Researchers Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers discover, in a working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, that, on the whole, the triumph of feminism has made men happier and women unhappier:
"By many objective measures the lives of women in the United States have improved over the past 35 years, yet we show that measures of subjective well-being indicate that women's happiness has declined both absolutely and relative to men. The paradox of women's declining relative well-being is found across various datasets, measures of subjective well-being, and is pervasive across demographic groups and industrialized countries. Relative declines in female happiness have eroded a gender gap in happiness in which women in the 1970s typically reported higher subjective well-being than did men. These declines have continued and a new gender gap is emerging - one with higher subjective well-being for men."
I think that Douthat is right to think that "a strict feminist and a stringent gender-role traditionalist alike will probably find vindication of their premises between the lines" here: "The feminist will see evidence of a revolution interrupted, in which rising expectations are bumping against glass ceilings, breeding entirely justified resentments. The traditionalist will see evidence of a revolution gone awry, in which women have been pressured into lifestyles that run counter to their biological imperatives, and men have been liberated to embrace a piggish irresponsibility."
Needless to say, I think that Douthat's "traditionalists" have it right. But can there be any doubt that his "feminists" will continue to get their way, when it comes to public policy?