Saturday, March 12, 2011

Women Not Under the Influence of Feminism

If the various American states are considered to be laboratories for democracy, that is, places where new policies can be tried out on a smaller scale before they are enacted on a larger scale, then Holland seems to be something of a reverse laboratory for feminist ideology.

By that I mean: How would women in advanced industrial and democratic societies live their lives if they had not suffered the influence of feminism?

The issue should not even be new news. By now it should be old news. The book that provoked the debate, Ellen de Bruin‘s Dutch Women Don‘t Get Depressed, was published in 2007.

To the best of my knowledge, the book has not yet been translated into English.

When the book was published, it elicited some commentary. More recently Jessica Olien wrote about it on the DoubleX blog, the Economist covered the story, and I wrote a column about it entitled, “Have Feminists Gotten It All Wrong?” on the Right Network.

Now the story has gotten its third wind. London Daily Mail reporter Liz Jones recently traveled to Holland to try to figure out what is going on with Dutch women. Her article is nicely entitled: “The Land That Feminism Forgot.”

Like Jessica Olien, Liz Jones found that Dutch women seem to be far happier and to have far more balanced lives than do their British counterparts.

Neither she nor any of the others who have written about this topic have figured out how it happens that Dutch women seem to be immune to feminism. How did it happen that this group of women did not allow their minds to be colonized by feminist ideology? How did they have the moral fortitude to stand up against the Anglo-American feminist tide and say: No, not here.

Why did these women, in this advanced democracy, refuse to follow the lead of Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and Germaine Greer?

In other Western countries feminism rode a fictional wave of caricatures about women’s lives. When she went to Holland, Jones wanted to put them to the test. She wanted to see for herself whether women who have escaped feminism have been consigned to lives of domestic servitude. Are they household drudges, chained to their stoves, bound to the mindless tedium of housewifery?

She concludes that despite what feminists would have you believe these women are basically very happy. I think it is fair to say that in many ways she envies their lives.

Perhaps the worst part is that Dutch women have one of the lowest divorce rates in Europe.

But why have these women made the choices they have made? Have they been brainwashed by the patriarchy? Are they relics of some prehistoric age? Why wasn’t their consciousness raised? Don’t they understand that America and Britain call the cultural shots in this world?

As Jones observes, and as Olien reported, these women live their lives the way they do because that is their free choice.

If American women do not have a free choice, then the credit, or the blame, must go to feminism for insisting that women place career above all else.

So, feminism is the enemy of women’s freedom to live their lives as they choose. To be a feminist you must live your life the way feminists choose.

Amazingly, Dutch women like having free time. Jones reports: “Studies show that Dutch women don’t want to spend more time at work: they refuse extended hours at their jobs, even if they don’t have children. And they are horrified by British women’s lack of free time.”

These women are not neurotic and dysfunctional. They are not as stressed, harried and bedraggled as she, a British journalist, is.

Dutch women do work. But most of them prefer to work part time. They pursue their education, even to the point of gaining graduate degrees. They have the option to turn their degrees into careers, but most of them do not want to.

Apparently, they choose to be less involved with their careers in order to have more time for home and family.

Working part time, they do more housework than the men who, largely, support them. If they do not have as much money as a two-earner household, they do not care.

As you might guess, and as Jones reports, this system only works because Dutch men pay for everything. And this must mean that the jobs held by men are sufficient to support a wife and family.
In America, many women work full time because they have to work full time.

While some have to do it to help support their families, others do so because they want to maintain a certain lifestyle.

Among young Americans today, it appears that women are doing better than men. Under those circumstances, going "Dutch," as the old saying goes, feels just.

In Holland, couples do not split the check. Men pay for women, men court women, and men provide for women.

Women are not the only ones who like it that way. Men do, too.

While doing her research, Jones met a young men who was running home with an armful of tulips. She asked him whether his girlfriend worked full time.

He responded, in words that no American man would dare even think: “Are you kidding? No, it is my job to worship her, to make her happy and fulfilled.”

A chastened Jones concludes: “Maybe the Dutch women have got the right idea, after all.”


Dennis said...

