A new study is fanning the flames of post-feminism discontent. Exploring marital happiness among women, the sociologists at the University of Virginia reached a number of interesting conclusions. One striking discovery was that women who strongly identify as progressive (i.e. agree most with feminist ideals) have a harder time being happy than their peers.
Although none of the conclusions drawn from this information are verifiable, members of the media seem to engage in verbal contortions just to prove this in no way invalidates the messages or goals of the feminist movement.
It just couldn't be that traditional marriages, marriages with more rigidly defined roles, marriages based on religious principles, lead to happier women. Or could it?
Daily our newspapers are filled with stories of bright, well-educated young women leaving high-powered careers to go home and care for their children, oblivious to the contempt of their "feminist" sisters.
In a recent (3/10/06) Wall Street Journal piece, Karlyn Bowman couldn't help but note that "a large proportion of women and men continue to have what academics scornfully refer to as 'traditional gender ideologies.' In a Radcliffe/Fleet Boston study, 97% of 21-to-29-year-old women said they expected their partner to work outside the home. Of their male counterparts, only 69% gave that response. The persistence of traditional attitudes explains why chores aren't a big source of familiar disputes and also why sex segregation in chores (women do laundry, men take out the trash) remains robust."
If they can afford it, many women prefer to be the ones raising their children, perhaps working part-time. Studies of dating practices of even college attendees illustrate young women's desires to be pampered and treated, to play the more 'old-fashioned' female role.
"If he expects me to pay, the relationship is over," explains one eager coed. "I want to be taken care of," echoes another.
We just can't fight the hard-wiring. We can't fight the way the Almighty established His world.
Not only were women created to play a specific role in the marriage, we want to play defined part. We want to help our husbands when they need our help, gently (or not so gently) nudge them to prevent them from making serious mistakes, look after the home and feel looked after in turn. This doesn't mean our lives revolve around seeing our faces in the dishes. The fifties gave the stay-at-home wife and mom a bad name. It's time to reclaim it with pride and respect.
Women want to, in quaint terms, keep the home fires burning. Not without assistance (the study also determined that women were happier when men were perceived to contribute to the work at home!) but in recognition that this is our most valuable endeavor.
Madison Avenue is famous for ad campaigns promising NEW products, the assumption being that new is always better. Some of us are learning, sometimes the hard way, to value the OLD ways of our tradition.