One of the most harmful features of the last couple waves of feminism has been the message oft repeated in women’s magazines and film: “You can do it by yourself.” It’s left women and children unhappy, many unhappy and poor. And it’s encouraged men to be uncivilized.

A new Pew Research survey revealed that 40% of households with children have a woman as the primary or sole income earner. Much of the hype is misleading.

The story here isn’t that married women are out-earning their husbands (though some are: 28% as of 2011). The real story is that 63% of those surveyed are the only income earner.

There is more than just a difference in style between the two groups. Women who out-earn their husbands make a hefty $80,000 annually on average. Households led by a single mother have a median income of just $23,000.

The number of single women with children under 18 has increased from 3.4 million in 1970 to 10 million in 2012. That’s nearly twice the number of women who out-earn their husbands.

Remind me why this is worth celebrating?

The research documenting the dreadful effects of single motherhood is extensive and depressing, but just in case you want some reading material: here you are. This too.

Everything from homelessness to violent crime to teen promiscuity, suicide, and incarceration rates has its roots in fatherless homes.

We have several things to blame: the devaluing of marriage (and yes, I mean telling adults they can marry someone with the same genitalia because marriage is only about coupling and has absolutely nothing to do with raising children … as well as divorce); a system of public assistance that pays women to raise children alone; excusing men who bow out on their fatherly duties; and lauding single mothers like they’re pioneers of women’s liberation.

According to The New York Times, the main oppressor of women and children “is the idea of the way families are ‘supposed to be.’”

Women now know they don’t need a man. And men now know they don’t need a woman, or they don’t need them for longer than one night.

I find the debate over whether a woman should earn more than her husband draining and a little ridiculous. I cast just as much speculation upon men who are deeply bothered by their wives earning more than them as I do upon women who feel they have to.

There’s an easy solution, men: be able to provide adequately and most women would gladly take the traditional role in the relationship (though you may have to wait until the Obama economy fossilizes).

But the breakdown of the family is incredibly important, and the enduring message to women that they can do it on their own is incredibly important to expunge.

Ladies, you do need a man. At least, if you plan on raising children.