Shaunti Feldhahn: From the right

‘Having it all’ is a feminist myth

Published: 10.09.2007

The reason women feel so pressured isn’t because the choices exist but because feminism told us we should seize them all. Feminism wasn’t just about equality for women, but about pushing the superwoman addiction. But as all frazzled superwomen know, that’s a recipe for nervous breakdown – or for years of regret down the road.

I was blessed with a college-graduate mom who chose to be a domestic engineer. But in the 1970s, she was ridiculed so much for her stay-at-home status that she dreaded even talking about it and risk hearing condescending women say, “That’s all you do?”

However, I’m sure my mother is far more happy – not less – for her choice to wait on her nursing career until her children were older, instead of trying to have it all, all at once.

Carrie Lukas, vice president of policy at the Independent Women’s Forum and author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex and Feminism,” shared in an interview how hurtful feminist messages can be to women’s happiness.

For example, she found feminist literature tended to “only focus on the negative problems of marriage, which contributes to the idea that marriage is disposable. But married women in general are much happier.”

One of feminism’s biggest and most devastating myths is that you can “have it all.”

But as Lukas also pointed out: “Having choices doesn’t mean you don’t have to make a choice. There are going to be sacrifices no matter what choice you make.”

I agree it’s significant that the “Happiness Gap” study found increased dissatisfaction for women across the board – but for a very different reason.

Most women have a deep desire for someone with whom to share their life, to have children and watch them grow.

There’s nothing wrong with seizing our modern workplace opportunities.

But if a woman pursues those opportunities at the expense of her personal desires and then finds that she’s lonely, past child-bearing age or has missed the key moments in her children’s lives, why wouldn’t she have regrets?

I believe women would be far happier if feminism had been content with just pressing for equality for women – and hadn’t made my last paragraph so politically incorrect.