your 50s or 60s with a very complicated family tagging along at the holidays. I think I prefer the first one.

Anyway, statistics say its unmarried men who do much worse after middle age than unmarried women, so best to treat your wife well, even if she is a feminist.

Jack Fisher said...

AO, you actually believe that hot chicks are excluded from the class "good women" in however you interpret that concept? You and your friend Anonymous are totally invested in stereotypes.

Ares Olympus said...

Jack Fisher said... AO, you actually believe that hot chicks are excluded from the class "good women" in however you interpret that concept?

Of course not. But there is a troublesome reality that perhaps 10% of women get 90% of the attention from young men, and people of either gender used to getting 90% of the attention face less reject and have less opportunities for personal growth, seeing past their own conceits.

I'm absolutely sure many women who are very attractive are also self-aware enough to not "simply cause [men] grief" (as Deana says) to avoid her own deficiencies.

The real grief I see and hate is in the number of divorces, which are usually lead by women, and often under some rationalization about not being in love any more, and when you're shallow and self-absorbed, which is easier when you're physically attractive, its a convincing lie, along with all the other rationalizations that follow.

I don't blame feminism for divorces, but it obviously has as much potential as any other -ism for promoting bad thinking about personal responsibility.

Jack Fisher said...

It's obvious you're just making up statistics and some them are just personal projections. With "no-fault" divorce in all 50 states, you're guessing that divorces are usually filed by women who are "not in love".

My experience as an attorney is that is not the case, joint petitions are common and that "love" is almost never mentioned as involved. Financial disputes, mental or physical abuse, infidelity a lot, but not "love" and I'm pretty sure we're not using the word in the same way.

Deana said...

AesopFan -

I hope that your sisters and son DO find spouses, even if it is in their later years.

I don't think it is good for so many people to be single. We are not designed to go through life living alone, decade after decade. I think men in particular really do not do well by themselves. I recall seeing a statistic years ago that said that married men live longer than single men. When I told my sweet husband that, he quipped: "Yeah, they just wish they didn't." We laughed.

I didn't meet the man I married until I was 40. I thought for sure I would be single for my entire life and then suddenly there he was. Being married has taught me many things I never would have learned had I remained single. I am thankful every day. I just wish that a lot more people out there who are truly good souls weren't alone.

Bryant said...

I think what Jack misses that nothing happens in a bubble. Feminism as a concept basically promotes an increasingly sterile and genderless world. Its not a good world.

As for myself, I married a girl with only a high school degree(and a teenager, though almost 20) - pretty much knew that would give me the stability I needed. So far, it has worked out.

Anonymous said...

Jack + Ares, you two are meant for each other. LMAO

Jack Fisher said...

Anon, you still haven't grown a pair? Or is that regrow after you chewed off your balls the first time.