Nice try, but this New York Times article ("He’s Happier, She’s Less So"), from late September, made me sad, not happy. It's about the "growing happiness gap between men and women."
Yes, I do think that dusty floors and shmutzy counter-tops affect my happiness more than they affect that of my male peers. The level of cleanliness and lack of clutter that I would need, in my apartment, to really be happy with it/my life, is basically unattainable without, say, cleaning a little bit every day. I am currently not willing to do that, even though doing that might increase my happiness. It would also decrease the amount of time that I could devote to eating dinner, blogging, or reading the paper. It's a tough balance.
Mr. Krueger, analyzing time-use studies over the last four decades, has found an even starker pattern. Since the 1960s, men have gradually cut back on activities they find unpleasant. They now work less and relax more.
Over the same span, women have replaced housework with paid work — and, as a result, are spending almost as much time doing things they don’t enjoy as in the past. Forty years ago, a typical woman spent about 23 hours a week in an activity considered unpleasant, or 40 more minutes than a typical man. Today, with men working less, the gap is 90 minutes.
[snip] What has changed — and what seems to be the most likely explanation for the happiness trends — is that women now have a much longer to-do list than they once did (including helping their aging parents). They can’t possibly get it all done, and many end up feeling as if they are somehow falling short.
Mr. Krueger’s data, for instance, shows that the average time devoted to dusting has fallen significantly in recent decades. There haven’t been any dust-related technological breakthroughs, so houses are probably just dirtier than they used to be. I imagine that the new American dustiness affects women’s happiness more than men’s.
[snip] A big reason that women reported being happier three decades ago — despite far more discrimination — is probably that they had narrower ambitions, Ms. Stevenson says. Many compared themselves only to other women, rather than to men as well. This doesn’t mean they were better off back then.
But it does show just how incomplete the gender revolution has been. Although women have flooded into the work force, American society hasn’t fully come to grips with the change. The United States still doesn’t have universal preschool, and, in contrast to other industrialized countries, there is no guaranteed paid leave for new parents.
This brief article is but one in a very, very long line of newspaper and magazine articles that reiterates the idea that "No, women really can't have it all."
I have become more and more convinced that this is true. I don't think that this makes me a post-feminist or a non-feminist, or is a backlash against the "women can have it all" ethos of the second wave feminists. It's more of a statement of reality than of idealism, to me.
I think I first started feeling this way when I was 18 and spending a year studying in Israel, comparing my experiences in yeshiva to those of my male peers. Expectations of and by women in terms of Jewish learning and so many other things are different than expectations of and by men, and these differences, as far as I can tell, are almost exclusively to women's disadvantage.
Perhaps I will write more on this at another time.