CV NEWS FEED // Recent studies report that most Americans are unhappy, and women seem to be especially affected.
Over 69% of Americans, regardless of political party, said they were unhappy with the current state of the nation in a recent poll by CNN. Over half of these respondents (52%) said that America’s declining economy was to blame, while the rest were split over issues such as political polarization, the president, or increasing crime rates.
In the poll’s general comments, one respondent said that the overall cost of living was a huge factor for dissatisfied Americans: “Housing market is terrible, gas prices are terrible. Student loan debt is astronomical. Even though I agree students should pay their own loan, it shouldn’t be that expensive in the first place.”
Women and girls appear to be taking the brunt of the unhappiness. The Wall Street Journal reported that middle-aged women now have the highest rates of antidepressant use in the country. One in five American women ages 40 to 59 and one in four women age 60 are using antidepressants, compared to only one in 10 women ages 18 to 39. Overall, antidepressant prescriptions increased in 2021 to 224 million from 216 million in 2019.
Suicide and self-harm rates have also dramatically increased for women, with one study finding that the average rate for girls ages 10-19 rose from 3 per 100,000 people in 2003 to 3.5 per 100,000 in 2020. Since 2010, the hospitalization rates for self-harm have increased by 140%. The study also found that in America and Great Britain the rates had remained steady until 2010.
Left-wing commentary surrounding such studies attributes this widespread unhappiness to pro-life laws, or to conservative opposition to the LGBTQ movement. However, other studies and the rise of coinciding factors like COVID-19 lockdowns and social media overuse point out that there is a larger problem.
The CDC recently reported that 57% of American teenage girls “felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021,” which was double the rate for boys at an almost 60% increase. The report stated that this is the highest level reported over the past decade.
Similarly, over 44% of young people felt “sad or persistently alone” during lockdowns, according to CDC data.
Overall, a recent overview of 10 years of Gallup poll data found that anger and frustration rates have increased for women worldwide.
While analysis often mentions a lack of “women’s rights” as the problem, Naomi Schaefer Riley comments in The New York Post that this surge in unhappiness in fact correlates with the last 60 years of feminism. “Indeed, as feminism’s influence has grown over the past half-century, women have become less happy,” she writes:
It turns out that people who espouse a secular worldview, people who identify as liberals, and people who never attend religious services report the lowest levels of personal satisfaction, but they also report the highest levels of support for feminist ideals.
Riley adds that when feminism was in its early days, “some housewives were being prescribed ‘happy pills’ to get them through the day,” but the onset of women’s liberation doesn’t seem to have helped in light of the fact that most women today – despite being “liberated” and establishing themselves independently from traditional household structures, are now taking antidepressants themselves.