Sunday, September 20, 2009

Women's narcissism and happiness

Us women are more egocentric and narcissistic than we ever used to be, according to extensive research by two leading psychologists.

I can't vouch for the rigor of this research... but it certain accords with my own experiences of modern Western women! In particular, I think that years of politically correct claptrap in the media - in particular in women's magazines and newspaper collumns - has left women with totally unrealistic expectations of what men find attractive in a woman. In short, they project what THEY find attractive in a man, onto what they assume a man will find attractive in a woman. In essence: career success, material wealth, and 'worldliness' (i.e. experience, and how well travelled they are). You can quite see this in the way that women (particularly those in their 30s) describe themselves on dating sites (i.e. when they are trying to 'sell themselves'). Of course, the reality is that these qualities are not important at all for the vast majority of men who are looking for a relationship with a woman.

But does all this narcissism make women any happier? I would guess the exact reverse. And this accords with research I've read that shows that women are less likely than men to be happy. In general, I'd say that focusing on yourself is more likely to make you miserable, whilst focusing outwards onto the outside world, and loosing yourself in some external interest, is more likely to lead to contentment. And wasn't this, after all, the wisdom of philosophical movements like Buddhism? That you should try to forget your ego and loose yourself by focusing on other things?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To be honest I am suspicious of this type of thing. I have heard of an Amp Meter but not a Ego Meter.

But there is one point that does go through my mind. I read that men are happier than women. I have also read that women are less happy now than in the fifties while men are happier. But how can this square with our understanding of how badly men are treated and how feminism has damaged them? How can we be happier yet be in the desperate situation that I think you and I think men are in?