Friday, June 05, 2015
As a controversial book says women who’ve never wed should treasure their freedom... is it possible to be a happy spinster?
Kate Mulvey is a real woman with a good brain who obviously has all the normal hormones and instincts. She has long wanted matrimony -- see here -- but took a long time to figure out what she was doing wrong -- see here.
And, as she starts out saying below, children are the big issue. There is no greater happiness than children and you don't have to be a genius to figure that out. During my day, I see a lot of mothers with young children and you only have to smile at the child to see how bursting with pride and happiness the mother is over her child. You get a huge smile in response. Children can be difficult but only the rarest mother would be without them.
Some people accuse the voluntarily childless of being "selfish" but the truth is absolutely the reverse. Having children is very selfish. It is choosing the greatest possible happiness for yourself. Children can of course turn out badly but it is a rare woman who wishes she never had the child concerned. Mostly, mothers just keep on loving the child concerned. It's the greatest love there is.
Women who choose childlessness are not selfish. They are foolish, abnormal or maladjusted. They are often women who find giving difficult -- but they will also be given little. As the apostle Paul said in Galatians 6:7: "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap". And as Jesus once said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). As always, the Bible has the needed wisdom. I am an atheist but whenever I try to live by Christian principles I get a reward. It's wisdom that can help anyone
Kate Mulvey, 51, says: As I stood in the middle of the room, my eyes pricked with tears and mustering all my strength not to cry, I felt a gaping sense of loss.
I was not at the funeral of a loved one, but at my friend’s son’s tenth birthday party, and I was the only woman there without an army of squabbling brats and a man to call my own.
Most of my friends were there, a medley of middle-aged couples, settled around the kitchen table, content and relaxed as they swapped in-jokes about truculent teenagers and the grind of GCSEs.
Amid the hubbub, I was shouting into my mobile, organising my Saturday night ahead. I laughed and joked about yet another date, but my laughter was empty, merely a mechanism to cover up the loneliness I felt.
After all, I am 51, and quite honestly, I’d much rather be spending a cosy night in with a husband and children than running around like the teenager I so obviously am not.
Yet, according to U.S. author Kate Bolick, I should be out and proud, enjoying my exciting single lifestyle. Her book, part memoir and part eulogy to the state of spinsterhood, challenges the idea that women who don’t marry are somehow sad and pathetic.
Being single, she says, shouldn’t be seen as a default position for we modern bachelorettes, but a life choice, a conscious decision to exist independently and self-sufficiently.
I used to think like Bolick and even wrote articles about living an unconventional life that was unfettered and free. But who was I kidding? Myself, actually.
Because the idea of being able to have a happy, fulfilled life on your own is a myth. I can’t tell you how many times I have come home to a cold house and an empty bed and felt utterly dejected and scared.
Yes, I may be able to eat chocolate profiteroles in bed, watch daytime soaps and drink mojitos in the bath — the usual arguments trotted out by the Bridget Jones generation. But, as pleasurable as all this may be, I know I’d enjoy it far more if I shared it with someone I loved.
Which is why Bolick’s premise that life can be lived more fully on your own — she even writes of finding herself yearning, when with a man, for ‘the extravagant pleasures of simply being alone’ — seems to me like a slow-burning recipe for unhappiness.
I wonder if Bolick has factored in what will happen when old age catches up with her. The fact is, she is still in her early 40s, stunning with tumbling locks and full lips. Wait till the lips are puckered and the cheeks sunken. I often wake in the night terrified no man will ever want me again.
Because — and here’s the nub — Bolick’s feminist mantra of ‘If bachelorhood can be celebrated, why not spinsterhood?’ is simply naive. I am sorry, but as cruel as it is, being single is different for women. It’s unfair, even disgustingly so, but it is also true.
Only the other day I was at my local bar chatting to a group of men in their early 60s. They listened to me attentively, until a blonde thirty-something wafted in. One even managed to arrange a date with her. And it is not only dating disappointments we mid-life singletons have to contend with. I also wonder, with no children of my own and growing health niggles, who will look after me as I age?
And as if that wasn’t enough, there is the problem of ageing parents. Five years ago, my mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia. My sisters, with their many child-centric responsibilities, left the bulk of caring duties to me. As my father pointed out, it wasn’t as if I had any family commitments. And he was right.
