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Top 10 Ways Modern Society Makes Women Miserable

by Mike Anthony
fact checked by Jamie Frater

We live in a wondrous era. Hardships that once proved deadly to even the hardiest of our cave-dwelling ancestors are at most a mild inconvenience to modern man. We dominate the top of the food chain as the apex predators. We domesticated ourselves and learned to outwit many of nature’s hazards.[1] In America, we’ve become rich enough to afford HD TVs in virtually every home and we have so much food that we’re getting fat. One would think this would usher in utopian levels of joy and prosperity. Somehow, that doesn’t seem to be happening for a lot of folks.

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There are plenty of discontent people these days, and men and women may be feeling it in different ways. On the female side of things, it’s becoming clear that women are pretty unhappy in general. Their antidepressant use is twice as high as men’s.[2] The odd thing is that they are, in many ways, inadvertently doing this to themselves.

10 The Contraceptive Pill

Contraceptive pills are commonly used by women for more than just the obvious. They’re used to help regulate menstruation, reduce acne, and treat endometriosis, among other things. But those helpful little pills might not be all they’re cracked up to be. A new study shown at a meeting of the Radiological Society of North America revealed that women who were taking oral contraceptives had a significantly smaller hypothalamus – a part of the brain that helps regulate mood.[3] One preliminary finding was that smaller hypothalamic volume correlates with depressive symptoms. If this holds true after more studies and analyses, the pill might have to be replaced.

9 College And Education

A woman’s advancement in higher education is typically considered to be a great and noble endeavor. After all, they haven’t always been free to smarten up like their male counterparts (and in many parts of the world still aren’t). However, all those long nights of studying and hard work may not be benefiting their mental health. Female students are more likely to experience anxiety[4] and stress.[5] They also tend to go for more people-oriented majors like teaching,[6] psychology, and social work, which lands them careers with generally lower market value (pay) than for those who venture into STEM fields. And while money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness, it certainly helps.

8 Pets Over Children

Over the millennia, women have fine-tuned nurturing instincts that make them fantastic at caring for infants and toddlers. In terms of evolution, it makes perfect sense since kids are basically needy danger magnets, and someone’s got to care for them. These instincts, however, are being diverted away from the needs of children to pets.[7] To parallel this phenomenon, women are also having less kids.[8] While dogs and cats might be great additions to the family, the more recent fad of would-be moms taking to them as “fur babies” overlooks one simple fact: pets don’t last.[9] Their companionship is very limited compared to having an actual child and they don’t provide much useful support to an aging retiree beyond their mere presence. Who will take care of “dog moms” when they are old and their surrogate children are gone? Probably not the government, since they’re going broke.[10]

7 Alcohol Abuse

While booze could be considered a social lubricant and a reprieve from one’s sorrows, everyone knows the dangers of overconsumption; sickness, impairment, addiction, and liver damage. Hangovers are also less than fun. Alcoholism can be quite the curse, especially for the ladies,[11] as they have experienced a more than 83% increase in alcohol abuse disorder rates from 2002-2013. Women who abuse alcohol can also suffer infertility as a result, and 18% of women who are of child-bearing age binge drink. However, wine producers are presumably enjoying the business.

6 Working 9–5

Women entering the workforce and competing with men is a testament to how much their place in society has changed in the modern age. They have much more control over the course their lives take. However, the decision (now a necessity for many) to work rather than embrace the traditional role of homemaker has had some unintended consequences for women trying to balance this relatively new paradigm with motherhood. A 2009 survey found that 62% of working moms would rather work part-time and only 21% of adults said the growing trend of women with young children working outside the home was a good thing.[12] A Gallup poll found that in six different job characteristics,[13] female workers are 8-12% less satisfied than male workers.

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5 Sexual Freedom

Our attitude toward premarital sex has drastically changed in the U.S. and across the western world. These days it is much more accepted and is somewhat the norm. For women, the results of promiscuity are pretty catastrophic. There’s the obvious increased potential to contract STDs and get pregnant, but what isn’t so well-known is the effect on marriage stability.[14] The more sexual partners a woman has, the more likely she is to divorce, should she ever get married. Virgins only have a divorce rate of about 5%, while having just two partners brings it up to 30%. For women that sleep around, they will likely have a harder time staying happily married when the time comes to settle down.

4 Delaying Motherhood

While becoming a mom isn’t at the top of every woman’s dream board, it’s certainly a priority for many. And since their pursuit of such an endeavor is the whole reason humanity keeps trundling along through the generations, we should be glad. For some ladies, though, the time they are willing to make a nest and raise children is being pushed back to as late as their forties.[15] By waiting so long, they face a higher risk for miscarriage and birth defects.[16] When women age and hit the wall in their thirties, the quality and quantity of their eggs rapidly declines,[17] which may ultimately leave them infertile should they delay too long.

3 Getting Divorced

Virtually every marriage begins with the notion that it will last forever. Newlyweds are often optimistic about their futures. Unfortunately, love isn’t always as powerful as people think. Though divorce rates in the U.S. are falling over time, marriage rates are as well.[18] Women initiate 69% of divorces,[19] which would suggest they are generally ending up better off for doing so, but that isn’t the case. First marriages have about a 41% chance of divorce, while second marriages see an increase to 60%. Third marriages don’t get any better as they have a 73% failure rate. When a woman ends her first marriage, she is statistically unlikely to ever find her happily ever after. And while men tend to experience more strain in the short term after a divorce, women experience longer term strain once their marriages end, as their risk of poverty increases.[20] Married couples are also more satisfied with their lives than divorced or single people.[21]

2 Losing Their Religion

Religiosity used to be pretty common in America. In a lot of places, going to church on Sundays was seen as just part and parcel of participating in one’s community. It wasn’t uncommon for members of the same religious affiliation to get together for banquets, holidays, and charity work. And for some folks that is still a reality. But that is rapidly changing for much of the U.S. Faithful Americans are becoming less and less numerous by the day,[22] which could be bad news as religious people tend to be happier.[23] Women might be facing the greatest effects of this change, since they are usually more religious than men (especially in Christianty).[24] Researchers found that women tend to feel a sense of existential security in religion, which is fading from their lives.[25]

1 Social Media Menace

Social media can be addictive,[26] and it’s only gotten more popular over the years.[27] After all, who doesn’t like showing off cool vacation photos and scrolling through memes in the bathroom? Statistically, women are especially fond of using it, as they like to browse photo-heavy platforms like Facebook and Instagram.[28] They are social creatures, after all.[29] However, this newfound ability to keep up with everybody’s personal business 24/7 might not be such a good thing. A study on social media use in Sweden found that women who spend more time on Facebook are less happy.[30] Another showed that using more social media platforms was associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety,[31] which women are more prone to than men.[32]

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fact checked by Jamie Frater