Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Divorce and Health

It has long been known that unmarried men (divorced or never married) suffer more illness than married men. Now comes a study that shows divorced women fare worse than their married counterparts. It didn’t say anything about single women . . . but I do think I once read somewhere that single (i.e., never married) women have better health than married women. All of these studies are interesting but they do rather seem to confirm the common sense of the matter, don’t they?

Discussions - 6 Comments

Depends what you mean by common sense, which is always the problem with common sense. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder," is common sense, and so is "Out of sight, out of mind."

Many still maintain that it is "common sense" for a woman to want to marry and have kids. But, as you have suggested, research generally shows that depresssion decreases among men as they marry, and increases among women as they marry. So, what is good for the gander is not necessarilly good for the goose.

What are the variables behind these trends? First, who are they married to? Men tend to marry women, which turns out to be a pretty good deal, and women tend to marry men, who generally turn out to be emotionally distant, to view childrearing and housework as womans’ work, and to view womens’ careers as hobbies.

To find the most depressed population, look among married mothers, who tend to be isolated, looked down upon by their career-minded peers, and who also tend to be either surrounded by children for years at a time, or foundering between two full-time jobs.

Not sure what is commom-sensible about that.

Fung, I think you made my point for me. You didn’t really need a study to come to that conclusion, did you? Does the fact that I agree with about 95% of what you said above mean that I’m a closet feminist? No. It just means that I think we women deserve more credit for the good we do in this world, as women. We do deserve pedastals and I think our society is worse off, not better, for eliminating them. I don’t expect that society will agree with me any time soon, however. Men have done a very good job of convincing feminist women to do their work for them.

I think I am pleased not to be married to either one of you.

Julie, no, I am often strangely pleased as it turns out that we agree on several issues. Our society has not yet found a good way to deal with the status of women as partners, mothers, and professionals, without harmful value judgments and stereotyping.

My disagreement with you was about (yet again) your elevation of common sense and your denigration of studies.

Science cannot seem to win, with some people. When a study contradicts a fact that people "always knew," then it must be wrong or biased. When it confirms something that some people knew, then it is unnecessary and frivolous. Unless you learned everything you needed to know in Kindergarten, it seems to me that your approach is to deny any new information that you didn’t already have, which strikes me as very uncurious, and counterproductive.

And I was just amused by it! Did not mean to open up that can of worms, Fung! We could all learn to deal with the status of women much better if we stopped getting so defensive all the time and talked honestly about the real costs and the real benefits that changes in attitudes exact and add. But most people don’t want to do the hard work of navigating those waters. It is easier to be self-righteous and defend what we prefer rather than to take what is good from both camps.

Are you calling me defensive?

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