Can Equality Equal Happiness?

October 23, 2009 | NeW Staff

NeW has been talking a good amount about the decline of women’s happiness recently.  It seems as though the keep coming!  My good friend and fellow blogette Jessica shared with me yet another disillusioning blog by Judith Warner.  Warner takes a different spin on the happiness paradox than NeW has taken. Whereas NeW recognizes the problems with second-wave feminism that have led to the decline in happiness, Warner claims that “society has failed women.”

The Wharton professors who released the study on the decline of women’s happiness reported they could not conclusively say why women have become increasingly unhappy. The researchers suggest one reason may be that women have too many options and societal pressures from the “increased opportunities available to them.”  Warner disagrees.  She mocks this argument by responding,

“In other words: If you expect less for yourself, you’re easier to please.”

Warner jumps from A to Z in her argument here.  What she fails to recognize once again is that many women do not want this cookie cutter modern radical feminism that she espouses.  Women in this country want to be treated with respect, and many really want to stay on that pedestal.  Women care about making a difference in the world, but many also see the calling at home very important as well.  Last week, I wrote about Warner’s argument that women will always choose to leave the home when given the choice and opportunity.  Now if that kind of advocacy doesn’t discourage individual happiness, I don’t know what does.

Women will finally be happy, she says, when they are treated equally.  Warner argues, 

women will only be happy when “roadblocks to entitlements of freedom, opportunity, respect, dignity, self-determination, and equality” are removed.

Well, I certainly believe in equality of opportunity, individual freedom, and self-determination.  But is that really what Warner wants?  Here, she is promoting an agenda that is self-serving and truly negative towards women.

NeW, as a group for culturally
conservative women, wholeheartedly advocates equality of opportunity. 
And we encourage women to pursue the careers and opportunities that
they are individually passionate about.  Key phrase to remember: “that
they are individually passionate about.”  NeW supports women in their
endeavors, and we recognize the danger in thrusting the feminist dogma
that claims career and sexually liberty will bring true fulfillment.  Arguments like Warner’s about how to achieve female happiness are dangerous and need to be challenged.

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