When she passed away this time last year, it was my job to look after my devastated father. To make him his favourite meals, sit and chat about the happy times and have the hankies ready when the tears came.
I don’t resent it, and am happy to be useful. But to be honest, it is a bit like landing the booby prize. Never in a million years did I ever think my life would end up like this. It is far from the footloose ‘living on your own terms’ that Bolick talks about.
So I am sorry to contradict the author and her merry army of glad-to-be-single followers, because it may seem glamorous, glossy and daring now, but come a certain age, being on your own is simply sad and lonely.
No, we spinsters, don’t need to be pitied or laughed at, but neither do we need to pretend to ourselves and the world we are having a ball. Because we’re not.
A big family 'is the key to a happy life': Two thirds who live in household with three or more children consider themselves to be satisfied with their lives
This will rile feminists. "The least happy people were women aged over 65 who lived alone". That's where feminists are heading
The happiest people live in big families, according to the latest official research into the causes of contentment.
The happiness measures – backed by David Cameron as a means to guide government policies – found that more than two thirds of people who live in families headed by a couple with three or more children consider themselves to be happy most of the time.
They also show that members of large families say they are more satisfied with their lives than others and that they think they have stronger personal relationships than most people.
Evidence of the link between big families and happiness comes at a time when parents are having fewer children and the number of children growing up with large numbers of brothers and sisters is at an all-time low.
According to a count conducted by the Office for National Statistics, the decline of marriage and the pressure on women to go out to work have contributed to a drop of the proportion of families with three or more children to around one in seven. Two decades ago 17 per cent of parents with children had three or more, compared to 14 per cent now.
The connection between large families and happiness was made by the EU’s statistics arm Eurostat in a major study of the results of quality of life surveys carried out across the continent.
It found that 66.8 per cent of homes with two adults and three children said they had been happy all the time or most of the time over the four weeks before they took part in the survey. Smaller families with one or two children recorded happiness levels just under the two thirds mark.
‘Generally two adult households, in many cases couples, were happier than people living on their own,’ the Eurostat report said. ‘Households with children were the happiest, with the exception of single parents who report rather low happiness levels.’
By contrast the least happy people were women aged over 65 who lived alone, among whom more than one in five said they rarely felt happy.
The 278-page Quality of Life report said families with two parents and three or more children also reported the best levels of satisfaction with their lives. Some 28 per cent said they were highly satifisfied, more than double levels recorded by single working-age men, and nearly double those of single parents.
A similar pattern applied when people were asked about the quality of their personal relationships. Some 41 per cent of families with two parents and three or more children reported high levels of contentment with relationships.
Higher relationship satisfaction levels were recorded by couples of all ages, and by single women over 65, but there were also low levels of happiness with relationships found among greater numbers of single over-65 women.
The report said wealth, health and education were important for happiness, and that unemployment was closely linked with low life satisfaction. It found self-employed people tended to be less satisfied with their personal relationships, probably because many work unsocial hours which limit their social lives.
Retired people, by contrast, are happier with relationships. The report said this may be a result of ‘greater time availability that allows them to pursue opportunities to develop and maintain personal relationships.’
The happiness measures, which are based on scores out of 10 given by people asked a series of questions about their well-being, were introduced in Britain in 2010 with personal encouragement from the Prime Minister. They are intended to give an alternative to traditional measures of how well people are doing, and to give better guidance to ministers and civil servants.
Households with children were the happiest, with the exception of single parents who report rather low happiness levels.
The EU report said happiness is not directly linked to wealth.
‘Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland show high values of overall life satisfaction but they are not as high as a potential relationship between Gross Domestic Product and average life satisfaction would imply,’ it said.
‘However, other factors may be at play as well. On the other end of the scale Bulgaria shows even lower life satisfaction than would be expected from its low GDP. The GDP of Romania is comparable to that of Bulgaria but residents of Romania rate their life satisfaction much higher on average than their Bulgarian counterparts.’
Britain scored above-average levels of overall life satisfaction – 7.3 out of 10 compared to an EU average of 7.1 – a finding that may be linked to higher numbers of large families in England.
Only six of the 28 EU countries have higher proportions of families with two parents and three or more children, despite the falling proportions in Britain. Large families are increasingly rare because of the movement of millions of young women through higher education and into careers, and because the decline of marriage has led to delayed childbirth and smaller families.
