Monday, December 09, 2013
For The Sake of the Husbands
Fox News isn't exactly helping the Republicans' problem with how to talk at women by having Suzanne Venker write for their website so frequently. I looked at her archive at Fox, and now you may, too, by clicking on that link. Her recommendations amount to the need for male supremacy because any alternative to that means that men are treated like second-class citizens.
Her most recent essay argues that (heterosexual, though she doesn't make that distinction) women should let their husbands bring home most of the bacon and just focus on cooking it. That is the path to a balanced life! And of course to financial dependency. But Venker (whose website is Women For Men, focusing on improving gender relations and providing much-needed support for the American male) isn't terribly bothered by the problems her advice might give to women.
She is the anti-feminist niece of the anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly.
She shares more with her aunt than the desire to have heterosexual women stay at home and submissive to their husbands, and that's the exceptional status of Herself. While other women should behave in a certain manner, both Schlafly and Venker had or have careers outside the home.
That Venker writes as she writes is not unexpected, given her family background. That Fox brings her in so often teaches us a lot about what this major Republican organ really thinks about women's proper roles.
The points that Venker misses are several. First, most families cannot afford to follow the model she advocates, were they somehow persuaded to do so, and this is for economic reasons. Second, the kind of arrangements Venker advocates were once in place for white middle-class families in the United States and women revolted against them as the only acceptable solution. Third, her solution to the time press of women with jobs and families to take care of ignores alternative possibilities except the return to some mythical era when all women were happy and all men proud. For instance, fairer sharing of the chores at home could also make many women quite a bit happier, but Venker doesn't discuss that.
Then, of course, if all women with children followed her advice this country would lose much of its trained labor force and that would hurt the economy, not to mention the fact that any attempts at gender equality in places of power would pretty much be on the shoulders of those women who do not have children. Back to the fifties! Men everywhere except in the kitchen!
It wouldn't work, of course, because the average earnings of American men cannot cover the arrangement Venker finds most desirable.
And what does Venker promise women, if they follow her blueprint? As far as I can tell, she promises women marriage and children. But women can get those without Venker's rules, and her rules do not prevent divorce but simply make it much more painful for women.