Kathy Gyngell: Junking feminism is the best answer to our loneliness epidemic

Loneliness afflicts enough of us at some time or another to find  Age UK’s latest report depressing indeed. Several newspapers headlined this hidden ‘epidemic’ amongst the elderly.

Horrifyingly half a million over 60s routinely go an entire week without meeting anyone and  most spent Christmas and New Year on their own.

It is something we'd rather not face thinking about. Loneliness has to be right up there at the top of the human fear index. Most people hate the thought so much they would do anything to avoid it.  Anxiety adds to their fear.

The options are few: go to ground to hide the shame; or adopt the bravura stance that no one believes:'I prefer my own company’; risk pity or pointless social encounters and compromises in equal measure.

There is no quick fix, not even for the most socially pro-active. The older you get the more you accept defeat.

Reality bears little resemblance to the dramatised and romanticised versions cinema feeds us of our modern dysfunctional living arrangements with their statistically totally unlikely happy endings. No more are the magazine lives of those desperately attention-seeking but lonely celebrities really desirable. Loneliness is not glamorous.

The disparity between liberal fiction and reality just gets wider.

Aloneness is not how human beings were evolved to be. We are not designed for it. Humans are necessarily social pair bonding primates.

It is all the more ironical that this ‘modern curse’ results from the extreme individualism and 'freedom' Western society celebrates and affluence allows.

The liberal Left either refuses to make the connection or thinks it a price worth paying for. They should be warier of what they wish for.

For loneliness is set to get very, very, much worse.

More of the middle aged are, already, living alone than ever before.

By 2030 some 1.5 million men (who are more at risk than women from loss of contact with families, children and friends) are predicted to be living severely lonely lives.

At the other end of the spectrum the ’snowflake’ generations Y and Z are lonelier than any ‘youth’ generation before them.

Young women live in fear of the single lives many are now doomed to lead, as Laura reported recently. ‘I can’t do it’, one miserably confessed, when told by her feminist mentor to get real about the reality facing her.

There’s little to suggest we can rely on our children to ‘lift’ society out loneliness, James Bartholomew's answer to the problem. Too many are from ‘fractured families’.  Far fewer find themselves at the centre of family kin networks than in previous generations. Burdened with debt and homelessness they have fewer resources to draw on for themselves.

The future for them is bleak – virtual face book friendship in an ever more-atomised society.

Age UK tells us we need to wake up to the loneliness epidemic. We do indeed. But the idea that an over burdened state ‘public health’ response, or charitable ‘befriending services’ can solve the problem is simply deluded.

Intrusive once a week spot checks for the old by local authority ‘carer’ pairs (for compliance) when local authorities can’t manage  current ‘social care’ demands are not the answer. They don't replace real relationships or the comfort of intimacy. They'll only mean more taxation and families (the antidote to loneliness) less able to support themselves financially – if they can afford to have children in the first place.

What’s needed is something far more revolutionary: junking everyday and every other sort of selfish feminism that's poisoned male /female relations, destroyed the family and undermined its economy.

It also means more sense and less sensibility in how we bring up children. My colleague Laura is clear about the legacy of my and successive generations of mothers and fathers: “Girls cannot cook, balance a cheque book let alone play an instrument; they have a hugely overinflated sense in self and many are overweight and unattractive yet at the same time totally immodest”. She is right. They are not equipped to look after themselves let alone others.

Boys are no better. Most can’t change a tyre, put up a shelf or do any basic electrics. They haven’t had fathers to show them – or make men of them.

“Today’s twenty somethings are probably the first generation to be totally immersed in feminist clap-trap not just by media, but by schools, university and their dopey feminist mothers. It's not their fault really - they had no escape”.

Feminist personal fulfilment clap-trap breeds loneliness. It has already pushed men to the economic and social margins and women into single state-dependent parenthood or into a barren work life.

The ball is in the women’s court. The quicker they stop passively adhering to daft dogmas and fess up to what they really want the sooner there's a chance of our solving the problem called loneliness.

(Image: Hernán Piñera)

Kathy Gyngell

  • gammosiuwong

    I quite agree that passive adherence is the problem but how do you change that for the vast majority of women who can’t be bothered to think through the dogma to it’s consequences?

    You’d have to make it somehow financially deleterious and/or socially repugnant and I don’t see how you can? You’d have to rock their world and make feminist consequences personal to each and every one.

