Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Who is Happiest Among Women? Housewives?

My neighbor with whom I debate politics from time-to-time agrees with me on very little. But we have this in common. We expect the pendulum to swing to and fro in a predictable way. This is very true of a place where science, philosophy, and politics cross paths. Every new science headline results in a potential new philosophical direction, which might also be used to political advantage.

In my lifetime, we saw science come to the conclusion that women and men were more alike than different. This resulted in a philosophy called Feminism, and established a new cause for the left, who is always happy to find a new group of victims to add to the fold.

Now science is concluding that women and men are really very, very different. New philosophies are developing which suggest that women need equal treatment (the Bible has said so for thousands of years), but that it is very reasonable for women to want to be Mom's and homemakers who have no real ambitions in the world of commerce. Writes Charlotte Allen of the Independent Women's Forum in the Sunday LA Times "Current Section on Sunday, March 5, 2006:"

The return of the happy housewife

BETTY FRIEDAN, it seems, died just in time to roll over in her grave.

A new study by two University of Virginia sociologists concludes that stay-at-home wives whose husbands are the primary family breadwinners don't suffer from "the problem that has no name," as Friedan famously wrote in 1963. In fact, the majority of full-time homemakers don't experience any kind of special problem, according to professors W. Bradford Wilcox and Stephen L. Nock, who analyzed data from a huge University of Wisconsin survey of families, conducted during the 1990s.

Here are the figures, published in this month's issue of the journal Social Forces: 52% of wives who don't work outside the home reported they were "very happy" with their marriages, compared with 41% of wives in the workforce.

The more traditional a marriage is, the sociologists found, the higher the percentage of happy wives. Among couples who have the husband as the primary breadwinner, who worship together regularly and who believe in marriage as an institution that requires a lifelong commitment, 61% of wives said they were "very happy" with their marriages. Among couples whose marriage does not have all these characteristics, the percentage of happy wives dips to an average of 45.

Check out the next article from Mona Charen.

gender politics
traditional roles

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