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Greetings! Are you aware of how sad – so sad! So prone to bleak despair! – all women now are, due perhaps to progress? Well, we are. Sad, that is! I read a study about it! It was full of SCIENCE. I even wrote about the SCIENCE, for The Guardian’s Comment is Free! Observe:

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?


  1. Llencelyn wrote:

    Nice! Of course, I say that about everything you write, so I’m not sure it has any meaning at this point… ^_^

    Still. Thanks for pointing out the not-so-obvious issues with that “study.” Maybe someone (definitely not the commenters there…) will take something good away from what you had to say.

    Friday, May 22, 2009 at 9:38 am | Permalink
  2. elphinn wrote:

    Fantastic article. It seems like many studies these days begin with perfectly reasonable premises (let’s look at the history of happieness studies) but quickly miss the rational turning-off point and barrel straight into pedantic and stupid (WOMEN! YOU ARE UNHAPPY! IF YOU THINK YOU ARE HAPPY, YOU ARE PROBABLY WRONG!)

    Friday, May 22, 2009 at 10:59 am | Permalink
  3. Jesse wrote:

    Loved the post. Went and read the study. Remind me to never again read the comments when you link to a post of yours on that site. Ugh.

    Friday, May 22, 2009 at 11:44 am | Permalink
  4. ChelseaWantsOut wrote:

    Some of the comments over there are weeeeirrdd!

    Good article, though. I like how you’re awesome.

    Some guy I know was trying to tell me that women were happier in the fifties and not as sexually exploited as they are today, but in a more roundabout way and with worse grammar. So I was like, Sha, statistics about percentages of adult men who went to prostitutes then compared to now! F’in’…well-reasoned argument! And he was like, whoa. I guess you’re right. I sure showed him.

    This is Chex, by the way. I guess I’m going to go by my usual feminist internet name here from now on or something.

    Friday, May 22, 2009 at 11:59 am | Permalink
  5. ertchin wrote:

    Pseudo-scientific bullshit has been proven to make me sadder.

    Friday, May 22, 2009 at 9:34 pm | Permalink
  6. Helen wrote:

    God, what a special commenter you got in that Grauniad article. Well, they’re all special, but this one’s a more…er, special kind of special:

    “there is a certain kind of woman that doesn’t necessarily want to get married, and is frankly repelled by the idea of dating a man that would assign her “value” corresponding to her sexual inexperience or lack thereof:”

    Hmm, lack of inexperience – had to think about that one for a moment. My own view of what would make an appropriate wife would run similarly to a job description…Erk!

    … the main difference being that experience wasn’t required or even desirable.Or, as a sad 40 year old virgin, he wants his potential wife to have suffered as much as he has. Or something.

    …I’m a keen stamp collector…Right.

    … and it has had an influence in other aspects of my life. Um – can you explain how?! I’m sorry, but my mind isn’t sufficiently prurient for this task, even at this hour after a few bevvies…

    …So – I like the ladies who might aspire to be my wifeAspire! Do you like that? Isn't he cute>

    … to be like my stamps, unmounted mint. In some cases fine used could be OK, but they’d have to expect a little less from me, but spacefillers – well, they’d only be around until a better example could be found.…!!!…

    …Women might be happier if they would turn away somewhat from the false idols of today’s world, e.g., instant beauty from a jar or the plastic surgeon, what was it – multimonogamy(?), instant hedonism/orgasm/gratification… (Etc; Snip increasingly religious rant…)

    Sady, you must snap this desirable man and his stamp collection up Stat before all the other grasping wimmin can get him!

    Saturday, May 23, 2009 at 6:29 am | Permalink