Wednesday, March 12, 2008

a theory on women and depression

Yes, it's my own. No, there's no scientific proof. I haven't done any studies. But here goes: The supposed increase in women's depression is a direct result of how absolutely impossible it is to live up to social and family expectations that are placed (often forced) upon us. What do you think?

Amanda Marcotte, author of the very recently released It's a Jungle Out There!, debunks several of the more prevalent theories (bullshit assertions) in her March 11 post. She provides important facts women should know, lest they believe that feminism is to blame, which it is, according to Dennis Prager.

Dennis says, "Feminism raised women's expectations beyond what life can deliver to the vast majority of them."

Isn't that interesting? Feminism raised our expectations. I didn't realize that. I guess I think that my expectations are high because I have grown up to believe that I have the right AND the capacity to make choices. As women, we can choose to work and have a family and have a fulfilling social life, too, or we can work and not have a family, or stay home and have a family and not work. But you see, it's these choices that are the problem, because in having choice, women are maligned pretty much no matter what.

Here's what it's like for women (and I can confidently say that men, by and large, do not have this same experience): When you're perfectly happy but single, you're delusional. When you're in a perfectly happy relationship, just enjoying your partner, the question on people's lips is, "When are you planning on starting a family?" When you're single and dating, you're looking for a man to knock you up. If you're over thirty and dating, you're to be pitied. If you're fulfilled by your career and putting off children, you're naive, because if you wait too long you're going to be infertile, or too old to be a good mom, or you're going to have a child with birth defects.

So you see, back to my theory, women don't like letting people down, especially people they love. But you do when you're a woman, because that elusive, perfect life---having a great husband (not a lover or a partner or a boyfriend or girlfriend, no), an amazing family life (with at least two kids), and of course a job that has flexible hours and really good benefits---is either out of reach, not in line with your values, or doesn't exist. The desire for that picture-perfect life is so so strong, and so that thing we do to women---assuming that they must be miserable for any combination of the abovementioned things they're lacking---probably does make a lot of us unhappy. I wonder what it would look like if a study were done that focused on the support women have for their choices. A sample question might be: "How would you feel if the people who love you were supportive of you no matter what choice you made?" It's revolutionary, I know, but I wonder.

---Brooke

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Suck it, Prager.