Feminism: ruining America, one household at a time.
At least conservative commentator Suzanne Venker thinks so, if her controversial article on Fox News last week, “The War on Men,” is any indication. In the article, she claims feminism is to blame for the shrinking number of marriageable men in the country.
“Men want to love women, not compete with them,” according to her column. “They want to provide for and protect their families – it’s in their DNA. But modern women won’t let them.”
Predictably, the public response to this assertion has been less than glowing and her article has been torn apart by Stephen Colbert and Facebook users. This reaction is completely justified, given the contradictory, unfounded and downright condescending nature of
In answer to the explosive negative sentiment towards her original column, Venker has conducted several follow-up interviews with Fox News and various other news outlets, insisting people have misunderstood her.
I would be willing to give her the benefit of the doubt if her explanation didn’t dig her deeper into her own misogynistic grave.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, Venker said, “I didn’t mean that women can’t compete with men in the workforce. I meant that men don’t want to compete with their wives in marriage.”
So let me get this straight. Women can have high powered careers, as long as those careers do not threaten their husbands’ ability to provide for their family. As long as wives across the nation stay at least one professional and economic step below their partners, all will remain calm in the American home.
What Venker refuses to acknowledge in this justification is that wives and women are overlapping groups. One cannot promote female competition in the workplace while discouraging wives to do the same.
We also need to consider the type of man who would adopt that philosophy and whether this Mad Men-wannabe represents prime marriage material.
This discrepancy reveals just one problem in a long list of ways that Venker contradicts herself. For starters, if she took her own advice and “surrendered to her femininity,” her reputation as an author and anti-feminist would be nonexistent, or at least her notoriety would not surpass her husband’s.
She also seems conflicted about the role of men in the feminist movement.
First of all, in the original article she claims that, “Men haven’t changed much – they had no revolution that demanded it.” She also said feminism has “pissed (men) off,” but in a follow-up interview with New York Magazine Venker said, “I grew up with (a) hands-off father from a different generation,” and she doesn’t “see how people cannot see the huge change between him and fathers today.”
Therefore, according to Venker’s philosophy, men have simultaneously grown angrier and more nurturing compared to previous generations, all while remaining unchanged. The incompatibility of these traits demonstrates Venker’s tendency to make sweeping generalities that don’t apply to individuals, drastically oversimplifying gender roles.
She also asserts that “now the men have nowhere to go,” since feminism removed them from their pedestal as providers.
In claiming this Venker gives husbands and fathers zero credit. Men are just as capable as women of raising children and running a household. A refusal of one partner, male or female, to take on or share that role simply because of his or her gender would be a reflection upon said individual, not their spouse.
Furthermore, Venker needs to acknowledge that judging working mothers is a luxury of financially-secure women. Less affluent mothers often do not enjoy the option of staying at home, especially when economic hardships require more income than the father alone can provide.
Suzanne Venker’s dizzying logic, offensive generalizations and socioeconomic blind spots make it impossible to poke fun at her article because she does the work for you. “The War on Men” reads like a satire of itself.
As Venker told New York Magazine, women can gladly spend their day sitting around talking about their relationships. So if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to get back to my busy schedule of wondering whether my boyfriend thinks my job as a columnist threatens our bond.
-Calley Hair is a sophomore communication major from Redmond. She can be contacted at 335-2290 or by firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of Student Publications.