More Undead Sexist Cliches than you can shake a stick at!

Suzanne Venker, a career woman who thinks other women should stay home and make babies, is once again recycling a boatload of undead sexist cliches. Which makes it kind of amusing she opens her piece by stating “It’s time to say what no one else will” which is that feminism sucks.
This is a popular cliche in itself: Feminists have repressed the media so that nobody dares speak truth to power (much the same way that they castrated TV shows). As witness that Venker has to post on Fox News an obscure website that nobody ever heard of—oh. Wait. And Caitlin Flanagan, a professional woman who employs a household staff and a nanny can only get her sexist op-eds (which explain that women should never let a household staff or a nanny take over Mom’s duty to the family) published in the New York Times. Yeah, that’s some oppressive power.
Venker continues “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…. 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.”
It is difficult to sum up this argument concisely—no, actually it’s easy. Venker’s spouting bullshit. A fairly old bullshit I remember from childhood as stock props of sexism: Yes, men may have all the money, all the jobs and all the power but women are just as important. And women aren’t shackled or oppressed, why they’re on a pedestal! Men stand up when they enter the room! Women really have all the power.
I give Venker extra points for the weaselly phrasing. She’s not actually saying herself that women were better off 70 years ago when it was legal to fire someone based on gender, let alone 200 years ago when a woman’s property automatically became her husband’s when she married. Gosh no, she’s just mentioning that lots of people (I presume she’s not naming them because she’d end up with a list of right-wing pundits) do think that.
And as Echidne points out at the second link in this post, the idea of chivalrous men back in Ye Ancient Days is a myth. Chivalry didn’t stop men raping women, beating women, murdering women. As several feminists pointed out after the Titanic went down (Venker references that as well), the men who gave up their lives for women on the boat had no problem treating them like dirt in sweatshops.
I will agree with her that feminism hasn’t accomplished equality yet, but that has more to do with the endless right-wing pushback against it, and the fact women have had such a long way to go (and still do).
The rest of Venker’s piece (I don’t link to it directly, but you can click through) is a standard regurgitation of more clips about women (other than Venker) are miserable when they don’t fit traditional roles and men won’t commit if they get the milk free.
As for “men and women have no idea who’s supposed to do what,” astonishingly most people are capable of dealing with that as individuals. They don’t need a gender essentialist checklist (“I’m a woman, guess I’d better make dinner.”). It may get awkward if we don’t have neat little square holes to fit into without thinking, but you know what? It’s a lot nicer for everyone who’s a round peg.

3 Comments

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

3 responses to “More Undead Sexist Cliches than you can shake a stick at!

  1. Pingback: Should chivalry be dead? | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: More links for Sunday | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: Undead Sexist Cliche: Antifeminist women are special snowflakes | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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