A new study has found that the stress of modern life is especially taking its toll on the physical and emotional health of women. The report titled Burnout Flashpoint: The Stress Epidemic Confronting American Women in 2020 was conducted for Meredith media company by The Harris Poll.
The company manages television stations, radio, and magazines that are mainly directed toward women. Its magazines include People, Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart Living, and InStyle. The study was commissioned to assist Meredith’s advertisers in reaching women more effectively. The Harris Poll questioned women from 18 to 70.
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The Effects of Modern Life on Women
Perhaps the most significant finding was that eighty-one percent of the respondents agreed with the statement, “We live in a society that glorifies being busy.”
Much of the stress described by the study had more to do with home life than work. About sixty-three percent of respondents agreed that “After handling all of my family’s needs in the morning, I feel like I’ve worked an entire day before getting to the office.” That number was even higher (seventy-three percent) for “the sandwich generation” that simultaneously must care for both elderly parents and children.
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The study indicated that many do not understand the causes of stress or how to reduce it. Web MD, a popular health-oriented website, lists among the top common causes of life stress as moving to a new home, loss of a job, and divorce.
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The Meredith study showed how many women have tried using these causes of stress as means to reduce it. For example, fifty-four percent of the women seriously considered moving, and eighteen percent moved. The same fifty-four percent also considered changing jobs, almost half of them having done so. Thirty -two percent have considered divorce as a way to deal with stress. Nearly half of them (fourteen percent) took this drastic step.
Seventy-seven percent of the women respondents said that stress comes from prioritizing the needs of their families over their own. Such inclinations come from women’s God-given and natural inclination to be care-givers. The so-called women’s movement has spent the last fifty years openly undermines this role. Thus, for many women, there is an internal war between feminist social doctrines and their natural inclinations.
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Contrary to the false narratives of the feminist movement, women have long contributed to the economic lives of their families. Medieval noblewomen ran castles and estates – often for years at a time – while their husbands were attending to military and political duties in distant places. The wives of artisans assisted their husbands in their crafts, sometimes even taking over the shop after the husband’s death. Farm women routinely provided needed assistance in the fields at harvest time. There was much more unity of family and workplaces.
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The radical separation of spouses was the product of the Industrial Revolution. Factories created workplaces that were entirely separate from the home. The greater physical strength of men and the caring nature of women usually meant that the husband went out to work while the wife worked in the home. Men assumed the stressful, dual roles of employee and traditional role as head of the household.
The feminist movement convinced many women that the workplace was superior to that of the home. Germaine Greer and Betty Friedan spun the myth that women without careers were repressed and downtrodden. Consumerism convinced families that they needed huge homes, expensive cars and recreational toys to maintain their social and economic status. Women worked outside as a result.
These women experienced the same stressful dual role of worker and parent as men had earlier. However, their caring nature made it difficult for them to lay down most parts of domestic labor. In response, the women’s movement spun the myth of un-supportive husbands. This untruth created artificial divisions between spouses. Those divisions increased the stress on marriage and led to a significantly rising divorce rate.
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The Need to Re-Establish Traditional Balance to Life
The Meredith study is not shocking when considering modern lifestyles. Both men and women are expected to assume roles that are often not proportional to their means or abilities. Ignoring the God-created differences between the sexes does not lead to happiness. It only creates enormous challenges and opportunities for conflict.
Adding job benefits, more possessions or novelties to one’s life will not change “a society that glories in being busy.” Such things are so often the cause of stress. Re-establishing the traditional balance in life found in the delights of family and faith are what is need to help woman lead more meaningful lives.