Suzanne Venker, in her FoxNews article “To be happy, we must admit men and women aren’t ‘equal,'” proposes that men and women climb back into their 1950s gender boxes so everything can go back to being calm and quiet the way things used to be.
You know – back when women were such bored and frustrated housewives that they lived on Valium and white wine, and when the perception of women as appendages to men meant marriages were battles between rebellious wife and I’m-Putting-My-Foot-Down husband.
It’s time to say what no one else will: Feminism didn’t result in equality between the sexes – it resulted in mass confusion. Today, men and women have no idea who’s supposed to do what.
Well, we do, actually; however, we don’t decide based on who sits or stands when peeing. That’s a tiny bit limiting. I enjoy shoveling and working and holding the remote control, and I’m not giving any of that up because I have girl parts.
The greatest benefit of the feminist movement is that it freed women to pursue their interests and passions without having to ask permission from men (or society), and it also allowed men the same freedom because they were no longer saddled with the expectation that they would work hard enough/find a job (any job, even one they hated) that would make them enough money to support a woman and 2.5 children. (Or, 3.5 dependents.)
These days, because women are working and aren’t conditioned (well, as conditioned) to believe male partners are substitute fathers, men too can pursue their interests even if it means making a little less money – because she’s bringing home income, too.
Venker goes on to say,
Prior to the 1970s, people viewed gender roles as as equally valuable. Many would argue women had the better end of the deal! It’s hard to claim women were oppressed in a nation in which men were expected to stand up when a lady enters the room or to lay down their lives to spare women life. When the Titanic went down in 1912, its sinking took 1,450 lives. Only 103 were women. One-hundred three.
Compare that with last year’s wrecked cruise line, the Costa Concordia. It resulted in fewer deaths, but there was another significant difference. “There was no ‘women and children first’ policy. There were big men, crew members, pushing their way past us to get into the lifeboats. It was disgusting,” said passenger Sandra Rogers, 62.
I don’t see the problem. Men’s and women’s lives are equally valuable.
…the truth must be heard. Being equal in worth, or value, is not the same as being identical, interchangeable beings.
Except, according to the women-and-children point she makes above, Venker believes men and women are not equal in worth. Never mind. Moving on:
Men and women may be capable of doing many of the same things, but that doesn’t mean they want to. That we don’t have more female CEOs or stay-at-home dads proves this in spades.
Unless, of course, you’re beholden to feminism. In that case, you’ll believe the above is evidence of discrimination. You’ll believe what feminists taught you to believe: that gender is a social construct.
The suggestion here seems to be that if you’re “beholden to feminism” you’re arguing for the sake of arguing, but if you’re reasonable, you’ll see that men and women are meant to do different things and should therefore conform to gender stereotypes.
In fact, to insist that men and women ignore their interests and the paths they want to follow in favor of fitting into molds, into an old model that was obviously not successful (had it been successful, there wouldn’t have been such a fight to break free), is to reduce us all to farm labor. Donkeys pull, cows milk.
Those of us with children know better. We know little girls love their dolls and boys just want to kick that ball. This doesn’t mean men can’t take care of babies or women can’t play sports. It just means each gender has its own energy that flows in a specific direction. For God’s sake, let it flow.
Does this include the parents of the boy who wanted to wear pink shoes, the parents of the little boy who wanted a toy oven, and the parents of me, who as a young girl preferred playing with Matchbox cars and squirt guns to dolls?
The battle of the sexes is over. And guess what? No one won. Why not try something else on for size? Like this: men and women are equal, but different. They’ve each been blessed with amazing and unique qualities that they bring to the table. Isn’t it time we stopped fussing about who brought what and simply enjoy the feast?
I do agree that it’s time we stop fussing about who brought what, and it took Venker a long time to reach that conclusion. But I suppose if she’d opened with that, she wouldn’t have had a column.