Fox News Hilariously Uses Picture Of Same-Sex Couple To Illustrate Article About Importance Of Maintaining The Heteronormative Quo

shutterstock_51659029Sometimes you wake up on a Sunday morning in a grumpy mood and you see something that makes everything better. Fox News used a photo of the first same-sex couple to ever marry atop the Empire State Building to illustrate the importance of heteronormativity for one of Suzanne Venker‘s uninspired, pathetic rants about how feminism is destroying us all. And for the brief shining moment that they kept it up – all was right with the world.

Gawker was quick on the case and published a screenshot of the of the original article. The image shows Lela McArthur and Stephanie Figarelle sharing a beautiful first kiss as a legal married couple. Fox News has since taken it down, of course. If you waste the two minutes it takes to read the article accompanying it you’ll know why.

The article is titled, “To Be Happy, We Must Admit Women and Men Aren’t Equal.” It’s a follow up to her equally offensive articles, “The War On Men” and “Let’s Call A Truce In the War On Men.” No, I’m not making these titles up. Her basic premise is that we would all be much happier if we decided we didn’t want equal rights and just got the hell back into the kitchen where we belong, damnit! Feminists are basically ruining marriage by deciding they don’t want to stay in unfulfilling unions and driving the divorce rates right through the roof.

Marriage becomes a competitive sport. The complementary nature of marriage—in which two people work together, as equals, toward the same goal but with an appreciation for the qualities each gender brings to the table—has been obliterated. Today, husbands and wives are locked in a battle about whom does more on the home front and how they’re going to get everything done. That’s not a marriage. That’s war.

Right, so women should just stop complaining and be tethered to their homes and husbands like they were in the good old days.

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?

Well, these women are trying “something else on for size” – each other. Is that what you meant, Venker?

I didn’t think so.

(photo: Arcady/ Shutterstock.com)

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    • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

      Oh my god reading that woman’s article is so painful.

      “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.”

      Shhh I can’t handle this kind of stupid.

      • K.

        I thought, “shit” too.

      • http://www.facebook.com/alice.longworth.7 Alice Longworth

        Agree. I mean “equally valuable…prior to the 1970s???” Not only did she clearly not research her article, she couldn’t even be bothered to watch “Man Men.”

      • Amy

        It’s awesome that my parents will marry me off asap, that I’ll have to have children or be considered broken and a failure, that I can’t even consider having the most menial job (unless I’m poor, in which case gender roles and the ‘natural order of things’ can be conveniently waved away) and I certainly can’t vote on important issues.

        That’s all totally awesome, because on the off-chance that I’m in one of the biggest sea disasters ever, my chance of dying is less.

      • Amy

        Not to mention that men were roughly 75% of the ship’s total inhabitants, and they made up 90% of the deaths. That’s really not such a huge discrepancy in my book. People always make it sound like a more even split, when it was nothing of the sort.

        A lot of those percentage points would come from sheer misfortune/good luck, with no thought to chivalry or lack thereof- people being in the wrong part of the ship and getting trapped, people slipping on the deck etc, people drowning in the sea. When you make up the vast majority of a ship’s population, you’re going to make up more of the accidents.

    • http://twitter.com/LauraMiri Laura@Catharsis

      I can’t even bring myself to read that woman’s articles. I like my eyeballs too much to do that to them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/houde.veronique Véronique Houde

      Let me start by saying that I did not read the article. But from what I have read, I do have to agree with at least some of what the article said. I think that right now, men do not have a clear definition of what their role is in the family unit. It is unclear how they should act around women (some women are offended if the man wants to pay all the time, some think it’s an insult. Some love it when the man opens the door, others think he’s implying that they are weak and need saving). SOME women, in modern society, have a tendency of bulldozing over men, by trying to do it all. Lindsay’s article the other day sums it up fairly well. Although women want to be well-rounded and able to do what they please without being confined by gender roles, tend to still see the family home and children as mainly their domain of responsibility. They therefore take control of that aspect too, and then the man basically takes the stance of letting the woman tell them what to do instead of stepping up and taking what he sees as his role in the family. My boyfriend told me just the other day that he feels as though he can’t spontaneously follow his instincts around our girl because he feels as though I’m constantly there watching over his shoulder, telling him how to do things. I didn’t even notice that I do that!! Yet, I do. And on top of this, I earn more money than him at my job. So he does in some sense, feel emasculated. Now before you say “he should suck it up”, remember how we women react when people try to push us down and sound sexist. We get pretty upset, no? I think men have the right to feel a bit lost in this generation without us saying “boohoo” when we ourselves have visceral reactions.

