It feels like centuries away, but only a few years ago in some Western countries, Women’s Day was regarded as an occasion to celebrate. Today this celebration has become a day of anger and discontent, with many women loudly voicing their frustration (at men, of course) to protest inequality, sexism and other injustices. One would be excused for thinking women have never had it so bad.
Today women’s main cause for rage appears to be income inequality. It does not matter how hard (some) economists try to explain the reasons why in the large statistical picture, men appear to earn more than women: today’s Western woman has been persuaded that men (all men) make more money than she does just because they are men. It does not matter when one explains that the data on income inequality between men and women is the average of the sum of all income earned by all men and by all women, regardless of their job or career. Today’s Western woman (or at least the socially concerned woman) feels entitled to believe that if a man and a woman are doing the same job a man will earn more just because he is a man. And she is angry and frustrated because of that. Pointing out a simple fact of that anyone with just enough superficial knowledge of economics will understand will just make her even angrier.
But this feeling of extreme injustice does not only affect women. Even among socially concerned men, those who are arguably regarded (and probably regard themselves) as the best of men, it has become a common dogma to accept that men live in a state of constant privilege. There is no need to specify exactly what sort of privileges men in the third decade of the twenty-first century enjoy, and asking too many questions would be only testimony to one’s own imbecility for failing to see what is an evident, incontrovertible truth: men (all men-almost) are oppressors, women are victims. Why are these men indulging in so much self-hatred? Are they trying to score easy points by embracing these wildly exaggerated claims that men (almost all men) are unrepentant sexist oppressors that deserve nothing but public humiliation? Are they just going along with the slogan of the day? Are these men thinking women will respect them more if they show that they are kind and compassionate? That’s rather unlikely though, socially concerned women will likely see this as yet another form of male chauvinistic paternalism and a particularly dangerous one at that too.
Arguably anger and frustration about the condition of women are the most acute in the West, where women and men have been enjoying for decades, if not a whole century, exactly the same rights as their male counterparts. It is one of these paradoxes of life that makes happiness almost impossible on earth: the more one gets, the more one wants and the more angered one becomes for not getting exactly what one wants.