Recent studies prove traditional gender roles bring greatest happiness

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Many feminists argue that having different, defined marriage roles for men and women is oppressive, because it contradicts certain abstract principles that men and women must be exactly the same in every way.

However, when deciding what the “ideal roles” for men and women in relationships should be, it seems that we should be more concerned with what makes individual men and women the happiest; not with abstract principles which force everyone to be the same and, in turn, not achieve full happiness by either gender.

A Feb, 6, 2014 New York Times article by Lori Gottlieb, attempted to come to grips with the results of research showing that relationships with egalitarian gender roles were tied to lower marital and sexual satisfaction for women.

Gottlieb reported on a study published in The American Sociological Review by Sabino Kornrich, Julie Brines, and Katrina Leupp, entitled, “Egalitarianism, Housework and Sexual Frequency in Marriage.” Gottlieb reported, “(I)f men did all of what the researchers characterized as feminine chores like folding laundry, cooking or vacuuming — the kinds of things many women say they want their husbands to do — then couples had sex 1.5 fewer times per month than those with husbands who did what were considered masculine chores, like taking out the trash or fixing the car … the greater the husband’s share of masculine chores compared with feminine ones, the greater his wife’s reported sexual satisfaction.”

The study reported that data from the National Survey of Families and Households showed that couples with more traditional housework arrangements had sex more frequently, suggesting that adhering to traditional gender roles exerts a stronger influence over individual behaviors, including sexual frequency, than “marital exchange for sex between heterosexual married partners.”

Gottlieb seems to try to justify this by making the strange argument from couples’ therapist Esther Perel that, “Most of us get turned on at night by the very things that we’ll demonstrate against during the day.” It seems that this sort of inconsistency in individual’s public and private behaviors should be seen as a problem, and as a reason to change one or the other.

However, it isn’t just intimacy that is harmed by the imposition of abstract feminist principles. Former Collegian opinion editor and current associate editor for The Libertarian Republic, Ian Huyett, recently reported on a study in which, “Psychologists surveyed a representative sample of (6,000) New Zealanders and found that a man’s score on a test of ‘benevolent sexism’ – a view of women as ‘deserving of men’s adoration and protection’ – was directly correlated with his overall life satisfaction. Their results also indicated that women are happier in relationships with sexist men.”

The same New Zealand study, entitled, “Why are Benevolent Sexists Happier?” stated that, “Research indicates that the endorsement of sexist ideology is linked to higher subjective wellbeing for both men and women.”

This suggests that well-being, in addition to sexual satisfaction, is increased when gender roles fall into more traditional practices. Both studies recorded higher scores of satisfaction for both women and men when conventional roles were practiced. In turn, the studies recorded lower scores for both sexes when duties were focused on equality, rather than customary gender practices – proving that traditional roles result in the greatest happiness.

If feminism is meant to support women, then it seems that it should be more focused on what makes women happiest and less focused on empirically unsupported principles about male-female sameness. Many feminists see masculinity and femininity as inherently oppressive. However, if the research shows that playing those roles makes both men and women happier, then who exactly is being oppressed?

The views expressed in this column are the opinion of the author and do no necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Collegian.

Andy Rogers is a senior in philosophy. Please send all comments to [email protected]

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  • Richard Humble

    Why on earth would the one with stronger muscles and hair growing on the face be the one to go out in the cold to do hunting and gathering?

    • ManWithPlan

      Clearly Mother Nature has not attended enough feminist consciousness-raising seminars.

    • Wow

      Why don’t you tell us about the last time you hunted and gathered. (And driving to the grocery store doesn’t count) It’s called adaptation and CHANGE.

      • ManWithPlan

        Because the existence of a supermarket invalidates millions of years of evolution?

        • Wow

          No, but it’s no longer relevant to the conversation about gender equality. Especially when there are a lot of women that are easily stronger than a lot of men. So that comment is essentially baseless in modern American society and doesn’t contribute anything to the conversation.

      • Huh

        So what you’re saying is that we should change even if it makes us less happy?