Married couples, according to recent UK figures, have an average of 1.79 children, while cohabitee parents average 1.62.
In England the ONS has said numbers of large families have been propped up by immigrant groups, particularly from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds, among whom parents continue to have bigger families.
‘Free Range’ Parents Not Charged for Letting Their Kids Walk Home Alone
Child Protective Services has ruled out neglect charges in one of two investigations into Maryland’s “free range” parents, according to the Associated Press.
Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, the parents of Dvora, 6, and Rafi, 10, practice what they call a “free range” parenting style in which their children are given a great deal of independence.
The Meitivs were under investigation for allowing their children to walk home from a park unsupervised in December. This case has now been dismissed.
The Daily Signal previously reported that the Meitiv children were picked up by police last month after a caller reported seeing unattended children walking in the neighborhood. The results of this investigation are still pending.
“This ruling confirms that we never exposed our children to a ‘substantial risk of harm,’” Danielle Meitiv said in a statement.
“Although we welcome the decision, we are concerned that CPS’s misguided policy remains intact. We fear that our family and other Maryland families will be subject to further investigations and frightening police detentions simply because our children have been taught how to walk safely in their neighborhood, including to and from school and local parks.”
The Meitiv’s lawyer, Matthew Dowd, said in a statement that he is “very pleased” the Meitivs have been “vindicated.”
“The county officials’ actions were a completely unnecessary overreach into the personal lives of the Meitivs,” Dowd said. “Unfortunately, the children and their parents have suffered from the actions of county officials. CPS’s investigations and actions have been premised on a fundamental misapplication of the law and violate the constitutional rights of parents to raise their children as they see best.”
Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: Transgender is ‘Mental Disorder;' Sex Change ‘Biologically Impossible’
Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, said that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.
Dr. McHugh, the author of six books and at least 125 peer-reviewed medical articles, made his remarks in a recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal, where he explained that transgender surgery is not the solution for people who suffer a “disorder of ‘assumption’” – the notion that their maleness or femaleness is different than what nature assigned to them biologically.
He also reported on a new study showing that the suicide rate among transgendered people who had reassignment surgery is 20 times higher than the suicide rate among non-transgender people. Dr. McHugh further noted studies from Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic of children who had expressed transgender feelings but for whom, over time, 70%-80% “spontaneously lost those feelings.”
While the Obama administration, Hollywood, and major media such as Time magazine promote transgenderism as normal, said Dr. McHugh, these “policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.”
“This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken – it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.”
The transgendered person’s disorder, said Dr. McHugh, is in the person’s “assumption” that they are different than the physical reality of their body, their maleness or femaleness, as assigned by nature. It is a disorder similar to a “dangerously thin” person suffering anorexia who looks in the mirror and thinks they are “overweight,” said McHugh.
This assumption, that one’s gender is only in the mind regardless of anatomical reality, has led some transgendered people to push for social acceptance and affirmation of their own subjective “personal truth,” said Dr. McHugh. As a result, some states – California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – have passed laws barring psychiatrists, “even with parental permission, from striving to restore natural gender feelings to a transgender minor,” he said.
The pro-transgender advocates do not want to know, said McHugh, that studies show between 70% and 80% of children who express transgender feelings “spontaneously lose those feelings” over time. Also, for those who had sexual reassignment surgery, most said they were “satisfied” with the operation “but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery.”
“And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a ‘satisfied’ but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs,” said Dr. McHugh.
The former Johns Hopkins chief of psychiatry also warned against enabling or encouraging certain subgroups of the transgendered, such as young people “susceptible to suggestion from ‘everything is normal’ sex education,” and the schools’ “diversity counselors” who, like “cult leaders,” may “encourage these young people to distance themselves from their families and offer advice on rebutting arguments against having transgender surgery.”
Dr. McHugh also reported that there are “misguided doctors” who, working with very young children who seem to imitate the opposite sex, will administer “puberty-delaying hormones to render later sex-change surgeries less onerous – even though the drugs stunt the children’s growth and risk causing sterility.”
Such action comes “close to child abuse,” said Dr. McHugh, given that close to 80% of those kids will “abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated ….”
“’Sex change’ is biologically impossible,” said McHugh. “People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.