Although it is not Susan Pinker’s intention in writing it, reading her excellent book The Sexual Paradox: Troubled Boys, Gifted Girls and the Real Difference Between the Sexes cannot help but further reinforce my view that modern feminism in the 21st century is simultaneously illogical, unnecessary, and evil.
First, modern feminism is illogical because, as Pinker points out, it is based on the vanilla assumption that, but for lifelong gender socialization and pernicious patriarchy, men and women are on the whole identical. An insurmountable body of evidence by now conclusively demonstrates that the vanilla assumption is false; men and women are inherently, fundamentally, and irreconcilably different. Any political movement based on such a spectacularly incorrect assumption about human nature – that men and women are and should be identical – is doomed to failure.
Further, modern feminism is unnecessary, because its entire raison d’être is the unquestioned assumption that women are and have historically always been worse off than men. The fact that men and women are fundamentally different and want different things makes it difficult to compare their welfare directly, to assess which sex is better off; for example, the fact that women make less money than men cannot by itself be evidence that women are worse off than men, any more than the fact that men own fewer pairs of shoes than women cannot be evidence that men are worse off than women. However, in the only two biologically meaningful measures of welfare – longevity and reproductive success – women are and have always been slightly better off than men. In every human society, women live longer than men, and more women attain some reproductive success; many more men end their lives as total reproductive losers, having left no genetic offspring.
It is also not true that women are the “weaker sex.” Pinker documents the fact that boys are much more fragile, both physically and psychologically, than girls and hence require greater medical and psychiatric care. Men succumb to a larger number of diseases in much greater numbers than women do throughout their lives. The greater susceptibility of boys and men to diseases explains why more boys die in childhood and fail to reach sexual maturity and why men’s average life expectancy is shorter than women’s. This, incidentally, is the reason why slightly more boys than girls are born – 105 boys to 100 girls – so that there will be roughly 100 boys to 100 girls when they reach puberty.
Another fallacy on which modern feminism is based is that men have more power than women. Among mammals, the female always has more power than the male, and humans are no exception. It is true that, in all human societies, men largely control all the money, politics, and prestige. They do, because they have to, in order to impress women. Women don’t control these resources, because they don’t have to. What do women control? Men. As I mention in an earlier post, any reasonably attractive young woman exercises as much power over men as the male ruler of the world does over women.
Finally, modern feminism is evil because it ultimately makes women (and men) unhappy. In a forthcoming article in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania show that American women over the last 35 years have steadily become less and less happy, as they have made more and more money relative to men. Women used to be a lot happier than men despite the fact that they made much less money than men. The sex gap in happiness (in women’s favor) has declined in the past 35 years as the sex gap in pay (in men’s favor) narrowed. Now women make as much as, sometimes even more than, men do. As a result, today women are just as unhappy, or even more unhappy than, men are. As I explain in a previous post, money does not make women happy.
The feminist insistence that women behave like men and make as much money as men do may not be the sole reason for women’s rising levels of dissatisfaction with life; a greater incidence of divorce and single motherhood may also contribute to it. At any event, the culpability of modern feminism in making women steadily unhappy, because it is based on false assumptions about male and female human nature, is difficult to deny. Men’s happiness has not declined in the last 35 years, because there has not been masculinism; nobody has insisted on the radical notion that men are women, although, as Christina Hoff Sommers documents, this may be happening in our current war against boys. For anyone who is looking for an effective antidote to modern feminism, I highly recommend Danielle Crittenden’s 1999 book What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Women.
P.S. Thanks to Charles Duncan for alerting me to the Stevenson and Wolfers article.