I thought long and hard about whether or not to link to the article I’m focusing on in this post. I’m not interested in adding to the popularity of his posts, so I won’t be directly linking to it. On the other hand, if you really want to read the article, search for washing machine, the Pill and Breitbart, and you will find it.
This unashamedly gay Republican is part of what is considered the alt-right. These are the fringe of the conservative side of the spectrum. They are kind of fringe for the Right as the radFems (this includes many feminists who consider ANY penis-in-vagina sex is ALWAYS rape, and essentially want to eliminate men as a whole. Sadly, many of them are anti-transgender as well) are as fringe for the Left.
I’ve looked at some of his articles, as well as what Breitbart.com stands for. When I first came across his article, I was absolutely convinced that it was a satire website such as the Onion or the Daily Currant. The article was just too far-fetched to be someone’s real opinion, I felt.
According to him, if we got rid of washing machines and the Pill, women in this country would go “back” to being happy.
His complaint about the washing machine was that it “effectively freed up half the human species to enter the workforce. His issue with the Pill is that it is “used to lower a woman’s estrogen levels and reduce the likelihood of her becoming pregnant.”
Now, there are a couple of issues here.
Let’s deal with the second first, as it is easier to debunk. There is not just one single kind of oral contraceptive on the market. Many of them, in fact, have both estrogen and progesterone in their mix. It has been found that the combined pills (with both) is actually more effective than just the progesterone pill. I know this, besides the medical research, because I tried many different formulations of “the Pill” as well as the progesterone only. In fact, none of them worked for me — because my body has, until recently, had TOO MUCH estrogen. And until they found bio-available formulations of progesterone, the only reaction I had to it was to become unreasonably and unexplainably angry (as you can guess, I dropped taking that pill within a week of starting it).
The other (the washing machine) is bit bigger bite to chew upon. He references NBER’s The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness as support for his view that women were somehow happier with less opportunities available to them.
One of the reasons that the NBER paper references for the decline in happiness is that women are “hedonically worse off.” The problem is, however, that they claim not that women are sick and tired of being the one who shoulders most of the domestic work (cleaning, cooking, childcare, etc) but that women are unwilling to allow their male partners to have emotional responsibility for those particular required domestic needs.
I don’t know who they used to do their research, but I know damned well that it is not that women aren’t willing to emotionally relinquish domestic responsibilities, but that too many men are both uneducated and uninterested in being educated on those domestic responsibilities.
The more that women become involved in wage earning, the less hard that the male partner in a heterosexual couple has to work. Additionally, with less work, the male partner is suddenly offered more time to involve himself in hobbies. And those hobbies are rarely things that bring income or ease into the home. For example, the complaints about boyfriends and husbands who spend their entire time at home playing online games.
The past 35 years (the time period involved) can also be explained as the transitioning stage. We are only two generations away from the time when women were primarily housewives. And one of those generations of women was expected to be a “Superwoman” — in essence be the perfect wife and mother at home and the perfect business person at work. Those of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s were expected to grow up and be that perfect person.
Obviously, it is not something that is humanly possible.
But we’re still dealing with the fallout from that expectation. Some of the women of my generation insisted that their sons know how to cook, clean and launder their own clothes — for example, my own sister made sure her sons were capable of these things. Others simply took it as expected that their sons’ wives (if heterosexual) would do all of that for their husbands.
We’re not unhappy because we somehow have more “free time” and don’t know what to do with it. We’re unhappy because most of us DO NOT have that so-called “free time.”
Do you know what I have found now that I am divorced? I actually DO have “free time.”
I still have to wash dishes. I still have to cook, but only for myself because my sister and I aren’t always hungry at the same time. I still have to pick up things. But I no longer have to chase after (or worse, have an argument about) a husband making keeping the house reasonable a bigger job.
And I’ve also realized that having the “perfect home” may have been within the capabilities of my grandmother or even my mother (who often had to put up with the “cleaning standards” of my grandmother), but they are impossible for my generation. Or, at least, impossible unless everyone in the home (men included) take the time and energy to keep it that way.
So, no. Removing the washing machine and the Pill won’t make us women happier. Getting some men off of their lazy behinds would do it.