Everyone’s favorite purveyor of womanly advice, Suzanne Venker, is at it again! We’ve all heard her thoughts on same-sex marriage, and the “war on men,” and now she’s on a mission to set us man-hating, independence spouting, hairy, old-maid feminists straight when it comes to marriage. Silly feminists, don’t you know that you need a husband? Yes, even you, lesbians. Especially you.
In her latest thought-provoking (or at least it provokes something) piece for
Faux Fox News, Venker made the totally-unique-and-not-regurgitated point that women who think they don’t need to depend on a man are WRONG. According to Venker:
“Over the past several decades, America has witnessed a profound change in the way women view men and marriage. It began with the baby boomer adage “never depend on a man.”
This message resulted in a generation of women who turned their attention away from the home and onto the workforce. They did what their mothers told them to do: they became financially independent so they’d never have to rely on a husband.”
Ohh! So that’s why you never see married women anymore. Oh wait.
Then she charmed us with this gem:
“Fortunately, most women come to the realization that they do, in fact, need a man—at least if they want a family.”
Ah. So I guess all those gays and lesbians with husbands/wives and kids are just fooling themselves. Not to mention single moms, widows and widowers, etc. Venker then sites a small part of a much broader PEW study, which says:
“Dads are much more likely than moms to say they want to work full time. And when it comes to what they value most in a job, working fathers place more importance on having a high-paying job, while working mothers are more concerned with having a flexible schedule.”
Yes, the PEW study does say this. But what Venker doesn’t mention is that in the very next paragraph of that same study it says:
“However, mothers’ attitudes toward work have changed considerably in recent years. Among mothers with children under age 18, the share saying they would prefer to work full time has increased from 20% in 2007 to 32% in 2012.”
But who cares about facts when you have cognitive dissonance to placate, amirite? Another aspect that Venker either doesn’t realize (or purposely forgets) is that many women end up working part-time not because they want to, but because they have to. Whether it’s due to societal pressure, a traditional upbringing, separation or something else, men often take less of a role in maintaining a home or caring for children. Even the aforementioned PEW study touched on the subject:
“Roughly 60% of two-parent households with children under age 18 have two working parents. In those households, on average, fathers spend more time than mothers in paid work, while mothers spend more time on childcare and household chores. “
Saying that women prefer part time work is disingenuous. Instead of working the double shift of a full day at work and then a full shift at home, many women are forced to opt out of full time work, or even the workforce altogether if childcare costs are too high. This isn’t choice.
According to Venker, women simply cannot work full time and be good mothers and wives:
“So why not let husbands bring home the bulk of the bacon so women can have the balanced lives they seek? There’s no way to be a wife, a mother and a full-time employee and still create balance. But you can have balance by depending on a husband who works full-time and year-round.
I know what you’re going to say. Where are these husbands on whom women can depend? And you’re right: there are fewer men these days who seem eager to be primary breadwinners.
But ask yourself why, and I bet you know the answer.”
GAG. The emphasis was mine, but you get the point. Don’t get me wrong. I think people should do what works for them. I’m married myself, and my husband and I lean on each other all the time, in much the same way that Venker describes. The difference is, that support was not the end goal of getting married. I didn’t simply choose the most financially stable guy I met so I could have a nice house and lots of babies (as Venker seems to think all women should and do want). No. My husband and I built a home and family that works for us. As equal partners.