    This is the problem at the very core of your mission.

    • TheRightToArmBears

      How many real women are concerned with this phenomena?
      The great majority of the ladies I know give me the pleasure of opening doors for them and simpering when I compliment their appearance. They know its a game and for fun.
      Any that don’t are not worth worrying about.

      • gammosiuwong

        Which is the very point. “Real women”, as you call them, should be concerned or else nothing will change. Those that don’t play the “game” ARE worth worrying about because they are the very ones in positions of power and leading feminism today.

  • Russell

    The fraud of feminism ought to have been called out many, many years ago but somehow the Powers That Be managed to suppress most dissent. It’s the internet that now permits some opposition to feminist ideology but I’m sure feminists are working to censor out any criticism of feminism as misogyny.

    Some of us once tried to look at where the funding came for groups of feminists trying to do just that – paint opposition to feminism on the internet as ‘violence against women.’ It was amazing how interconnected these dozens of feminists groups were working on this ‘problem’.

    The same few women were turning up on each others board. And their source of funding? Multi-million dollars from the Ford, Rockefeller and other Foundations. What was a surprise was how much was also public money – especially from Local Councils. Apparently the women on Councils thought it appropriate to give Council money to radical feminists causes. The chivalrous men on the Councils of course would acquiesce to the ladies demands.

    Loneliness? You often get what you ask for in life. That’s what feminists asked for; that’s what they got.

  • Charitas Lydia

    Isn’t it interesting? This is one issue the church should be addressing and seeking to correct. The Bible talks about how God places the lonely in families. But the Church of England is so feminist that most bishops and vicars will simply reject this sensible and only workable solution out of hand. Feminism has also entered and destroyed much of the mainstream churches.

    • David

      I agree.
      But the lead should come from the bishops. However they are generally the most liberal within the structure, which is why they are leading it to its demise.
      But there are just one or two brave, outspoken vicars about.

    • TheRightToArmBears

      Have you been to a church where God is mentioned recently?

  • Sundancekid

    It’s a strange sad thing, this modern world modern day feminism. It seems to me that men used to appreciate women. Really. More than appreciate.. idolise even. In generations gone by women were idealised as elegant, gentle, poised, beautiful. Precious. Weren’t they?…

    This was the pedestal men themselves were happy to accept. As a 53-year old man this is the world I grew up in. It gave men purpose to a degree. It made the role of being masculine relevant. Men also knew the ideals expected of being a man and most, it seemed, embraced it… or at least attempted to. Strong. Polite. Courteous. Altruistic. Protective. Gentlemen held doors open for ‘the fairer sex’ not in an attempt to patronise but in order to demonstrate respect, value , worth, and appreciation. And kindness. Sadly, those ‘sexist’ ideals were stamped into the ground over the past few decades by a rise in extravocal, hostile, greedy self-serving women who demanded ‘equality’ from from men on their terms alone. One door at a time. They threw out the baby with the bathwater, and it’s no surprise these days that all too often someone else bathes the baby. How sad is that?

    There’s a new shop or two on the highstreet these days. Between the Barnardo’s and HelptheAged. I now pass nail bars when I am in any city centre, and there they sit in a attempt to feel beautiful, having someone else.. often a Chinese bloke it seems… attend to their nails: beautifying a small detail at the end of each finger. As a modern female pastime this activity falls under the term ‘pampering’ – a term which has entered the British Language along with ‘single mom’ and ‘career woman’ and ‘child care’.
    It is something that generally overweight women do in an attempt to feel validated and special, with minimum effort. It’s something to be done during those ‘spare hours’ when not looking after the children or men of their lives (if there are any) as their predecessors would have.

    A trip to the nail bar is known these days as ‘ME TIME’…

    ‘Me time’ has little to do with elegance, poise, or good health. It has little to do with innate feminine beauty, but it has everything to do with a culture of self indulgence and conceit. Women have been told by other women they must be ‘strong’ and ‘independant’ for so long now… Don’t need a man, dont need to prioritise the children. it’s ‘me time’ they really need… (sounds like a Beyonce lyric).

    Yep. There are plenty of nailbars out there to cater for this particular ‘need’.. Somewhere to get away from men, and children. Somewhere to be pampered.

