It’s International Women’s Day! In honor of this fantastic holiday, it’s only appropriate we discuss the greatness of women and how far we’ve progressed to help them. After all, women, like every other group that isn’t straight, white men, were oppressed for thousands of years, and have only started gaining major rights and privileges over the last couple hundred years. To this day, they face several disadvantages in the world, which we must work desperately to fix. But, for now, take a break, relax, and admire the great things progress has done for women.
For starters, one of our most recent achievements, we’ve put women in the military! In the interest of equality, we’ve loosened the requirements for women and allowed “weaker” (excuse the ableist phrase) ones in to show off our fantastic diversity and civil, egalitarian values. A report from 1992 finds, ““The average female Army recruit is 4.8 inches shorter, 31.7 pounds lighter, has 37.4 fewer pounds of muscle, and 5.7 more pounds of fat than the average male recruit. She has only 55 percent of the upper-body strength and 72 percent of the lower-body strength. […] The average 20 to 30-year-old woman has the same aerobic capacity as a 50 year-old man.”.
The Surgeon General’s office reports “Army women are more likely to be disabled than men and are approximately 67 percent more likely than Army men to receive a physical disability discharge for a musculoskeletal disorder.”. The troops evidently suffer from having women. In fact, the data shows units with women in them do considerably worse than all-male troops. Any losses to women’s health and army quality though are probably just due to the amount of historical oppression women have faced and within-army discrimination preventing them from getting the proper training. Right?
Of course, one of the biggest advances we’ve made (and are still making) is the sexual liberation of women. This revolution has been traceable for the past few centuries but was certainly most noticeable in America in the Roaring 20’s when large amounts of women ditched their ways of dressing modestly and respectfully – the bars and clubs, parks and pubs, all filled with what were known as “flappers”. These women wore provocative clothing and lived the fun life. Responsibility? Who had heard of the thing? After the 20’s we ended the prohibition of alcohol for the sole purpose of raising tax revenue. Never mind the point of prohibition protesters such as Carrie Nation who went around destroying bars because her husband got drunk after work and beat her.
The sixties marked another time of sexual liberation. Lyndon B. Johnson’s progressivism was mirrored into the population, which mixed with just the right amount of other variables such as the changing goals of universities, the dying Christian spirit of the West, and the decaying traditional culture caused a massive ripple. The effects are obviously amazing for women. After all, one in five people in America will be over 65 by 2040 now that fertility rates are so low, which will cause all social programs to fail and probably leave a lot of the elderly people without care. Women sleeping around and aborting their kids or using their cheap birth control is all okay because without these privileges, women would just be baby machines and we would be back in the dark ages. In the end, it’s still far better for women to have these privileges than for us to care about the good of our people and our nation (which includes them). Right?
Finally, we can’t forget the beauty of egalitarian-izing the home and forgetting those harsh gender roles women used to be exposed to. We’re obviously helping women by doing this because… because freedom, okay guys! A study from 2015 shows when there are more signs of men-women inequality in a nation such as a lack of communist history and higher proportion of Muslims, women report being happier. Another study from 1995 surveyed women from 1980 to 1988 and found as their attitudes became more egalitarian, their perceived marital quality dropped. In terms of changing roles, a study finds women who agree with the statement, “women should take care of running the house and leave running the country to men” have higher marital happiness and general individual happiness. Another study finds both husbands and wives who have more traditional views towards housework have higher sexual frequency (ergo are happier). Crazy how that works!
Over the last few decades, the advancement of women’s rights and available privileges has been very evident and fast. Women are probably as happy as they could be. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers analyze this and find it’s actually the opposite. Women are becoming more and more unhappy and report lower subjective well-being. Even as they offer other possible solutions, they say a likely cause is women’s liberation. But, hey man, at least women are freer! They just need time to catch up and adjust to this new style of life. Women still face so many cases of societal and systemic sexism and the real solution to all this is advancing women’s liberation more. Right?