Did Feminism Destroy a Woman’s Evolutionary Means of Happiness?

The other day I randomly happened upon a blog written by a man who might be the most sexist psychologist in the modern world, which I’d write off as total BS if his blog wasn’t on Psychology Today and for the fact that the guy teaches at the London School of Economics. His whole explanation for how we act is based on his belief that men want to compete for dominance and make themselves most desirable for women because the woman picks her sexual partners and the men must just make themselves wanted. He thinks that feminism has destroyed the modern woman’s chances of happiness because it has taught us that being a mother (esp a stay-at-home mother) is something to look down upon, and in terms of evolution, that’s what a woman would be most happy doing.

Do I believe all or any of this? Not really. Obviously everyone is different, and some woman would be thrilled to chase after a corner office and live a life without children. According to this guy women are necessary in the relationship equation to force men to not have sex all the time, as gay men never stop having sex. Ignoring this guy’s obvious lack of ability to grasp reality, he makes a few good points along the way, and has lead me to some other interesting reading specifically about the woman’s role in modern society. His point on how success today is pretty much only known by the “masculine” version of success is true, even though I’m not sure competing for the corner office or making a high salary is actually masculine.

I often wonder who I’d be in society 50 years ago. I feel so lost in terms of what I want out of life these days, and deep down part of me questions if this is due to my human nature as an animal and even as a woman. But I feel dirty admitting to wanting to be feminine in the traditional sense — I couldn’t imagine accepting that my path to happiness is to be a mother, stay home, take care of the kids, cook for my husband (well, that would be a bad idea anyway since I’m a terrible cook). Then again, I feel happiest when I’m helping people, when I can be in a motherly role. My boyfriend doesn’t like it when I try to mother him (not that I try, but can’t a guy learn to iron his clothes?) so maybe having children would make me happy…

My grandmother, who is now 80, married a guy who was 20 years older than her when she was younger. She told me about the marriage a bit this weekend when I went to visit her. He was a traveling rabbi, driving around Montana, Idaho, and the Dakotas as a chaplain for the military. She liked him because men close to her age weren’t able to hold intelligent conversations (so she says, though really I think she just couldn’t find anyone willing to put up with her… she’s a bit on the nutty side of the PB&J.) After getting married, of course she didn’t work. She raised three children. That was her life.

When I talked to a career counselor for a consultation on the phone a few months ago, her voice told me she was older, perhaps in her 50s, and she went on about how I’m doing fine, that I shouldn’t worry, that only a decade or two ago I would not have any choices as a woman, and today I am doing perfectly well given how many choices I have. That gave me little comfort in my sanity.

Now that I’ve been dating a guy for more than 3 years (almost 4!) and we talk about marriage here and there, the idea of becoming a mother is going from something I thought would never happen to a possibility. Even though I know it will cost me a billion dollars to have a child or children (thanks PCOS) I have a partner now who I can see spending the rest of my life with. I know he’d be a good father. I’m not sure if I’d be a good mother… my aunt laughs whenever I talk about having kids, she thinks I’d be an awful mother (but I think despite her ability to make a great salary and force her children to eat healthy, she’s not a perfect mother either)… I just wonder if I’ll ever have kids, if being a mom is really what my genes are longing for these days… given that women are really supposed to procreate the second they hit puberty and only modern society has messed that up by creating “adolescence” (one thing I do agree with creepy sexist psychologist man about.) And now, at 26 without kids or a husband, I feel empty. Every possible path… grad school, a great career, etc, seem to be lacking something. I know I need to figure out the career thing before having children (as once I have kids I need a stable job, I’m not going to be marrying a rich guy and I’m fine with that.) But what if I wait too long and I can’t have kids? My boyfriend casually mentions that he sees us getting married in 2015. I’ll be 31. That’s not too old to get married, but it scares me that my gynecologist, when I was 15, told me if I want to have kids I should try to have them by the time I turn 30. Back then she said “don’t worry, you have time” but at 26 I don’t feel like I have any time at all. I know I can’t rely on kids to make me happy — they might do just the opposite — but at the very least they’ll help me be less selfish. So much of what makes me miserable these days is how life seems to all be about me, and there’s nothing in the world that can satisfy me, just things to do or buy to temporarily fill the void. I don’t know what would make me happy… what’s a well paying job without children in your life?

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