    Unfortunately ‘me time’ only works for a while.. Over extended periods it becomes aloneness. Lonliness can follow, and that doesn’t feel quite as good. When your nails are done you can walk out of the nailbar but lonliness is harder to walk away from: as the article suggests it is time that we rethink the wish-list. Let’s reconsider our priorities and ideals because ‘at the end of the day’ there are more important things than having our nails beautified. There are more important things than being ‘pampered’. Creating and maintaining strong healthy happy families and children is worth considering as credible, legitimate, and important at this time. If done correctly it leads to healthy, happy, social interaction and strong communities. Personal fulfilment is the by product not the purpose and thats the difference. It’s not easy, but it has a lot more to do with real Love and Beauty than having your nails done. And surely that is the real objective here…

    • weirdvisions

      Real women, the ones who don’t have time to nip into town to visit a salon, do their own nails. I’ve been doing mine for years for a fraction of the price a salon would charge.

      • TheRightToArmBears

        Anyone having their nails done is paying someone to listen to them.

      • Under-the-weather

        ‘Me time’ usually refers to precious minutes a mum has to herself when she isn’t caring for someone else, precious little when children are young, and is thought to be a necessity to maintain a healthy sense of self, (when the alternative is low self esteem).

        • Sundancekid

          I understand the pressures and demands of motherhood and parenting (under-the-weather) as I understand the importance of relaxation and personal ‘recreation’. The term ‘me-time’ here represent ‘pampering’ I think, which when self-induced tends towards unhealthy narcissistic ‘pleasure’. It’s a whole less commendable or beneficial that a walk in the countryside or time spent in a genuinely creative pursuit. Art. Music. You know what I mean. That is how I see it anyway :-). sdk

      • Sundancekid

        I understand and appreciate your comment (wierdvisions). Having someone else do your nails is surely one malfunction of a society which, in a way, promotes the idea of indulgent service by others of one’s own indulgencies. It has been mentioned here elewhere in the comment section that loneliness is linked, in this case also, to isolation and low self-esteem. Having another person tend to your nails is a female version of going to a massage parlour for a bloke. Seriously. It doesn’t seem as ‘improper’ but is the same kind of social service – Company, intimacy, small talk. It follows a myth which suggests that consumer culture will fix us, will resolve all of our woes, will validate our worth.
        It doesn’t, it can’t, it never did, and neither did the modern day selfish and spiteful feminist doctrine which appears to rely on much that a distorted consumer culture has to offer. Thanks for your reply and enjoy your day. sdk

  • James Chilton

    Feminist personal fulfilment clap-trap breeds loneliness.

    This is true. But there are multiple causes of loneliness among the over 60s.

    To begin with, for many good reasons there’s been a big increase in the number of people surviving into old age. There’s also been a sociological shift over several generations in which deference to the guidance or wisdom of the old has been repudiated. The “authority” which used to be attributed to the older generation no longer functions as a social anchor. Similarly, the assumption that older people have a distinctive role in maintaining the continuity of families and communities, is at odds with the worship of individualism and the march into a deracinated future.

    It boils down to this: Our atomised society has high levels of mobility. A society in flux has no place for the conservative roles traditionally assigned to the old among a network of extended families. So, from the point of view of many busy and self-absorbed younger people, old men and women are increasingly superfluous to requirements.

    There’s no way back.

    • weirdvisions

      They forget that one day they will be old and superfluous to requirements. Oh to be a reincarnated fly on the wall when that happens.

    • Lawrence Newman

      Exactly. Now the yoofs hate the elderly and mock them. The Remainers are on record celebrating the idea a great many elderly people who voted for Brexit will die off before we get a 2nd referendum and so we’ll vote to stay in in a second vote. The progressives are all ethical and pathologically altruistic …… until a demographic or person disagrees with them .

      • Bik Byro

        They could have always taken the view that the elderly have had years more experience of knowing what it is like living within the EU and respected their experience.

        But they didn’t. It’s like the old adage “Employ a teenager while they still know everything”

    • Bik Byro

      Parents place their kids in nurseries to get rid of them and then wonder why, 30 years later when they are in old age, the kids put the parents in an old folks home.

      • James Chilton

        My assumption is that indifference is to blame for the plight of the old and lonely. That’s bad enough; revenge would be worse.