      Now I know that there are still women out there being treated with sexism. I know that there are still reasons why feminism is valid and important. Yet, just like a pendulum, it is natural that while it started WAAAAY on one end of the spectrum, we are now in the opposite end of the spectrum while the pendulum adjusts to the middle. And I think that this is what the author was TRYING to say. That in our quest to be equal, we have had something to prove to men and take everything under control.

      • K.

        Let me illustrate the problems of what you are saying by exchanging feminism for Civil Rights and putting this in the context of the workplace, with some light flourishes to maintain the grammar:

        “I know that there are still black people out there being treated with racism. I know that there are still reasons why civil rights are valid and important, but I think that right now, white people do not have a clear definition of what
        their role is in the workplace if they have a black superior. It is unclear how they should act around their black bosses…So my white employees do, in some sense, feel emasculated. Now before you say ‘they should suck it up,’ remember how black people react when people try to push them down and sound racist. They get pretty upset, no? I think white people have the right to feel a bit lost in this generation without us saying ‘boohoo’ when black people are allowed to have visceral reactions [to racism].”

        Before you say dumb things like this, maybe you should read the article. And then maybe you should read up on feminism. But I’m feeling charitable, so I’ll provide some highlights:

        Feminism is the belief that one’s rights, aspirations, and opportunities should not be restricted by their gender. It condemns sexism and patriarchy, but it’s focus is on eradicating cultural policies that are premised on sexism and patriarchy and promoting cultural practices and policies that are premised on equal rights and opportunities.

        Under this premise, feminism would argue that the supposed emasculation of men should not be a concern INSOFAR AS to advocating and maintaining policies that protect gender equality (and frankly, feminism might argue that if one feels threatened by gender equality, then it’s because one is probably benefiting from patriarchy).

        And why is preservation of masculinity something that falls under women’s responsibility anyway? If YOUR boyfriend has an issue with the way the roles are defined in YOUR household, then deal with it. But don’t blame feminism and its role in making sure you could have a career, vote, get an education, have a legal claim to your property, your children, and your body, and other basic human rights. Feminism is what allowed you to have those choices–it doesn’t dictate how you or anyone else reacts to them.

      • Katia

        Gosh. The thing is that a relationship between man and woman is not the same as tje relationship between caucasian people and people of African descent.
        Hetero sexual men and women want to have romantic marriages. This involves intimacy,respect,trust,sharing,friendship so many things. The woman usually has the role of carrying and birthing a child. So right away, we know things are not equal. Each time a black and a white person work together, there will not be a definite role for one of them to make some sacrifice/ have a sacred right like birthing. Man to woman does not equal white to black.
        You’re pulling the racism card. Treatment of blacks was horrific. Let’s not pull that into a discussion about gender equality and marriage happiness. I hope you realize that black people were actually banned from doing many things, in contrast to women or men feeling pressured or judged or disapponted in regards to gender roles. (haven’t read the article yet )

      • Tinyfaeri

        Yes, because women were never considered property or treated unfairly, and have always been able to do things like vote, run for office and own their own property. Women have never been banned from doing anything. Even now we always make the same as men for doing the same job and there is the same amount of legislation trying to be passed to make medical decisions that apply exclusively to men as there is for women. Only, you know, not.
        We were once considered property (to listen to some these days, we still are), we have been able to vote for less than 100 years, we were previously not allowed to run for office, for centuries we were not allowed to own property, we do not make the same as a man doing a comparable job, and there are oodles of pieces of legislation popping up all over the place the last few years trying to tell us what we can and cannot do with our own bodies. No, man to woman does not equal black to white, but it’s not as far off as you’d make it sound.

