It seems recently there has been an influx of people I’m coming across in various social media settings, who decry injustices that are seemingly being inflicted upon them as a result of…equal rights.. Its strange, confusing and appalling all at the same time In this past week I fielded a thread (explained in my previous blog post) about how women lie about being raped. This thread evolved (or is that devolved?) into hill of comments built upon slut shaming. Next came a post or reposting rather of a blog written by Suzanne Venker, “niece of Phylis Schafly & FOX News correspondent” about the “war on men.” I went back and forth about replying to this posting but decided rather than start a flame war which would result in no one listening to each other (Internet-wise) I’d post something else on a related topic & comment on that so those that know me got a clearer idea of my views. Lead by example, I’ll let you know how that works out for me……
But since this is my pwn personal space I can explain and respond to the article in question.
So Suzanne Venker whose website lists her as an “author and social critic” writes books. Her latest is entitled “The War On Men” and under the header advertising that are several blog pieces covering a range of topics such as gender roles in modern marriage, the “luxury” of at home motherhood and how fathers roles in society are devalued. Dont get me wrong I believe these issues are alive and well in modern day United States…just not from the angle she’s throwing at. The initial quote I read by her stated “you’ll never hear that in the media. All the articles and books (and television programs, for that matter) put women front and center, while men and children sit in the back seat. But after decades of browbeating the American male, men are tired. Tired of being told there’s something fundamentally wrong with them. Tired of being told that if women aren’t happy, it’s men’s fault.”
This quote along with her multiple blog pieces give me more material to opine about than I could possibly cover in one blog post so I’ll start by responding to her quote and the points it raises. I don’t know what era Ms. Venker grew up in, but when I was growing up in the 80’s father centered families were the norm on TV -Who’s The Boss, Full House etc- not to mention numerous upon numerous fairytales without moms (but maybe distant fathers & evil stepmoms) . It was in fact almost more common to see a father-only scenario than a nuclear family almost and definitely in most Disney movies of that time. In modern day 2014, there really seem to be a wide scope of shows which range from nuclear family to two mom-households or two-dad households. To be sure, the media still holds up the standard fare of two kids, a mom, a dad and a dog but a viewer doesn’t have to flip channels as long as they would have in the 1980’s, in order to find alternatives to this mold.
Additionally, I know tons of dads who stay home with kids, or women that work & don’t have kids. It really goes both ways, the questioning & raised eyebrows….Many of Venker’s pieces completely miss the mark or overlook some points. Venker’s blog piece about “modern marriage” decries women who joined the work force because being home wasn’t good enough. It also misses several key things. Women didn’t join the work force because they were power hungry to control two spheres. Some women flat out rejected the role of housewife/mother because they wanted more from life than a domestic role — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Not to mention its near impossible to be a one income family in the middle class nowadays (which Venker more or less acknowledges). Certainly she cant criticize women for joining the work force than claim a war on men who want to be home. It doesnt really work out that way logically. To be fair I agree that women who choose to stay home and be a wife and/or mother are undervalued in society. I also agree that those women shouldnt be made to feel that way….but yet she doesnt claim there is a war on women. She claims this roots from their own insecurities…..yet fathers who are made to feel under valued feel this way as a result of society. Hmm.
Fathers should be able to stay home without criticism also, just to put that out there lest anyone wonder how I feel..
I think anyone who wants to stay home should, as long as their partner is okay with that, then what does it matter to me? to us?
Her Aug 17th blog about fatherhood in America, quotes two women-who are neither married or have kids, but do have careers & money- saying they dont need men to have children..I think its safe to say thats hardly representative of a war on men. Katy Perry and Jennifer Aniston are beyond rich. They have both been married and divorced. Maybe they have decided marriage isnt for them, and thats ok (Refer back to your own words on this Suzanne). Lesbians have kids too, are they part of this war or do they get a free pass?
What I find most obvious about Suzanne Venker and others like her is the use of a classic formulaic argument about a perceived war on the part of <group seeking more rights/less suppression> waged against <group whose seen as the norm for whatever the perceived right/privilege is>.. Whites in the 1960s had similar arguments against black people who didnt want separate schools, jobs, restaurant seating etc. “Traditional Marriage” pundits use this argument every day on FOX News blubbering about the War on Traditional Marriage wrought by LGBT people seeking to marry. One could literally take out the parts where Venker uses “women” and plug in LGBT then take out “Men” and plug in “traditional family” and have almost vebatim the same paragraph, example “Those gay & lesbian people wanted an alternative lifetsyle and now they want a traditional one and take away from us straight people” But gays & lesbians never said they wanted an alternative lifestyle. Maybe some do. And maybe some want to be married. And it doesnt take away anything from straight people for tat to happen. I use this as an example because I think it shows what I’m talking about more clearly. Regardless of whether someone shares your view or a different one, be warned by use of an us/them dichotomy or extremist talk “This is how it is/I’m right so I dont need to hear any further opinions/You’re wrong because its not my view/ I already know youre wrong” etc type stuff (Or when in doubt, expletives and grammar insults). Cant we all just get along?