Women have to go to work because they went to work. When one has more people working creating more demand then the costs go up. Then it follows that one now has to go to work.
I remember a study not to long ago where it turned out for most women who went to work to be a zero sum game. By the time one figured in clothing, food, child care, getting to work, et al there was little or no gain.
It should have occurred to many women that going to work really wasn't all it was cracked up to be. By the time they figured it out they were committed to the same rat race men had to endure. Now of course they suffer the same problems men do while young men are beginning to realize they can be and do what they desire and let women do a goodly portion of the labor required and the men still get what they want with none of the responsibility.
Sometimes people are way to "smart" for their own good and chase after what someone else has until that something else is an onus and not as great as one might have considered. One should watch out for coveting what one thinks someone else has.
It would appear that Dutch women have it figured out. I wonder how many American men put women on a pedestal and treasure American women to the degree that Dutch men seem to do?
I hear young women complaining that they spend hours getting ready for a date just to have the guy show up in a "dirty" T-shirt. As they say money cannot buy you love.
I would like to say I care, but after 40 years of feminists whining I have grown immune to it. One day women will recognize that they turned themselves into the very thing they tried to avoid and being the good little feminists that they are they will blame men. They will have learned nothing.

Dennis said...

It does get one thinking. If Dutch women actually have mastered the art of listening instead of talking most of the time it might be worth a young man's time and effort to go there. That is probably a dream.
The other day my wife and I were in a restaurant and we had two young women behind us. They must have had the best breathing mechanisms going because there was very little space between words to allow respiration. My wife said something to the effect, "I cannot wait for their food to come so there might be a small bit of silence." I laughed and agreed. It occurred to me that I have gotten so used to shutting out women whine that I hardly heard them. I am old enough that I can play like I am deaf.
It does make one wonder if we do not create the very conditions that we were trying to avoid and therefore create a self-fulfilling prophesy. The more we run from who we are the more it catches up with us and usually not in the manner we would desire. Interesting.

Therapy Culture said...

Amazingly, Dutch women like having free time. Jones reports: “Studies show that Dutch women don’t want to spend more time at work: they refuse extended hours at their jobs, even if they don’t have children. And they are horrified by British women’s lack of free time.”
Alright Doc, how does this square with your blog about "meaningful lives" being those that work, make effort and "contribute to society" by doing things like selling cars and manufacturing stuff?

Moreover Holland is one of the most liberal countries on the planet, marihjuana is legal in Amsterdam, smoked widely throughout the Netherlands and women legally go topless there.

I think these facts should be factored into the "happiness" of Dutch women.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Very good point, TC. I think that Dutch women define their roles as mothers and homemakers... even if they are not yet married. And we would all agree that these roles are meaningful....

The activities that they undertake while not working seem to have much to do with homemaking and networking.

As for marijuana, my experience with people who smoke it often is that it does them no good. I certainly do not think that these women are stoned all the time.

Threrapy Culture said...

Ever been to Holland? I have. 4 Times. While the woman are not "stoned all the time" marijuana is indeed used for headaches, PMS, and just to relax and kick back every once in a while.

Holland is a very open and liberal society.

I am taken aback at the attempt to make it seem "conservative" just because women don't wanna work.

If anything, that is a symptom of its liberalness and laid-backness as compared to the United States Uber Consumerist culture.

Therapy Culture said...

Perhaps a more accurate title would be "Women Under the Influence of Socialism".

Dutch women are not workaholics because they don't have to be. Their government will pick up the slack and supplement what they need.

In the US we must be workaholics just to keep our heads above water, forget about "healthcare".

Anonymous said...

Liz Jones can talk to six people and decide that the Netherlands is the land that feminism forgot simply by making things up that fit her agenda. The woman in the coffee shop who drank coffee there for three hours a day does actually work and was totally misrepresented in the article - which interestingly has now disappeared from the Mail website, probably for legal reasons.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you for pointing out the misrepresentation in the Daily Mail article.

It happens that the larger story has been around for a while and has been documented in many other cases, so I doubt that a single misrepresentation makes the larger point invalid.

Unknown said...

Women in the Netherlands are under the influence of feminism only not as extremely blatant as they are in the United States. Having the government take care of you from the cradle to the grave is a feminist entitlement. If the sex without responsibility resulted into a pregnancy and you decided to keep the baby and not the man, the government picked up the slack. Why would you even bother working if the welfare state gives you all that you want....?
Minority women with children in the Netherlands who are used to working for a living have been forcibly excluded from society by these feminist dictates....."single women with children, are dirty and non-existent"....oppression and exploitation sanctioned by the Dutch government....and America is moving into that direction.....!