      • K.

        Well, first of all, don’t attempt to school me on racism or sexism, especially if you apparently have little understanding of the cultural heritage of black Americans (the phrase “people of African descent” is inaccurate unless you are only talking about those who can trace their roots back to Africa (and I am guessing you are also assuming sub-Saharan Africa), when in fact, blacks have a diverse heritage that includes the the Middle East, the Caribbean, Central and South America), and if you also can’t spell “heterosexual.”

        Second: when you say, “I hope you realize black people were actually banned from doing many things in contrast to women or men feeling pressured or judged blah blah blah” is the phrase “I hope you realize” suggesting that I have no knowledge of slavery, Jim Crow, or racism? And then the following phrase, “in contrast to…” is that you bearing your ignorance that women WERE “actually banned from doing many things”? Or…both? I mean, the syntax is poor so I’m having some difficulty here, but your (unearned) condescension followed immediately by an ignorant statement amuses me. But to respond to your points, in regards to your implication that black people were “actually banned from doing many things” and women weren’t, you might want to look up the 19th Amendment to solve that deficit in your knowledge-base. Voting, by the way, was only one among many things that women were once banned from doing. And while there has never been an explicit law in the US that states “women are the property of men” or “women are the property of their husbands,” there were many laws and legal exemptions that are premised on the assumption that women are property–for example, up until the 1970s/80s it was legal in most states to rape one’s own wife.

        You appear to have mistaken what I wrote above as making a comparison between the historical treatment of blacks versus the historical treatment of women. Just to be clear, I was not actually suggesting an equivalency between the experiences of two oppressed groups (I’m not sure anyone serious would do that anyway). I AM suggesting that the Civil Rights movement and women’s rights are equally important. I also don’t think that it’s inappropriate to make a comparison between “Veronique’s” (and Venker’s, by extension–which by the way–did YOU read her article?) indictment of feminism as the cause of her boyfriend’s personal anxieties regarding changing gender roles and the indictment of the Civil Rights movement as the cause of social anxieties regarding changing race relations. The Civil Rights movement and feminism both fought for equality, on racial and gender lines and one of the things that both movements had to contend with–and still have to contend with–are bullshit arguments like “Veronique’s,” which, in a nutshell, amount to blaming legitimate progressive social movements that fought for necessary (and overdue) rights and freedoms to disenfranchised groups in the name of equality for the fact that it causes someone else to feel uncomfortable. “Gender equality,” like “racial equality” means that men and women should have the same rights and opportunities. If you truly believe in that, you don’t believe in gender “roles”–there wouldn’t be any if everyone had equal rights to self-determinism.

        Cultural anxieties, or “disappointment regarding roles” to paraphrase you, were often cited as a reason to curtail Civil Rights and to perpetuate slavery. Such arguments suggested the abolition of slavery would “upset the natural order of things”–ie, the supposed ‘natural’ superiority of white men over black men (tellingly, women never even entered into the verbiage back in the 19th century). The problem is that obviously, the “natural order of things” was really racism, naturalized. And, as feminism argues and as Venker (erroneously, in my view) disputes, the idea of “natural gender roles” is really sexism, naturalized. This is also why, as the feminist wisdom goes, “Those who are most threatened by feminism are usually those who have invested in patriarchy.”

        So yes, I do hear some equivalency between the racist language of “natural differences between black and whites” and the assumption that gender roles are somehow “natural”–which you are perpetuating by conflating our ability to give birth with “a definite role . . . to make some sacrifice”…Although, to be fair, I’m not quite clear on what you are actually saying there because the sentence structure is muddy, so I’ll use Venker’s words: Venker uses the phrase “men and women are equal, but different” which is a variation of “separate but equal.” Look up Plessy v. Ferguson for more on that.

