Beauty increases with happiness

It is true that individual countries differed in details, the Americans, for example, feel a little less happy overall than others, while the feeling of happiness in Europe increased slightly over the same period; but one trend is clear everywhere. "The subjective feeling of happiness has shifted towards men and away from women," concluded Stevenson and Wolfers, and "this change is true regardless of whether the trend towards happiness has remained the same for both sexes overall, whether it is rising or falling. "

On top of that. One factor seems to be particularly suitable for making women even more unhappy: aging. Men, on the other hand, become more and more satisfied with age. That was the finding of a study by economics professor Anke Plagnol from Cambridge University last year. Together with Richard Easterlin of the University of Southern California, she analyzed the data of 47,000 men and women. It showed that women begin their adult lives happier than men. But with increasing age, their satisfaction decreases more and more, while that of men increases constantly.

At 39, men are happier with their marriage than women with theirs, at 41 they are happier with their financial situation, and at 44 they are happier with their property as a whole. At 48 years of age, men have overtaken women, the happiness curve of men continues to rise into old age, that of women decreases. And sinks. According to the World Health Organization WHO, twice as many women as men suffer from depression; It is no coincidence that two thirds of all advertisements in the pharmaceutical industry are aimed specifically at women.

Happiness is largely defined by finances and family. When these two indicators are correct, the feeling of happiness increases. It just traces reality. Because from the age of 34 men are married more often than women, and this gap increases with age. The older men get, the more secure they are financially. Later in life, says Pagnol, "men get closer and closer to fulfilling their expectations".

It works the other way around for women. They lose their jobs more quickly, their incomes hardly rise or not at all, the number of divorces is on the rise and more and more mothers are single mothers. The general gap between rich and poor has widened in recent years, and the risk of economic and social decline is increasing. And with it the fear of it, especially for women. Any remaining feelings of happiness are really not strengthened by this.

Was Betty Friedan wrong with her thesis that housework in a safe home only makes women unhappy?

This conclusion, of course, hangs so enticingly over the statistical results that it would have to be summed up in a few simple sentences by all those who were already convinced that women had taken the wrong path. It was just a mistake, this desire to get everything, this "having it all". From a purely biological point of view, women are much better suited not only to bear children, but later also to feed, clothe and raise them; in any case, better than being her husband out in the world. Exactly to stand up to her husband. It was a nice try, girls, we gave you permission, now you have to start realizing that nothing will come of it. So finally come home to papa.

On the next page: If you have too many choices, you will be unhappy.