It is widely reported that women suffer depression at twice the rate of men. Apparently, more women are clinically depressed than ever before. On the assumption that these assessments are true, the question anyone interested in the subject -- which means anyone who cares about any woman -- asks is, why?
In a recent column I offered one explanation -- the impossibly high expectations for happiness that feminism created for many women.
There are other possible explanations.
One is the way in which many girls have been raised.
As every wise person and wise culture in history has known, it is impossible to attain any happiness without conquering one's nature. This is, of course, equally true for boys and girls, men and women. However, along with feminism arose a belief in the superiority of female nature. One result of this has been the suppressing of many male instincts -- both negative and positive -- along with little or no suppression of negative female instincts.
Societies and parents always knew that it was imperative to teach boys to control two aspects of their male nature -- their sexual desires and their predilection for violence. So all of us decent men were taught from a young age to touch a woman sexually only with her permission and to channel our physical aggression into sports or into helping to fight evil by joining a police force, or the military, or by being prepared to physically defend innocents. Men who did not learn to control these aspects of male nature not only became bad men, they became unhappy men. Happiness is attainable only when we control our nature and not when our nature controls us.
Societies and parents also always knew that it was imperative to teach girls to control their natures -- in particular their predilection to be ruled by their emotions. Women who allowed their emotions to rule them not only became destructive (to members of their families first and foremost), they became unhappy women.
However, with the advent of contemporary feminism and other social trends that coincided with the rise of feminism -- among them the elevation of compassion over standards, the great emphasis placed on feelings, the rejection of patriarchy and the devaluation of traditional masculine virtues (like subdued emotional expression) -- female nature came to be seen as far less in need of discipline than male nature.
So, while society continued to teach boys to control themselves, it stopped teaching girls to do so. Girls' emotions and feelings were inherently valuable. And denying this was attacked as sexist, if not misogynistic.
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”