      • Katia

        1. Thanks for your response.
        2. Sorry for any spelling issues or clumsy sentences. I’m using my iPhone and I don’t bother correcting anything really.Sorry but I’m not going to sit down at my computer to make my argument look perfect for you in this comment section . I mean look at the standards of the “writers” of this site for grammar, writing, and logical arguments. (I strongly disagree with you but your writing and focus puts them to shame)
        3.i grew up in and went to Uni in Vancouver in Canada. My mom is american and was ther e in the 60s & 70s and i think has a lot of sadness about segregation . Anyways I have no idea how my american mom would refer to black people I honestly think she must think its rude to say black people because back when she left
        . There are very few black people here (for a large north american city, we are probaly the least black) and I didn’t mean to use an awkward term for black people. I should have just said black people.
        4.I’m not saying that I know a lot about segregation or American history in general. My point is that there WAS an issue with actual discrimatory laws re: black people and there ARE NOT CURRENTLY any such laws or suggested laws re: women. So your little word replacing argument is still completely ridiculous. I’m not surprised you want to back track from it nd say that no one actually thought you were serious.
        Also no one has taken away any rights for black people and noone is suggesting to take away the right to vote. The article is about domestic / romantic relationships .
        5. I read the article and it’s fine I don’t disagree with anything she said. It’s just a theory she’s putting out. Look how nasty our society has become these days. I’m not saying that we should revert to any past era’s values but things are not ideal now and we should never stop analyzing or trying to improve our society. Come on. Do you think I ts ideal for women to decide to have kids on their own with donor sperm ? Is that what women want.??do most women want divorce or infidelity? Things are getting further and further from our previous traditional values and it’s frightening becuse we don’t know where it’s going . It’s always good to revaluate.it’s a good thing- to point out trends and speculate. Unless you are a lesbian or hit the jackpot and have a perfect husband you’ll have to deal with a man… And if you want to stay together for life insisting that he share every role with you exactly
        Half half might not help your case.just remember he’s a man. Do you want him to do the dishes or be your man?
        (sorry I’m not proof reading this comment)

      • SusannahJoy

        How about everyone just talk about what you want your role to be, and what he wants his role to be, and we all just figure out what works for us? Some women are offended if a man offers to pay for everything? That’s fine, but then the man who wants to pay for everything should probably date someone else, and that woman should find someone else too. We’re not all going to get along, we’re not all going to share the same values, and so what? Why on earth do we need everyone to agree that there’s only one way to live? It’s ridiculous! I thought that Fox using that picture is absolutely hilarious though!

      • bumbler

        I find your comment alarmingly logical, haha. Good work.

      • StephKay

        If men are suddenly unable to figure out their role in the world when confronted with an equal woman, how the hell have they been surviving among other men over the course of human history? Do all same sex couples burst into tears of confusion at the end of every meal, shouting “if only we weren’t equal, we would know who’s supposed to pick up the tab!”? Frankly I think that’s incredibly insulting to men. I have enough faith to believe men aren’t totally lost without dominance. How about adults discuss division of labor like adults, taking things like interest and skill into account? Is that really so challenging? And god forbid a man feel emasculated, that might imply femininity which is clearly the worst possible trait a man can possess.

        A healthy relationship involves trust in your partner. Neither party should be controlling, looking over shoulders, assigning tasks. That has less than nothing to do with sex or gender. On what planet does an equal partnership force men into a submissive role? I SO can’t wrap my mind around this, I feel like I must be misreading something. It just doesn’t make a shred of sense to me.

      • Daisy

        Veronique, your argument hinges on the assumption that there are problems in this hypothetical relationship because of gender roles. You could just as easily say Person A isn’t sure how to act around Person B or feels uncomfortable about some things in their relationship, so those two people need to sit down and have a chat about how to solve this problem to make them both feel more secure in their relationship? One person telling the other what to do, or one person bulldozing over the other by trying to do it all, or one person being unclear what their responsbilities are–none of those things are dependent on gender. Those things can happen to men or women, and they’re just two people who need to work out that specific issue.

      • jsterling93

        No what the author was saying and has been saying for a long time is that women need to coddle men and go back to having no voice because it isn’t fair to the men. Well screw it. If your partner can’t figure out his role in your relationship that is a problem between the two of you not caused by women wanting to be equal. It is time you and he sit down and have a chat.

