How to write a trend piece on gender relations for Fox News

young man and woman

Illustrate your article with a stock image of a couple of annoyed young white people.

Suzanne Venker, niece of Phyllis Schlafly and one of my personal favorite anti-feminists, shows us how it’s done…

1) Give your article a “provocative” headline. “The war on men” should do the trick.

2) Pretend all gay, lesbian, and trans people do not exist.

3) Cherry-pick a single statistic that supports your argument. For example, point to a poll released recently last spring that found that the share of young women who say having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their lives rose from 28 to 37 percent since 1997, while among young men it dropped from 35 to 29 percent. Ignore all other recent studies that show that men are just as eager as women to fall in love, settle down, and have a family–if not more so. Instead, based on your interviews with “hundreds, if not thousands” of people, conclude that men are “retreating from marriage en masse.”

4) Talk about “good men” and “marriageable men” as if these are concepts that mean anything. Ignore the fact that the institution of marriage has evolved (gasp!) from being a social and economic necessity to a voluntary relationship based on love that seems increasingly obsolete to many people of both genders.

5) Pretend feminism is just about blaming men for everything. Accuse feminists of “browbeating the American male,” of blaming men “when love goes awry,” of raising women to “think of men as the enemy,” and pushing both men and women off their respective “pedestals.” Do not acknowledge that sexism exists. Note that women make up a majority of the workforce, but do not mention the pay gap. Say that “women are angry.” Hope nobody wonders if they might have some good reasons to be.

6) Make sweeping essentialist generalizations about men’s and women’s “natures.” Write lines like, “Women aren’t women anymore.” Vaguely allude to some evolutionary psychology bullshit to justify doing so. “Men want to love women, not compete with them. They want to provide for and protect their families – it’s in their DNA.” Act like this is real science.

7) Pretend that it’s even possible for most women to “let” men provide for them. To do so, ignore a lot of historical and economic facts. Do not acknowledge that–even before feminism was invented in the 1970s–many women have always worked out of financial necessity. Make references to “picking up the slack at the office” and “a balanced life” to gloss over the fact that you are calling for families to rely on a single salary when the minimum wage in this country isn’t even enough to make rent. Keep pretending this isn’t a joke.

8) Throw in some hand-wringing about hookup culture and cohabitation for good measure. You have plenty of examples to guide you on this part. Most importantly, remember to assume that women do not like sex at all and that marriage magically turns men from “slackers” into responsible adults. Write lines like, “Feminism serves men very well: they can have sex at hello and even live with their girlfriends with no responsibilities whatsoever.”

9) Tell women to “surrender” to traditional gender roles for their own good. Remind them that they can’t have it all and urge them to stop trying. “All they have to do is surrender to their nature – their femininity – and let men surrender to theirs.” Ignore the fact that the very same poll you cited at the beginning of your piece found that—in another significant shift since 1997–66 percent of young women now rate career high on their list of life priorities, compared to 59 percent of young men. Maintain that women can get what they really want only by giving up on what they think they want.

10) Find some way to justify to yourself the hypocrisy of being a woman who makes a living telling other women not to work.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan.com, TheAtlantic.com, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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