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VICTOR JOECKS: Modern feminism is making girls miserable

It’s hard not to be depressed looking at statistics on teenage depression, especially for girls.

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its Youth Risk Behavior Survey. It covers high school students and looks at topics such as sexual activity, violence and drug use. What stood out were its findings on teenage mental health.

“In 2021, 42 percent of high school students felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for at least two weeks in a row that they stopped doing their usual activities,” the report revealed.

Among girls, it was 57 percent. For boys, it was 29 percent. Many teenagers have hard spells, but these results exceed historical norms. A decade ago, these rates were 36 percent for girls and 21 percent for boys.

It wasn’t just the dark thoughts. Thirty percent of girls said they seriously considered attempting suicide, a major increase from 2011. For boys, it was 14 percent, which was only a slight increase.

Worse, 24 percent of girls said they had made a suicide plan, with 13 percent saying they attempted it. Another 4 percent said they were injured in a suicide attempt, double the rate of boys.

It might be tempting to blame this on the pandemic. That’s undoubtedly a factor, but these negative trends existed before the coronavirus. The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed depression nearly doubled among 12- to 17-year-olds between 2010 and 2019.

Something is deeply wrong.

One explanation is that kids are different these days. But thousands of years of history show it’s doubtful human nature has radically shifted.

That suggests a broader societal change. Those are easy to find as you compare today with the messages society pushed decades ago. Family, God and country used to be foundational pillars of society. For decades, leftists have attacked and undermined them.

A married mom and dad raising their children used to be the norm. But the feminist movement torched the nuclear family. Even the Black Lives Matter website once called for “disrupt(ing) the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.” Single parenthood and divorce have skyrocketed. But being raised by married parents gives children stability and improves their mental health.

Belief in God has fallen off a cliff, especially among young Americans. That comes after the Supreme Court drove God and prayer out of schools. A belief in God provides moral instruction and a sense of purpose.

The number of people who are proud to be an American is at historically low levels. Many teachers and figures in popular cultural proclaim that America is systemically racist. Go figure teenagers might find that stressful, especially when they’re also told global warming is an existential crisis that will kill them.

Teenagers may act as if they know everything, but they don’t. Institutions and traditions — solutions to problems society has forgotten — bring order to an overwhelming world. Tear them down, and children live in chaos.

Today’s popular culture encourages people to seek pleasure, even — and sometimes especially — if it means casting off the restraints society once encouraged. But immediate gratification is often at odds with long-term satisfaction.

On top of this frayed foundation came the widespread use of smartphones and social media. Around half of teens say they are on the internet “almost constantly.”

“Young adults who use social media are three times as likely to suffer from depression, putting a large portion of the population at risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors,” the Huntsman Mental Health Institute reports.

Underpinning most political conflicts is a clash of worldviews that influence society more than specific policies. In this arena, the left has been ascendant for decades. Look what it’s led to.

Contact Victor Joecks at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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