How Do Women Define 'Success' vs. How Society Defines It?

AP Photo/J. David Ake, File

As my friend and colleague Jeff Charles wrote on Monday, a conversation was sparked about how women need their own Jordan Peterson figure, a morality guide that can cut through the noise of modern social norms to uncover a more real, substantial life that offers fulfillment. Not some new age method of achieving success and happiness, mind you. Peterson's approach doesn't contain any frills or uncover any secrets. It's really just bare bones, bread-and-butter lifestyle changes one can make that have been proven to work over the course of generations. 

But women don't seem to have that. As Charles wrote, women would do well with a figure like Peterson of their own, but would likely benefit from taking their eyes off of international figures and putting them more on local figures. This isn't a bad idea. In the case of things that hit closest to home, including the self, local is always better, whether it's politics or personal ordeals. 

But that said, the suggestion that sparked the "female Jordan Peterson" conversation came from Jaimee Marshall at The Blaze where she said: 

Why, then, do women seem less happy than ever? They may be thriving materially, but spiritually, they're lost. Women are navigating uncharted territory, growing up in an overtly sex-positive society where "professions" like prostitution and pornography have been destigmatized if not outright encouraged. A wide ideological gap is forming between the sexes, with dates resembling uneasy diplomatic negotiations more than romantic meet-cutes.

Every week, a new "normie" woman seems to go viral on X by posting a video in which she confesses, often in tears, that she’s at the end of her rope. Trapped in unfruitful cycles of self-sabotage intermixed with unsavory digital footprints, a short-term mating strategy that won't lead to long-term commitment, and an absence of deeper meaning beyond dopamine hits via social media, they have a mass psychosis of learned helplessness.

She's not wrong. Women are confessing they are more unhappy than ever in today's modern era. This isn't a secret. Studies and polls have all concluded that women just aren't having a good time anymore. 

Truth be told, it's a topic I've been interested in for some time. Women are more successful today than they've ever been in history. There are more female college graduates than men, they out-earn men in many major cities, they're far more successful in the corporate world than ever before, but despite all of this, women are stressed, unhappy, and consistently reporting they're depressed. 

When these kinds of things happen, my immediate thought is that we need to get down to core programming. What natural urge or tendency given to us by God is being violated? For women, that's been pretty obvious, but it's not something that's acceptable to talk about in mainstream society. In fact, the pressure from mainstream society to not discuss the natural tendencies of women is so heavy that women who display "traditional" lifestyles of being a housewife and raising the children results in quite a bit of backlash. Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker's mere suggestion that the most important thing women will ever do is raise a family was met with such vitriol and anger that he became a mainstream villain overnight and the subject of endless angry think pieces from the media. 

(READ: Let's Be Real About Why People Are Actually Mad About Harrison Butker's Speech)

And I think it's here that we see a real issue, and why women can't seem to find happiness. I could spout all the data in the world about how women find more fulfillment in their relationships and that they're ultimately far happier having created families than not. The data is there, and the large amount of women sliding into their late 30s childless and alone, tearfully confessing their regret on social media, can't be ignored. Women are emotionally-based creatures, far more than men are, and as such, the sterilized and cold corporate culture does not offer the fulfillment that personal relationships and familial connection does. 

I could go on about all that, but the option of even talking about this isn't encouraged. The core issue here isn't that women can't decide for themselves how they can find fulfillment, it's that there's a stark barrier there that even prevents them from discussing these options in any serious capacity in mainstream culture. Women are told that what will make them happy is XYZ and any discussion of ABC is shut down, and those who bring it up are ridiculed and shamed for it. 

They follow modern society's rules, thinking that the widely accepted way of thinking is wisdom and then find themselves unfulfilled, frustrated, and unhappy while never engaging in the conversation that perhaps there are other ways of thinking and that thinking of these other things is perfectly okay. 

In short, women aren't allowed to listen to themselves. They're certainly allowed to recite modern dogma to each other, but anything else could be greeted with the treat of being ridiculed, shunned, and given a pariah status. Following one's gut and conforming to one's natural instincts is socially taboo. 

This isn't to say that women need to stop working in the corporate world and get back in the kitchen, where she must cook for a man while her belly swells with child. If a woman truly finds happiness in her accomplishments as a businesswoman, then by all means, follow your gut. However, if your gut tells you it's not scratching your deepest itches, then it's time to start considering what you really want. Maybe you do want that swollen belly in the kitchen, and that's okay too. 

Before a female Jordan Peterson can seriously be listened to, women need to redefine what success means to women, but right now, mainstream culture has pressured a great majority of them into believing that success only looks like one path, and looking at the others is social dangerous. This is not going to do anyone any favors. 

Women should have the freedom to decide for themselves, but at this time, there are social restrictions that are keeping too many women imprisoned in their hearts and minds. 



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