I often hear that feminism is not about oppressing men or creating female dominance. That feminists want women to be equal to men, not better than men. If I believed this to be true, I would be a feminist. Feminists may in large part be attempting to fight for equality. Feminism as a movement and as a whole insures that the efforts of most individuals are going in the wrong direction. Today I have a good example of this. It may turn a bit rambly so I apologize for that ahead of time.
Income of the spouses after Divorce. This is a topic that deserves looking at. So lets look at what is being written about it.
Published in 2011 using data from 1984
Published in 2012 using data from 1985
So Why is this important? Well Lenore Weitzam Published a book in 1985 that talked about this issue. It claimed that Men had a 43% Gain from divorce while women had a 73% loss. These are terrifying numbers. If men really did get a 43% gain from Divorce then many men would be actively seeking women to divorce, much as MRA’s claim women do today. Money is a huge motivator and will convince people to do really awful things. The problem with these numbers? They are a complete fabrication. Once someone else got the data to evaluate her claims, they where bullshit.
So what where the real numbers? Well 10% of men saw a gain (not men saw a 10% gain, but 10% of men). 27% of women saw a loss (not women saw a 27% loss, but 27% of women).
The Weitzam numbers did fuel all sorts of new laws and rules and court standards to try and correct the problem she exaggerated by three fold. In many cases Weitzam’s numbers are still being quoted as a current problem 30 years after they where fabricated and 20 years after they where debunked.
Now lets consider something else, are these differences actually noteworthy or are they a distortion. That’s not perfectly clear. Traditionally men work outside the home doing paid work. Women work inside the home doing unpaid work. Trying to use income or even income/needs as a basis for quality of life is horribly flawed. It is a question of properly accounting for income and needs. The woman, who did the housework cooking cleaning laundry etc does not have a needs change. She still needs the same amount of food and water and space. She does have a major income change. The man doesn’t have a major income change, but does have major needs changes. He needs to start doing or hire out all of the very valuable, but unpaid work his wife was doing.
This is where a major complaint against feminism comes in. Feminism has discounted marginalized and shat upon the very important very valuable contributions that women have traditionally made though homemaking. It is just assumed that the 20ish hours of work the wife did each week, because it’s unpaid, is trivial and meaningless. Because of this, using the income/needs formula to determine “quality of life” is very questionable at best. Really how do you even begin to properly value a home cooked meal or a clean home in terms of dollars and cents?
So this is a real issue. Feminists are using bad information that’s 30 years old to try and justify changes today. So what is the reality we have today?
Well the best data I could find was published in 2012 with data from “early 2000’s”
This shows that Women are only 2 points higher on the loss lines and 4 points higher on the gains line. I’m willing to call this equality or damn close. Women have slightly higher chances of doing great or doing terrible. If we could have locked in the numbers there, it would have been great.
We didn’t. That data is 10 years old and the trends continued. Women are now much more likely to do great after divorce and much less likely to do terrible. Even though now the numbers are nearly reversed from what they where in 1985 when it was questionable if women where actually getting the shit end of the stick, the debate within feminism is still how to help women. The topic is still women getting shafted in divorce. Men are the one’s getting shat upon and it’s women we are worried about.
If feminism really was about equality, then feminists would join the MHRM. Feminist would be outraged over this inequality, not making it worse. I’m not saying that feminism was never fighting for the right thing on this metric. I find the metric questionable, but it is workable. We hit a point of equality 10 years ago and have been moving rapidly away from it ever since. The problem is that feminism is still fighting the same fight from 30 years ago, even though the reality around us has changed.