Dennis Prager’s thought-provoking columns are always interesting to read, and I agree with his arguments most of the time. A column this week is an exception to the rule. You can read it here, but to sum it up, he suggests that just as men as a group have more aggressive natures than women do, women as a group have a tendency to being malcontent.
Dennis’ thought process started when he recently read Betty Friedan’s seminal book from 1963, The Feminine Mystique. In January, 2015, I too, decided that, as a book that helped launch the feminist movement, it was worth a read. Like Dennis, I too commented that having achieved more than Ms. Friedan imagined, women today should be rejoicing. Instead, we see many women who are bitter and discontented. I wrote an article asking, “Could it be that…women are just complainers regardless of what is happening?” Dennis and I answer that question differently.
I do agree that, in the aggregate, women and men have different natures. Women are more emotionally driven than men are, a quality that, just like male aggressiveness, can help or harm society. If women adulate and even adopt men’s aggressiveness, as has sometimes happened in history, the world becomes a cruel and vicious place. If men adulate and adopt women’s emotionalism, as has happened in our culture since the 1960s, the world becomes an unhappier and less productive place.
On issue after issue, men have failed to be men, falling prey to emotional and illogical arguments ranging from, “a woman’s body is her own,” when there is clearly another human being sharing that body, to the culture-destroying, “intentions matter more than results.” Most of all, both men and women emotionally embraced the attitude of victimhood, seeing happiness and fulfillment as an obligation that society must deliver. Men and women have chosen and been taught not to take responsibility for their own lives, but to depend on the government and others.
People respond to a false sense of victimhood in different ways. Real injustice can be fought; fake injustice cannot. Men are more likely to respond to this frustration by taking drugs, committing suicide, getting into fights or taking stupid physical risks. In the past decades women increasingly respond by becoming both unhappy and political activists. As we chase God out of our lives, we are supremely less well-equipped to elevate gratitude and appreciation over bitterness and sullenness. As I wrote in my Musing on this topic, “Those of us who wish to be happy need to inoculate ourselves against that virus, surrounding ourselves with women looking for realistic joy rather than victimhood.” That is true for men as well. Sorry Dennis, but sinking into misery rather than counting our blessings is a human failing, not a feminine one.
P.S. I received a lot of positive comments on last week’s Musing about vaccinations. I also received private messages appalled that I would write this during a measles outbreak. I wish those who wrote privately telling me how irresponsible I was would have posted publicly as well.
I was not specifically talking about the measles vaccine, though my timing may not have been the best, and as I said, I see both sides of this issue. Lack of trust is rampant in many areas of our lives now, and that includes lack of trust in the medical community. In another field, Boeing’s only chance of reviving consumer confidence in the 737 MAX and the company in general means that they have to accept responsibility for their wrongs and explain what will change. Similarly, I think the onus is on the officials of the American Medical Association, politicians and other in leadership to acknowledge when they have given priority to concerns other than the safety of patients and explain what will change going forward. Certainly, a measles outbreak will encourage some parents who were hesitating to vaccinate to do so, but as long as underlying worries are not aired and respectfully dealt with, I don’t see a change in the basic lack of confidence in the medical establishment that exists among many loving and intelligent parents.
Can understanding the Hebrew word for happiness help you achieve it?
How about wealth, family and laughter?
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