        • Bik Byro

          I don’t think it’s necessarily revenge; indeed I think it is indifference.
          When parents show a trend of indifference towards their kids, they shouldn’t be surprised when their kids inherit the concept of indifference towards them.

      • Under-the-weather

        Sometimes it could be about putting them in day care so patents can earn enough to pay for a private education later, it isn’t always one way

    • Mobility has always been a problem here (US). And yes, it is a contributor (sometimes a big one) to loneliness. One only has to read the letters from our pioneers, or Willa Cather, for that matter. I think the rest of what you say correct as well.

      The way back is what it has always been, we establish new communities, perhaps not completely on families, but on common interests. It doesn’t happen in a day, though.

      • James Chilton

        I believe among the causes of “prairie madness” was the extreme isolation of pioneers who put down roots in a vast wilderness. (Loneliness can make you literally sick.)

        Establishing new communities based on common interests could be a micro cure for loneliness. But at the macro level, I don’t know that anything can be done – certainly not by the state, anyway.

        • It was, and occasionally still is. One merely has to get out in the middle of the prairie to see why.

          The way you solve it on the macro level is to solve it on the micro level and then spread it. No problem can really be solved on the macro level. Strong individuals build strong families, who build strong communities, who build strong areas, who build strong countries.

          Basically one is starting over just outside the Garden of Eden.

    • Rob

      Feminist personal fulfilment clap-trap breeds loneliness.

      … translates to ..
      “well if I’m going to be a miserable git, then everyone is going to have to be miserable too…”

  • Bik Byro

    Ironic that in a world of mobile phones, Skype and Facebook, we are getting lonelier and lonelier …

  • David

    This is not an easy argument to convey, but the article does it the right way, by bravely getting straight to the point. Thank you Kathy and well done !

  • So many teenagers can’t conduct an intelligent grown up conversation. They are great with text messages and Facebook, but it’s all usually all about ‘self’. They might know all about the latest pop-group or celebs, but seem to have little knowledge of the real world. Politics is usually limited to the latest trendy left wing opinions from schools and feminist outlook if they go to university. They seem to be totally unaware of the real world.
    My son-in-law, a university professor, interviews potential students, and finds that, outside their particular subject, most are almost speechless. Ask a female student why “Trump is a disaster” as she claims and there is no coherent answer other than something like “He gropes women”. Ask about Farage, and you’ll probably be told he’s racist. Nothing about policies.
    This, I suspect, is why those from better off families find it easier to get into the top universities, they can conduct an intelligent conversation, don’t accept trite phrases at face value, and have what would have once been called ‘General Knowledge’, that is they know a little about many subjects and are able to make an intelligent response.
    One just wonders what modern couples talk about when the meet!

    • likeIsaid

      “One just wonders what modern couples talk about when the meet!”

      They don’t! They’ll both be on their phones.

      • True. We went out for a meal last Sunday and there was a group of eight people celebrating something together. But they were all fiddling with their phones including a lad of about 6 or 7 who had his iPad.
        Why on earth did they bother to go out together?

    • John Birch

      Nothing, they look at their phones and text their friends.

  • TheRightToArmBears

    The feminazis I see on TV or hear on the radio strike me as the antithesis of femininity, having all the attributes of would-be male cross-dressers.
    Certainly there are none that I fancy. They all seem so old and not just in their cynicism.
    Age has nothing to do with it as I have had the wildest of times with ladies rather older than me.

    • Sundancekid

      ..’would-be cross-dressers..’. Politically-incorrect, necessary and hilarious. Right on the button! The feminazi mindset is bitter, twisted, and humourless. Good Humour is the antedote 🙂 .

  • guestwho2

    Doctrinaire feminism is and was as contrived as Scientology. Unfortunately, a great many more people became wild-eyed believers in the former.

    With a rule book established, edited and enforced by ivory-tower militants and nihilists, many of them uninterested in or unable to form traditional relationships and therefore resentful of same, feminism was always going to be seductive and destructive to those women in the real world who became convinced that the marriages and families they worked so hard to create and nurture were suddenly a prison.

    In the typical leftist newspeak, identical helpings of feminist misery were defined as ‘liberation’ with the usual surfeit of ministries and quangoes to say nothing of corporations forced to establish money pits known as offices of diversity & equality.