        • reason

          Everyone should do what makes them happy as long as it doesn’t interfere with the happiness of others. Guess what makes me happy? Dating a man who does chores, cares about children, cooks, and gives me multiple Os whenever I want it. If you want a stay-at-home mom for a wife, great, as long as she’s happy too. But why try to argue that that’s best for everyone? It just isn’t.

          • eualadindeal

            and using another men for sex…
            yeah… you want a maid

            the article says that these kind of men will not bring happiness in bed… did you even read it?

  • student

    It’s 2014 and men are still arguing against gender equality. Wow.

    • almnus

      It’s 2014 and people are offhandedly dismissing scientific research. Wow.

      • Ashley Flinn

        He cites two studies which didn’t “prove” his point at all. Not to mention that sexual frequency can have nothing to do with satisfaction. If people identify with traditional gender roles, then they will be happier fulfilling that identity. If people do not identify with traditional gender roles they will not be happier fulfilling traditional gender roles. I doubt many heterosexual/bisexual women in Sweden, who have the expectation of egalitarianism in a relationship, would be fulfilled by any man who did not pull his weight.

        • Spider58x

          “He cites two studies which didn’t “prove” his point at all.”

          According to who, you?

          Keep denying reality all you want, won’t change it in the slightest.

          • Ashley Flinn

            Not according to me. I’m not just declaring that he’s wrong, that wouldn’t be a logical way of making judgments. I’m saying that the studies that he cites don’t support the claims he makes. Plenty of people besides me could come to that same conclusion.

  • ManWithPlan

    I think young women are going to find few suitable young men willing to marry them anymore, with the grotesquely biased family courts being what they are.

  • Jimmy

    I also recently read an article about how when women have less pressure from society (including male and female pressures) they gravitate toward more traditionally female jobs such as teaching and are more satisfied with their work on average.

  • eualadindeal

    first they start yelling that men are too masculine and rough
    men change, they start to become a bit more feminine, sensitive and soft

    now they blame men because they “do not men up”,”are eternal children” or “they are immature”

    well… guess what
    they are changed now, they are more sensitive, more open to discussion, more in touch with their feelings…and they are tired of this crap
    this nonsense “I want you to change because I will not”… and this “you all shut up so we can feel empowered”…

    men have shown restrain, respect, willing to change and listen
    what the hell you want more…

  • Megan

    Some women are more comfortable and happy in traditional roles, some are not. I’d bet it’s tied to their family life growing up, and whether their parents followed traditional roles, and what their parents’ marriage was like (happy, troubled, etc). For me, my husband I and I have relatively traditional gender roles. I load the dishwasher and do the laundry, he does the yard work and shovels snow. It works for us. We also go to church regularly and ask for God’s help. That’s also very necessary for a happy marriage, at least in our opinion!

    • Vasile Andrei

      the issue is that feminists openly HATE anyone that dares to say it how it is

      more than half of the “progressive” German Women, admit that they want to stop working after giving birth, only 30% want to get back to part time after birth… and the rest don’t want to work a single day after that

      of course the question was “if your husband could support you… will you go back to work after birth?”… but the main issue is that today the wages are so low that the husbands cannot and will not support a family, even if the women want to stay at home

      by fighting for dual wages, the feminist literary forced the labor market to adapt and lower wages, and, in return it is almost impossible for the MAJORITY of women that want to not work after birth, to do so!

      the men?
      they never actually cared
      their function did not change, they are still 21% taller, 27% heavier, they still have 72% more bone mass, 41% more muscle mass and 8% more brain size…

      just because they work less or stay at home more does not mean that they will suffer
      it is always the smaller ones, the women, that will have to work more, will have to adapt, have less free time, and so on

      biology does not hate women, feminists do!
      by ignoring simple biological facts, they designed a world where women are literary penalized for… being women

      and men, men now can “transition” to women and back, while keeping most of the advantages, and gaining new ones like appeal, beauty and respect as a woman

      the future is bleak for women,
      working ones will work more to close “the gap”, while men will smile working, women will carry their biological issues with a frozen smile and work on…

      and caring women will have less and less money available, as their husbands cannot compete in a 2 wage economy with the prices and the huge working hours needed to keep a family alone