Suzanne Venker responds to criticism of “The war on men”

We all owe Suzanne Venker a big apology. When Feministing criticized her Fox News piece “The war on men,” we thought she was saying that women shouldn’t compete with men. In fact, as she clarified to the Daily Beast, what she really meant to say was the wives shouldn’t compete with husbands. It was all just a simple wording mistake!

According to the Daily Beast interview, Venker believes women can have high-powered jobs, but we have to leave our ambitions and accomplishments in the workplace. “You need to keep those separate,” she said. “Otherwise it will make your marriage more of a competition than a complementary relationship.” No mention is made of whether men “keeping those separate” or not working might lessen the competitive atmosphere. Or, you know, of all the happy partnerships between two successful, working people.

My favorite part of the article is when Venker criticizes those damn women’s libbers for our supposed intolerance of difference while dishing out some sweeping generalizations of her own:

Women, once they have children would prefer to work part-time or not at all when their children are young. Their career trajectory will be different than that of men. Feminists don’t like that. They want everybody to want the same thing, career trajectories to be the same… And there is nothing wrong with having different road maps.

So, if I understand Venker correctly, we have to respect that people desire different lifestyles—but only between genders, and never within them? Venker can say that all women want to cut down on work after having children and all men want the same thing in relationships (“to protect you and care for you and provide for you”)…but feminists are the ones that don’t respect “different road maps”? Three cheers for American conservatives’ devotion to individuality!

New Haven, CT

Alexandra Brodsky is a senior editor at Feministing.com and student at Yale Law School. Alexandra also serves as the Board Chair of Know Your IX, a national student-led movement to end gender violence, which she co-founded and previously co-directed. Alexandra has written for publications including the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Nation, and she is the co-editor of The Feminist Utopia Project: 57 Visions of a Wildly Better Future. She has spoken about violence against women and reproductive justice at campuses across the country and on MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and NPR. At Yale Law, Alexandra studies antidiscrimination law and is a member of the Veterans Legal Services Clinic. After graduation, she will represent girls facing discriminatory suspensions and expulsions as a Skadden Fellow at the National Women's Law Center. Most importantly, Alexandra is the mommy to Margot, a tiny pomchi rescue from North Carolina

Alexandra Brodsky is a senior editor at Feministing.com and student at Yale Law School.

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