Friday, December 07, 2012

Fox News Op-Ed Says Women’s Nature Is To Be Dominated By Men

By Zack Beauchamp/Think Progress

Fox News has published another sexist op-ed by Suzanne Venker, the author who became infamous for attacking a fictional “War on Men.” In the follow up piece, Venker argues that women are naturally men’s inferiors.
The author believes the crudest of crude gender stereotypes are built into male and female brains, arguing that women “like to gather and nest and take care of people” while men “are hunters: they like to build things and kill things.” As a consequence, she maintains a man’s place is in the office; “his” woman should simply “surrender” to his rule:
[W]omen shouldn’t let their success in the workplace become the biggest thing in their lives. If the ultimate goal is lasting love – and let’s face it: for most people it is – women are going to have to become comfortable with sacrifice and capitulation. …
Surrendering to your femininity means many things. It means letting your man be the man despite the fact that you’ve proven you’re his equal. It means recognizing the fact that you may very well want to stay home with your babies – and that that’s normal. Surrendering to your femininity means if you do work outside the home, you don’t use your work to play tit for tat in your marriage. It means tapping into that part of yourself that’s genuinely vulnerable and really does need a man – even though the culture says you don’t.
In other words, put down your sword. It’s okay if your guy’s in charge. It’s okay if you don’t drive the car. In fact, it’s rather liberating.
These 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. Moreover, the reason that many women are unhappy with their worklives is more about institutionalized sexism than some innate need to be cared for by a strong man.
Venker’s justification for unequal gender roles, “men and women are different,” literally harkens back a hundred years: one of the main arguments advanced against women’s suffrage was that it “wasn’t natural” for women to participate in public life outside of the home. And though Venker says with no sense of irony that she believes women are “equal, but different,” views like hers are strongly associated with excusing domestic violence and gender discrimination.
Fox News has a storied history of using its megaphone to broadcast sexism. Host Brian Kilmeade has said on-air that “Women are everywhere. We’re letting them play golf and tennis now. It’s out of control” and that the network hires female anchors by going “into the Victoria’s Secret catalogue and [saying], ‘Can any of these people talk?’”
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