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 an editor at, student at Yale Law School, and founding co-director of Know Your IX, a national legal education campaign against campus gender-based violence. Alexandra has written for publications including the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Nation, and she has spoken about violence against women and reproductive justice on MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and NPR. Through Know Your IX, she has organized with students across the country to build campuses free from discrimination and violence, developed federal policy on Title IX enforcement, and has testified at the Senate. At Yale Law, Alexandra focuses on antidiscrimination law and is a member of the Veterans Legal Services Clinic. Alexandra is committed to developing and strengthening responses to gender-based violence outside the criminal justice system through writing, organizing, and the law. Keep an eye out for The Feminist Utopia Project, co-edited by Alexandra and forthcoming from the Feminist Press (2015).

Alexandra Brodsky is an editor at, student at Yale Law School, and founding co-director of Know Your IX.

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  • AJ

    Oh you guys; that is a snarkily bad pause-face in the image accompanying this article. I laughed but let’s keep it a clean fight.

  • Dan

    People with major philosophical differences typically don’t have happy marriages.

    There are significantly more feminist women than feminist men.

    Patriarchal women, or women located in the intermediate portion of the continuum, have little trouble finding a heterosexual partner who is compatible with them on that axis. Feminist women have a much smaller set of potential heterosexual partners compatible with them.

    “I work outside the home. My husband does his thing. No one would consider me a docile or obedient housewife,” she said, adding, “I am married to a guy who works so that I can have a cushy writing life. That is the beauty of marriage.”

    That’s not the kind of statement that I’d expect from a feminist, but it is the kind of statement that I’d expect from a woman who embraced a patriarchal relationship. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    She is wrong, as a matter of fact, about most of her sweeping generalizations. That makes her conclusions based on those generalizations unsound, but not necessarily false in every case.

  • Julie

    There are plenty of men out there who are not threatened by their wife’s success and accomplishments, and who get as much joy and pride from her success as she does. No woman should have to leave her accomplishments at the door in order to keep her marriage intact, because no marital partner worth his salt should expect her to. A marriage is a partnership, not a one-sided fling where Daddy gets all the glory while Mommy should just be happy if Daddy is happy. A true partner is someone who celebrates the highs with you and weathers the lows, whether they be work-related or family, and strives to lift you higher than you’re able to lift yourself. An equal partnership should be a deal-breaker for any self-respecting woman (or man!), because it’s what we all deserve.