        My husband and I are equal partners. We have decided exactly which duties we are each responsible for. Some are traditional gender roles and some are not. I do the majority of the cooking but he does the floors. I do our budget and he watched our child while I study for my Ph.D. He earns more money but I am the one who plans our future.

    • Tea

      No, Bad Fox! What a trainwreck… and being queer doesn’t save you from having hetero gender roles placed on your marriage. People will still try to make your marriage hetero-normative even if it is same sex. There really is no escaping it. Someone is always projecting on you which one is the “wife” or “husband” in things day to day and in the bedroom. People have just as much trouble grasping the idea of an equal partnership in a relationship between two sexes.

      One of you has to be the “wife” the feminine one who cooks, cleans, has a cute car, and is camp/femme. One of you is the “husband” with the “real job”, the manly vehicle, the butch demeanor. One of you is always the “gay” one and the other is the “normal” one. You can’t win, they’ll still be sticking gender roles on your arrangement.

      It’s all damned annoying to be honest, no matter where you are, unless you’re a straight male who wants a 1960s relationship. I actually enjoy the equal footing setting immensely, and my spouse and I have both been in relationships with women and have been uncomfortable with what society says we should have been doing as the “man” of the arrangement.

      What’s important is that all of the needs of the household are met, in one way or another. I cook and clean because I work from home and don’t have a commute. I also handle in-home repairs for the same reason. My spouse’s job has a long commute, but he handles the outside errands and the shopping because it’s on the way. We both make it work just based on our lifestyles.

      Besides, In a healthy relationship, it shouldn’t be a battle. We’re never one-upping each other or keeping score. Keeping score can happen in any relationship and is usually a sign of discontent and an indicator that you need to have a good honest talk. It may mean the weight is uneven, it might be that someone is upset with how X is being handled, it may just mean someone is over-stressed and needs a break or breather. It won’t be solved by going back to traditional roles or forcing yourself to be happy with what you have, and it’s certainly not feminism’s fault.

      • StephKay

        Truth! I’m a fairly femme pansexual and painfully conscious of the fact that I haven’t been A woman, but THE woman in all my relationships regardless of the sex of my partner. The gay community still has a big issue with misogyny, both imposed upon and within the community itself. Feminine often equates to ‘less than’, after all the effeminate ‘twink’ men are the real freaks, gay men who can “pass” are practically normal human beings! It’s a sick inside joke that an overly feminine woman isnt ‘really gay’ and is just experimenting, bound to break the hearts of all the ‘real lesbians’ in her wake. Don’t even get me started on what trans women go through. The stigmatization of femininity is certainly not a straight only issue, and heterosexist gender roles are always imposed on any couple. Sigh, wouldn’t it be great if we could all just embrace gender as the spectrum it is and allow couples to share whatever division of interests and gender roles they see fit?

      • Katia

        That’s interesting ! I enjoye reading your comment

    • LAwcat

      Can you all write your own headlines without borrowing heavily from Gawker? Changing 3 words isn’t all that creative.

    • TheHappyPappy

      OK, I tried posting this on Gawker in response to some moron saying the fact that one of the women in the picture was dressed in masculine clothes proves that all gay people really want to be in heterosexual relationships. Unfortunately Google wouldn’t let me log in. So I’m posting it here, because I think it needs to be said.

      I’m a heterosexual woman and I have short hair and wear masculine clothes. I don’t wear makeup, don’t style my hair (I buzz cut it) and only wear skirts or dresses in the summer (for comfort). I’m often mistaken for a man, which doesn’t bother me. I was raised by a single mother who was raised by her father. He dressed her in boys clothes because his wife had left him and the boys’ clothes were cheaper, lasted longer and could be passed on to her younger brother. She continued this tradition with me.

      So it’s quite possible to identify as a woman and still have no interest in appearing traditionally “feminine”. It may have nothing to do with orientation (I drool over Norman Reedus or Chris Hemsworth as much as the next straight/bi gal) but more to do with how you were raised, or your understanding of comfort.

      I think the only person in denial is you and the people agreeing with you. Gender and sexuality are not as binary as your circumscribed minds seem to think.

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