Is There a War on Men? And if There Is, Why Wasn’t I Invited?

The charming folks at Fox News have opened up a Pandora’s box of gender relations with the publication of a piece called – titillatingly – The War on Men. The whole essay reads like the result of an editorial meeting where the Fox powers-that-be sat around dreaming up an ideal opinion column that would draw eager conservative eyes and outraged liberal ones, resulting in a page view bonanza during the iffy news weeks that follow any election.

To put a cherry on top of this made-for-Twitter controversy attempt, they got none other than the niece of Phyllis Schlafy, (the woman who spearheaded the death of the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s) Suzanne Venker, to write it. Venker’s opinions aren’t far from those of her anti-feminist aunt, as you can tell from the titles of her books, How To Choose a Husband and The Flipside of Feminism.

Bring on the clicks and retweets!

Venker’s op-ed is the usual anti-feminist think piece with lots of hand-wringing about how men have been left out in the cold by the feminist revolution and are mad that women don’t want them to follow their biological directive to hunt, gather, and protect a family. As a result, they’re turning their back on marriage, which they can do because of all the sex women are wiling to have without being married. In other words, if women would stop being such castrating bitches and let a man take care of them, everyone would be happier!

Also, women are slutty.

The nation resounded with the sound of feminist foreheads hitting their desks.

For me, one line stood out in the piece. Venker contends that, “Men haven’t changed much – they had no revolution that demanded it – but women have changed dramatically.”  I beg to differ. There was a revolution that demanded that men change. The feminist revolution. And if men today gave it any thought, they’d see that joining forces with feminists would be to their benefit as well.

Women are not waging war against men. Not now. Not today. There have been times when we had to beat the patriarchy down a bit to get them to pay attention to our demands and there are some feminists who have been disdainful of men along the way. However, at this juncture in history, women are using brains, experience, and merit to ascend new summits, not bludgeoning devices designed to beat men down.  We don’t want men to fail. We don’t want men to vanish. We don’t even want men to change who they are. We just want men to recognize that women’s goals are humanity’s goals and to work with us to figure out how to make the modern world work for everyone.

Stated plainly, women are demanding changes so that men can benefit from them, too. The revolution affects everyone.

Ms. Venker contends that the search for balance between career and family that women are seeking is best operationalized by letting men take the wheel and support families while women take the lead on raising them. What she fails to acknowledge is that feminist touchstones like workplace flexibility, equal pay guarantees, family leave, affordable child care, and access to medical care are all things that would be available to men as well as women. These are not sparkly little gifts that women want to keep all to ourselves. We want every single person in America to have the ability to balance work and family so that no individual feels chained to either the workplace or the home front against their will.

Perhaps Venker is correct in saying there are populations of men out there who are dying to return to the Leave It To Beaver days of family dynamics. It’s probable there are equal populations of women who wish to live like that as well and, hopefully they’ll find each other and live happily ever after. But those individuals should not be deterrents to those of us who see the benefits of feminist goals for both genders.

Image via iStockphoto

  • http://injaynesworld.blogspot.com Jayne Martin

    Excellent piece! Glad I saw your tweet. What’s with Fox and all their “wars” anyway? If ever a bunch needed to toke out on some good weed, it’s those folks.

john-legend-and-common-selma
The Incredible Oscar Moment Almost Everyone Missed
749606510_4f7d9c174c
Kim Gordon and I Should Have Drinks And Talk About Men
Jessica Williams, The Daily Show, Imposter Syndrome
Jessica Williams Isn’t Ours to Diagnose
Cindy Crawfor unretouched photos, Cindy Crawfor in Marie Claire, Cindy Crawford husband's Instagram photo,
But What Does Cindy Crawford Think?
john-legend-and-common-selma
The Incredible Oscar Moment Almost Everyone Missed
Jessica Williams, The Daily Show, Imposter Syndrome
Jessica Williams Isn’t Ours to Diagnose
Hillary Clinton thin resume, Hillary Clinton too dangerous, Hillary Clinton not qualified for president
Hillary Clinton is Dangerous and Her Resume is Too “Thin?”
Black History Month, Selma, Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta King
“Selma” Forgot One Important Story: Coretta Scott King’s
Hillary Clinton thin resume, Hillary Clinton too dangerous, Hillary Clinton not qualified for president
Hillary Clinton is Dangerous and Her Resume is Too “Thin?”
hillary_david_axelrod
12 Pieces of Advice for Hillary Clinton That Aren’t From a Man
Phillly paid sick days
Hey, Philadelphia! Guess Who’s Getting Paid Sick Days?!
Presidents' Day, when will a woman be president
Presidents’ Day: Time for a Woman in the White House
alizagraying_edited-1
I Am Not My Gray Hair. My Hair Is Not Me.
1CHRISTMASCARD
Things I Did Instead of Send This Christmas Card
New England weather, severe weather and depression, The Shining
It’s Getting All ‘The Shining’ Up In Here
4717207794_7d91f82bb3_b1
My 18 Year Old Daughter Is In Jail And I’m Second Guessing Every Choice I Made
alizagraying_edited-1
I Am Not My Gray Hair. My Hair Is Not Me.
4717207794_7d91f82bb3_b1
My 18 Year Old Daughter Is In Jail And I’m Second Guessing Every Choice I Made
Alzheimer's, medical care for Alzheimer's patients, end of life care
This Is How You Die
reinvention culture, Oprah and reinvention, More Magazine and reinvention, women stop reinventing yourselves
Reinvention Culture is Killing Me
Vintage_Valentine_02
Cupid’s Weekend Cocktails: It Takes Two
hating valentine's day, valentine's day
Dear Valentine’s Day: I Hate You
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades of Grey: I Have Other Fanatasies

Get our new weekly email
Broadly Speaking

featuring our best words for the week + an exclusive longread