Women: you are all terribly sad now. This, anyway, is the message of “The paradox of declining female happiness,” a new study by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolvers of the University of Pennsylvania. The study, which takes into account various happiness surveys – these exist! And people are paid to conduct them! – from the 1970s to the present, comes to some fairly troubling conclusions: although women have better educations, better pay, more sexual and reproductive freedom, and a greater capacity for self-determination than ever before, we’re less happy than ever.
“Women have become less happy, both absolutely and relative to men. Women have traditionally reported higher levels of happiness than men, but are now reporting happiness levels that are similar or even lower than those of men,” quoth the study. It’s a fairly sensational point. (Feminism has betrayed women! Don’t you miss the days when all you had to worry about was birthing babies, cleaning kitchens, and satisfying your man? Well, you should!) However, as you read the study – which I have done, at great risk to my own personal happiness – it becomes clear that it isn’t the whole story.
Yes, friends, upon close examination, this entire study has a rich aroma of backlashy pseudo-scientific bullshit! I have shoveled through it, however. So go read the rest. Please?