Fox News Op-Ed Says Feminists Are Denying “Rightful Gender Roles”
I was reading some Shakespeare yesterday, and suddenly discovered the Bard shared some sentiments with a Fox News op-ed contributor from this week. You see, they both like to remind women of their inborn submissiveness to men.
In Shakespeare’s The Comedy Of Errors, the timid (and single) Luciana urges her fiery (married) sister to recognize men and women’s naturally different places in the universe:
Men, more divine, the masters of all these,
Lords of the wide world and wild watery seas,
Indued with intellectual sense and souls,
Of more preeminence than fish and fowls,
Are masters to their females, and their lords:
Then let your will attend on their accords.
I was wondering what a challenge it would be for the actress playing Luciana to really, truly believe in God-given inferiority to men. But I guess Suzanne Venker, author of How To Choose A Husband And Make Peace With Marriage, could offer some insight.
Venker created an uproar recently with an earlier Fox News op-ed exposing “The War On Men.” In a follow-up this week, she explained further what she meant by “surrendering to femininity” and “reclaiming rightful gender roles.”
Venker explains that “an explosion of brain research” (aka a single neurological researcher taken out of context) proves that women are nurturing homemakers, while men are surly providers. (ThinkProgress points out that “[t]hese views are not supported by modern neuroscience, which finds that brain differences between men and women are hard to pinpoint and often a result of social pressures rather than biology.”)
As is common with many conservative screeds (War on Christmas, voter fraud), Venker makes many generalized claims that aren’t exactly wrong, they are just directed at a problem that doesn’t exist. Women should stay at home with their kids if they want; they can let their husband pay for dinner, and take his last name if they want. Women (and men) must sacrifice for family and marriage. Okay, sure- but in what Feminazi dystopia is Venker living where pop culture has turned women into these unfeeling macho monoliths?
Women are still paid less for the same jobs, and receive too little support to help them balance work and family. And trying to apply Venker’s opinions to parts of the world (Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab world, parts of Asia) where women are struggling mightily to secure even basic rights would be absurd.
“Just because you can do the same job a man can do doesn’t mean you need to let him know it.” Okay, now you’re blatantly telling women they need to act incompetent and stupid.
By the way, Shakespeare saw through this kind of garbage 400 years ago: the character Luciana is intended as a satire of domestic ideals. She later tells her brother-in-law that an affair between them would be okay, as long as he simultaneously makes an effort be nicer to his wife.
What do you think of Venker’s “Defense of Men?”