Thanks to reader Catherine for waking me up with a reminder that, as we all suspected he would, Douche-hat is going to give into the urge to use his NY Times column to hump his favorite theme, which is that women are a sick, weird subspecies of human that, while looking human, are simply too disgusting with their girl bits and overwhelming desires to be treated like human beings. This one is a real howler, because he posits that he’s a New Man, and that his misogyny is a fancy new kind of sexism that even feminists should love. No, I’m not joking.
But a new-model stigma shouldn’t (and couldn’t) look like the old sexism.
Nice try, bubs, but we know that you are committed to an extremely old-fashioned sexism, one that goes back millenia and treats women who have any kind of sexuality at all like they’re grotesque.
Douche-bag’s excuse for pretending that he’s going to show the stupid feminists how it’s really done—and god, some man has to, and it can’t be a man who agrees that women are human beings, because such man is a brainwashed pussy who probably fucks eager women without throwing up in disgust, amiritefellas?—is this paper that’s behind a pay wall claiming that men’s happiness has gone up since the 70s while women’s has gone down. Since every other number I’ve ever seen shows that people are happier with relationships since feminism—and since women have enjoyed declining rates of rape, domestic violence, and depression since then—I’m skeptical and would like to see this study. But barring the quite likely possibility that Douthat is being dishonest about its contents, it seems that the major reason women are unhappy is that they have so many kids to take care of, and if you add that to a full-time job, then you’re just plain stressed out. Particularly so if you’re an American and you don’t get to do things like take vacation or refuse to work unpaid overtime.
What’s funny is that Douthat accepts and refuses to accept this verdict. No, I’m not joking. He actually claims that men and women do the same amount of housework, so it can’t be that.
Again, maybe the happiness numbers are being tipped downward by a mounting female workload — the famous “second shift,” in which women continue to do the lion’s share of household chores even as they’re handed more and more workplace responsibility. It’s certainly possible — but as Wolfers and Stevenson point out, recent surveys actually show similar workload patterns for men and women over all.
Well, someone’s full of shit. That, or jacking the stats to say what they want it to say. Then again, if a woman works 40 hours a week on housework because she doesn’t have a paid job, but her husband works 40 hours a week at a job he loves where he gets paid, that could go a long way to explaining why they have different satisfaction levels. But I’m dying from laughter that Douthat is actually trying to sell this notion that American men largely come home from work and join their wives in cleaning and cooking and chasing children around at exactly the same levels. Not by any statistic I’ve ever seen.
If you believe that men and women log in the same number of work hours, and there’s a growing gap between them of happiness, then there’s only one explanation, I’m guessing: women are simps. I’m not even remotely surprised that Douthat thinks that your average housewife enjoyed a life of utter leisure, where the most she worked was by occasionally running a towel over something or straightening a pillow, and that the only price she paid for this life of leisure was subservience, which she enjoys, since women are actually members of the species Canis familaris. He says as much in his column.
The traditionalist will see evidence of a revolution gone awry, in which women have been pressured into lifestyles that run counter to their biological imperatives, and men have been liberated to embrace a piggish irresponsibility.
Biological imperatives? He sounds like a dog obedience instructor explaining why you shouldn’t feel guilty about playing the alpha to your dog, because dogs crave authority. And they do. Because they’re an entirely different species. Women aren’t, despite our disgusting lady parts and disgusting contraceptive habits.
Douthat’s solutions to women’s unhappiness problems are a) more flex time and b) make women even more miserable and unhappy. I’m beginning to suspect his enthusiasm for the former stems from a belief that if women get more flex time, they’ll be taken off promotion tracks, and ideally he’ll be able to work his way into male-only environments that reduce his encounters with women that may or may not be using contraception. I don’t mean sexual encounters—said women are clearly so disgusting that they can’t be encountered in hallways. Ideally, we can use “flex time” as an excuse to start making rules banishing menstruating women to their proper places in huts and out of the office.
As for b):
They should also be able to agree that the steady advance of single motherhood threatens the interests and happiness of women. Here the public-policy options are limited; some kind of social stigma is a necessity. But a new-model stigma shouldn’t (and couldn’t) look like the old sexism. There’s no necessary reason why feminists and cultural conservatives can’t join forces — in the same way that they made common cause during the pornography wars of the 1980s — behind a social revolution that ostracizes serial baby-daddies and trophy-wife collectors as thoroughly as the “fallen women” of a more patriarchal age.
No reason, of course, save the fact that contemporary America doesn’t seem willing to accept sexual stigma, period.
That’s right! Feminists should get on board with abusing women for daring to have sexual desire. That will solve women’s unhappiness problem. Never mind that there is one surefire way to avoid single motherhood that involve what Douthat considers the worst kind of sexual irresponsibility—contraception and abortion as back-up. But I can’t even jump all over this, because seriously, his solution for making women happier is haranguing them, judging them despicable and disgusting human beings, and repressing their sexuality. I look forward to when he decides that regular beatings improve women’s happiness levels.
One thing that seems true from Douthat’s excretions is that children are a factor in these happiness levels. This isn’t surprising at all—it’s been well-demonstrated that inviting children in your home to mess things up, keep you up at night, and stress you out all the time has a negative effect on all people’s happiness levels. This is true for men and women, single and married. It’s true that women suffer more than men, and that single women suffer the most at all, but let’s face it. Douthat is talking band-aid solutions that allow the happiness-eroding fundamentals to stay in place. Since he’s already advanced the premise that pushing women’s happiness at all costs—even at the cost of their own happiness—is necessary, then surely he’s on board with the obvious solution, which is for people to just stop having kids. This solves the single motherhood problem while also compromising neatly with the feminist desire to spread sexual immorality far and wide. Remember: You can do it in the living room every night if you want if you don’t have kids.
Of course, that idea is farcical, and so is Douthat’s belief that the solution to women’s unhappiness is to force them into miserable and often abusive marriages for the sake of sexual propriety. I’d suggest that Douthat leave the strategy of pretending to give a shit about the womb-bearing floor scrubbers to social conservatives who can hide their contempt for the very existence of women a little bit better.