In my reading of Susan Faludi’s 1991 book, Backlash, Faludi responds to studies that say that a woman’s standard of living dramatically declines after a divorce, and that professional women who postpone childbearing place themselves at great risk of becoming infertile. For Faludi, these myths pressure women to become dependent on men.
Faludi critiques the methodologies of the studies—-by noting that they either researched a small pool of people or a pool that was not a representative sample. She also mentions the problem of the lack of a control group in some of these studies. For example, the studies that are cited against no-fault divorce laws do not compare the economic or social situation of divorced women under no-fault divorce with that of divorced women prior to those no-fault divorce laws. And a study that said that children suffer as a result of divorce does not compare children of divorced parents with children of married parents.
Faludi also cites other studies. For example, one study that she cites states that the standard of living of divorced women declined somewhat after the divorce, but that their standard of living eventually got better. At the same time, Faludi acknowledges that there are problems, and she attributes them to the sexism of judges and the fact that women are not paid equally in comparison to men.
I talked yesterday about Faludi’s argument that single men are more depressed than married men. She cited similar research in my latest reading: that divorced men are unhappier than divorced women, and that single women are happier than married women. I wonder if there is a way to make everybody happy!