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Unhappiness and Women - Isn't It Subjective?

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"No matter how objective you want, or try, to be, every issue you see will be subjective. You carry with you all that has made you the person you are, your gender included."

So said the professor in my journalism class back at university. In other words, what and who you are will influence how you view a situation. That definitely includes life experiences, good and bad.

So it is with happiness, a topic which is much in the news now. Last year, with his articles on women's diminishing happiness, Marcus Buckingham created quite a stir. The media commented extensively on what he had written in articles and spoken about on news shows. Happiness or the lack thereof was in the air.

And while I feel that any discussion about changing a person's life from negative to positive, (male or female), is conducive to attaining happiness, with all due to respect to Mr. Buckingham, I think he's coming at it strictly from a male's point of view. That point of view is slightly skewed to who and what they are and it isn't female. Ask any woman how she views life and how her male partner views it and you will come up with some very different ideas and attitudes about happiness. It has nothing to do with intelligence and being practical and everything to do with viewpoint.

I would never say that a Marcus Buckingham or a Dr. Phil don't give out excellent advice, they do. But, and there's a tremendous but here, no matter how hard they may try to feel what a woman is feeling and seeing, they can't, not completely. Their advice is male-oriented. Good, excellent, top of the line, but still coming from a man's perspective.

As a woman, my subjectively female theory is that women are no less happy now than past generations were. For my book, I interviewed over 100 women. They ranged in age from those in their 20s to those in their 60s, from all walks of life, from all strata of society. Not being happy had no age or social limit. The 14 stories in the book prove that unequivocally. The only differences between women of past generations and those of 2010 are advances in education and opportunities.

Still, maybe even with all our advances and advantages in life, we still haven't found the right mix of what will provide the right feeling for us that says we can allow ourselves to be happy.

And then too, what is happiness or unhappiness? Isn't it really simply that subjective personal perspective my professor talked about? Don't we carry the many parts that make us who we are, including our sex, all our lives and make determinations of what's what by those factors? My idea of happiness may not be another woman's, or man's, idea of it. Your idea of misery may be just a bad day for someone else. You see, subjective!

I'm sure that Marcus Buckingham has only the best interests of his clients at heart and truly believes he knows how to help them. But his perspective is still that of a male and, as much as I love the helpful, compassionate men in my life, they are seeing the world differently than I and the women in my life do.


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