11 Comments

Women more prone to depression than men: it’s NOT the fault of feminism

There are however many conservative columnists and pundits generally who’d like us all to believe that lie. Amanda at Pandagon debunks the following common claims (how many have you heard, and more importantly, at least partly believed?):

Assertion #1: Women need marriage more than men, and it’s their marriages, not their jobs, that help save them from depression.
Assertion #2: Women’s depression is the result of equality.
Assertion #3: Higher status in career and education makes it harder for women to get married.
Assertion #4: Climbing the education and career ladder makes women unhappy.

By this point, you probably won’t be surprised when I tell you that none of these assertions is supported by actual evidence. Amanda lays out the evidence that women who achieve independent financial &/or career security are actually both happier generally and more likely to be happily partnered than women who are enmeshed in financial & social dependence, and here is the conclusion:

According to the APA, men and women aren’t so different after all. We’re both huge risk factors for depression if we have crappy, underpaid, unappreciated work. We’re both more stable if we have some independently attained stability.

The big difference is that women are still less likely to obtain some independent financial/career stability, and there’s nothing either “natural” or feminist-caused about that gap.

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About tigtog

writer, singer, webwrangler, blogger, comedy tragic | about.me/vivsmythe

11 comments on “Women more prone to depression than men: it’s NOT the fault of feminism

  1. Thankfully I never heard any of those myths, which are pretty much self-evidently ridiculous. I must hang out with an enlightened crowd!

    Good point about the economic factor. I’d just add that all women should aim for financial independence. There are still a surprising number of young women who bank on marriage, so to speak, which is a bad bet considering divorce stats. There’s nothing like no job skills, a couple kids, and an ex who’s vacated the scene to make life a lot tougher for a woman and her children than it needed to be.

  2. OF COURSE its not feminism’s fault. After all, I, a man, am causing your depression merely by existing. I’m so sorry. Maybe it’ll stop if you stop hating me.

  3. Honestly Angryguy, who do you think you are talking to? Amanda is happily partnered with a man, I’m happily partnered with the father of my children for nearly 20 years. In all my discussions with tekanji, neither her sexual preference nor her cohabitation status has arisen, yet if manhating were a priority of hers I think she might have mentioned it.

    Feminists don’t hate men, feminists hate misogynists. If you feel personally attacked when feminists criticise misogynists, ask yourself why is that? I’ll tell you my opinion – society is structured around distorted gender roles so that misogyny takes virtually no personal decision nor effort. Both men and women absorb and express misogynistic attitudes all the time unless they step back, examine the basis of those attitudes and make a conscious effort to stop acting like women are always lesser.

    One of the ways for people to avoid depression is to find a way to forge some independence, because having independence gives one a sense of control over one’s own life. We’re a gregarious species – women will still want to have friends and partners no matter how much financial security women create independently. There’s no reason to tell women the lie that they can have either independence or loving partners but not both (and independent women take some of the expected burden off men, too – men don’t have to be the only breadwinner if women have their own sources of financial security – so it’s win-win).

  4. These myths are absurd. I get so frustrated when people make these claims. If women’s depression is the result of equality, why was there such a high rate of depressed women in the early and mid parts of the 20th century? Why were sedatives so popular amongst depressed housewives? Of course, it wasn’t called depression back then, but “female hysteria.” I don’t see how liberation could make women depressed. Just doesn’t make sense.

  5. Hello! :) I LOVE this blog! I have it bookmarked. I know its kinda late, but Happy International Women’s Day!

  6. [...] Studies indicating that women are more prone to depression than men: it’s NOT the fault of feminism [...]

  7. I did a google search on depression in woman and one on depression in men. And got 256,000 hits for depression in woman and 1,800,000 hits for depression in men. And this despite the fact that depression is said to be twice as common in woman. Just thought it was interesting.

  8. Although twice as many women as men may develop depression and related disorders at some point. A women’s unique biological, psychosocial and cultural factors may increase her risk. However, It displeases me that we view women as lessor. As, I believe you can have independence and yes…loving partner. I think unequal power and status exists….when we give it power, to hold the status quo.
    I was interested in the Census report (press release:NZ Government 31th March 2008) “A valuable tool for womens equality”. Associate Justice Minister Lianne Dalziel said the data in the Census, produced by the Human Rights Commission prodded all NZ both in the public and private sectors to improve womens participation at all levels, especially in leadership roles. The Census tells us we have made progree but reminds us that there is much more work to do. Over past few years 42 per cent participation in gender equality roles has increased, with the aim to close the gap by 8per cent, by 2010. Of disturbing view is very low participation rates of women on company boards and senior management. The Agenda for Change 2008 lists 11 recommendations to promote increased female participation in governance, professional and public life.
    I enjoyed reading this-in my political research on Govt.press
    releases. But such myths that surround ‘gender equality’ displeases me, as women’s are independent. They can be successful (just as much as a man) and carry significant positions of power and leadership. Happliness comes from independence. &…yes, you can have both successful family life and career. I’m interested in how these reccommendations may have been further outworked in practical terms. I’m hopeing to see increase in statistics by 2010….

  9. Another thing to note is that these statistics are based on REPORTED cases of depression. All the statistics tell us is that more women report depression than men, and that women are more likely to report depression now that in the past (before “equality”).

  10. This reminds me so much of the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” That story is so refreshing, and yet so depressing when you realize that not much has changed since it was written over a century ago.

  11. [...] I don’t see how making women equal to men under the law has made women horribly depressed. Indeed, the Google will tell you the same thing, Dennis. Women are less in control of their lives in our patriarchal society, and this leads to situational [...]

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