  • Under-the-weather

    I don’t think this has anything to do with feminism, and much more to do with an expectation that somebody out there is going to solve our problems rather than ourselves, which creates an opportunity for the state to present itself as solutions provider. There’s no excuse for someone who’s mobile to complain about loneliness, there are huge numbers of voluntary organisations all over the country willing to accept members in any capacity they choose, from voluntary wildlife conservation, primary education assistance, to services for the elderly (tea dances etc). What is missing is the interest to go looking.

    • Sundancekid

      Thanks for these thoughts (u-t-w)..some interesting threads to follow here. 🙂

    • TheRightToArmBears

      Each of the great depressions, 1929 & 2008/9, were caused by bank regulation failures. In both cases the banks exceeded capital asset/liability ratios previously set but relaxed by administrations in favour of their client base.

  • Bandy

    This is just another example of Women changing their tune when the circumstances are right. Would Laura or Kathy when aged 20 listen to such advice, would they not go to University and marry at that age? Of course not, because that would be the Patriarchy limiting their choices. It’s all feminism and enpowerment when you are young, ra ra ra look at me all strong and independent!

    Now when they have lost their looks and the old cat lady future beckons it’s time to change the world to their benefit.

    Actions have consequences, feminists not only emancipated Women, they gave freedom to men and to be honest, it’s pretty good without the burden of a British Woman in ones life..

  • Timmy

    Maybe loneliness is the natural result for hating men for 5, 10, 15+ , years.

    They made their choices and need to live with them.

  • John Birch

    The first part of your headline was correct. It didn’t need the second half.

  • John Birch

    Why on earth is sundancekids comment waiting moderaration.

    • Sundancekid

      John.. I wondered the same thing to be honest..?

  • chris60

    The twenty something women I know can cook, work, budget and have partners as well as good self esteem. Feminism isn’t the problem, but I do agree that the emphasis on individuality and independence masks a lie that we actually do need other people and are not really that independent. Many of us are so busy working that our relationships often suffer. A great GDP comes at a price and maybe capitalism needs to be wound back to stop compulsive buying as compensation for lost time.

    • Sundancekid

      Hi Chris60. I dont think the suggestion is that all women are struggling as a result of ‘feminism’, or that the ideals of equality fairness and respect are somehow harmful. 3rd-wave feminism has a hostile misandristic agenda which goes above and beyond these original commendable ideals. In fact it shows contempt for them and tramples them in a rush to be dominant. Thankfully most women, as your friends demonstrate, are capable and reasonable. I don’t know if you’ve ever worked in uk schools?.. It would seem clear to me having done so that 3rd-wave feminist principles ARE very much the problem in the influencial corridors of our country today. Male-critical politically-correct dogma has established cultural marxism in many educational environments. The politically motivated 3rd-wave feminist idealists push themselves forward relentlessly as the more rounded capable women within the profession stand aside. As do their compliant male counterparts. The authentic genuine educators are too busy or professional to take it on an an issue at this stage. They have enough stress and pressure as it is. The promotion of all things female and the denegration of all things male seems standard within education these days… How many girls are you aware of on behaviour modifying drugs? How many male members of staff are there to females? The female leaders who push themselves forward in schools appear clearly to favour and implement contemporary ‘feminist’ principles and once in leadership positions they are adept at working together to support and promote these ideals and those who support them (men and women) whilst marginalising and rejecting those who dont. Modern day feminist doctrine is not to be mistaken with ‘respect and justice for the feminine’ in the same way that being loyal and positive towards one’s country should be mistaken as being racist.
      Unless of course you are a 3rd-wave feminist. 🙂

  • Rob

    Junking feminism is the best answer to our loneliness epidemic
    Sorry no it isn’t

    if you want to reduce the impact of future loneliness then yes junking feminism will go part of the way to reducing the impact… in the future.

    for today you couldn’t undo the damage done to the youngest generation( maybe in decade after ditching feminism).

    for the older generation that age uk focus on and with whom i work with.. no.
    feminism does not have much truck with the older generation of women and men. they have the ability to see it for the claptrap it is, they also feel the pain when they watch their adult children’s lives destroyed through the family court system and subsequently the loss of their grandchildren whom they had often relied on for social contact and to “feel part” of a family. they are lonely because of the breakdown of their families. work, mobility, ill health are many of the reasons. That is not going to get fixed any day soon regardless of whether we junk feminism or not ( still a good enough purely on its own merit though).

  • Trollhammer