Tag Archives: feminism

Do Kids Make Women Less Happy in Life?

Facinating read from Maureen Dowd:

Marueen Dowd

Marueen Dowd

In the early ’70s, breaking out of the domestic cocoon, leaving their mothers’ circumscribed lives behind, young women felt exhilarated and bold.

But the more women have achieved, the more they seem aggrieved. Did the feminist revolution end up benefiting men more than women?

According to the General Social Survey, which has tracked Americans’ mood since 1972, and five other major studies around the world, women are getting gloomier and men are getting happier.

Before the ’70s, there was a gender gap in America in which women felt greater well-being. Now there’s a gender gap in which men feel better about their lives.

Dowd goes on to mention studies that show that women with children are less happy, on average, than those without.

When women stepped into male- dominated realms, they put more demands — and stress — on themselves. If they once judged themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens and dinner parties, now they judge themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens, dinner parties — and grad school, work, office deadlines and meshing a two-career marriage.

“Choice is inherently stressful,” Buckingham said in an interview. “And women are being driven to distraction.”

One area of extreme distraction is kids. “Across the happiness data, the one thing in life that will make you less happy is having children,” said Betsey Stevenson, an assistant professor at Wharton who co-wrote a paper called “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness.” “It’s true whether you’re wealthy or poor, if you have kids late or kids early. Yet I know very few people who would tell me they wish they hadn’t had kids or who would tell me they feel their kids were the destroyer of their happiness.”

The more important things that are crowded into their lives, the less attention women are able to give to each thing.

Is the maternal instinct self-defeating? What do you say, ladies?

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Pepsi advises men on how to score with women

Pepsi has created a storm of controversy for itself, and a lot of bad p.r. Marketers for Pepsi’s energy drink AMP (a beverage targeted primarily toward men) created an iPhone app, which stereotypes different women and offers advice and pick-up lines with the aim of helping guys “score” with each different type of woman.

Pepsis AMP up before you score application

Pepsi's "AMP up before you score" iPhone application

There’s advice for bookworms, girls on the rebound, even – so I hear – for how to score with a married woman. Wow, that was well thought through, Pepsi. Nice job.

Will the National Organization for Women organize a boycott? I might have to join them on this one. Ah, misogyny – the marketing tool of self-destructive corporations. It says something, however, about our culture that this could have been considered a good idea by any corporate marketing team.

Pepsi is backpedaling hard on this one. But I wonder how many gals will switch to Coca Cola.

Feminism and Pornography

Another bit of evidence of the strange connection between feminism and pornography that keeps appearing in contemporary cultural commentary. Did you know that Playboy has been run by a woman (Hugh Hefner’s daughter) for the last thirty years?

I found this remark about Christie Hefner in the NY Times:

“She’s certainly a liberal feminist and a liberal Democrat,” said Mr. Navasky, former editor of the liberal Nation. “People would say, ‘so what’s she doing putting out a magazine and running clubs catering to horny men?’ But she found a way to make it work consistent with her values, to serve Playboy and her father and give them an opportunity to do socially useful things.”

So, objectifying women by selling their nude pictures to men is now supposed to be “consistent” with feminist values?

Does this look like feminism to you?

A line from a NY Times review of the new Vercace collection caught my eye:

Is this feminist?

Is this a feminist?

Alice in Wonderland — and the energy of pattern and color,” said Donatella Versace as she stood backstage among a posse of look-alike model clones, raised on mighty platform soles. They had lined up in a finale in which the vivid prints and iridescent inserts made a backdrop for the designer.

This was Donatella in Wonderland — the first show she has done that captured absolutely the witty and lively spirit of her late brother, Gianni, but with the sexy clothes given a bold, feminist perspective.

The fashion review says that Vercace’s “sexy clothes” convey a “feminist perspective.” But the logic behind this is odd. Clothes, after all, are meant to be looked at. And seeing comes before wanting. The woman who wears the clothes becomes the object of another’s gaze, attention and desire. Sexy clothes enhance the idea that the woman is the object of male desire. So in what way are sexy clothes “feminist?”

One hears a lot these days about the supposed link between feminism and super-charged sexuality. Women take on an aggressive sexual persona and, so the story goes, become more male-like, ultimately beating men at their own game. That’s the Madonna shtick. And you see it from Hollywood with shows like “Cougar Town.” Women seek to hold onto their youth and their social power by going after lots of men, especially younger men. Isn’t Madonna hauling around some model half her age these days?  It makes for a salacious image. But I’m not so sure it works that way in real life. (And I’m not the only one who has doubts, as Judith Warner made clear yesterday.)

Courtney Cox stars in Cougar Town

Courtney Cox stars in "Cougar Town"

Feminists have long fought against the objectification of women – their being relegated to the role of the passive pursued, or their being valued according to how much men want them.

There is nothing wrong with looking sexy,  in my opinion, as long as it’s not slutty. And desirability does give a woman a certain kind of power. But the idea that looking sexy is supposed to be seen as “a feminist thing” seems to me to be a fantasy of those who want to cast off the old marmish image of 60’s-era feminism, but also want to feel like they have held true to the ideals of that same movement. But you can’t wear the bra and burn it at the same time.

Wearing sexy clothes is a rejection of feminism, not an expression of it.

P.S. I promise, no more fashion postings this week! I don’t know what got into me, honest.