The feminists are going through one of their periodic soul-searching psychological examinations of what the women's liberation movement did or did not do for them, and why they are not happy with the result. Feminist dominance in newspapers, magazines, book publishers, television and academia makes it easy to command a full media rollout for their agonizing.
The media are glad to divert public attention from the failure of Barack Obama's stimulus to create jobs. So, we have ponderous discussions: Maria Shriver's report (with help from a liberal think tank) called "A Woman's Nation Changes Everything," a Time Magazine cover story headlined with the double entendre "The State of the American Woman," Gail Collins' book "When Everything Changed" and articles from all the feminist columnists.
We wonder if it's just a coincidence that this torrent of words immediately precedes Halloween. The writers are scared of their own research because it contradicts much of their gender-neutral ideology.
These well-educated writers long ago identified the major goal of the women's liberation movement as getting more wives out of the home and into the labor force. They've been strikingly successful with this goal -- women are now half the labor force, and 40 percent of women are essential family breadwinners.
In the current recession, the majority of workers laid off have been men (especially from construction and manufacturing). Jobs where women predominate have not been much affected.
Even so, the feminists demanded that the Obama administration give half the stimulus jobs to women rather than to the shovel-ready work that was the reason for passing the stimulus funds. Whatever the feminists demand from the Democrats they get, and the stimulus money was directed to jobs in education, health care and social services.
So what are the feminists complaining about? They want the taxpayers to provide high-quality daycare and paid family leave, to pass laws to prohibit employers from ordering women to work overtime (as men are often required to do) and probably to force men to assume half the household and baby-care duties.
The feminists are still crying about President Richard Nixon vetoing a federal program to make daycare a middle-class entitlement. But Nixon's action was popular then and still is because the majority of Americans don't want their tax dollars to pay for babysitters for other people's children.
No doubt this will come as a shock to the feminists, but Time Magazine reports that "a majority of both men and women still say it is best for children to have a father working and a mother at home."
Women's percentage in the labor force keeps rising because of who is going to college. Thirty years ago, the ratio of males to females on college campuses was 60 to 40; now it's 40 to 60, and women receive the majority of college degrees.
But the feminists are griping because women students choose humanities majors that lead to lesser-paid jobs than male students, who in larger numbers choose math and science. The feminists want government to remedy this gender difference by bribing women with taxpayers' money to make other choices.
Joanne Lipman, who has held several of the biggest jobs in publishing but still whines that "progress for women has stalled," nevertheless makes a couple of sensible comments. She writes that feminists defined "progress for women too narrowly; we've focused primarily on numbers at the expense of attitudes."
She's right about that. Attitude is the problem with feminists -- as long as they believe they are victims of an oppressive patriarchy, they will never be successful.
Women won't be happy as long as they believe the false slogan (repeated in most of these current articles) that women make only 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. The Equal Pay Law was passed in 1963, but it requires only equal pay for equal work, and women in the labor force don't work nearly as many hours per week as men do.
Lipman also urges feminists to "have a sense of humor" -- a very constructive proposal. When I tell a joke during my college lectures, I can identify the feminists by the students who are not laughing.
Only one sentence in all these feminist articles confronts the fundamental reason that today's women are not as happy as women were in 1972. Time Magazine wrote, "Among the most dramatic changes in the past generation is the detachment of marriage and motherhood."
That's what the feminist movement did to America. All those impressive statistics about women holding well-paying jobs and receiving college degrees will not produce happy women as long as 39 percent of children are born to unmarried mothers who lack a loving husband and look to Big Brother Government as provider.
And one more glaring point: The lack of grandchildren isn't mentioned in these exposes of women's unhappiness. In rejecting marriage, most feminists also rejected the grandchildren who could have provided a significant measure of women's happiness.