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 Feministing.com, 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 Feministing.com, student at Yale Law School, and founding co-director of Know Your IX.

Read more about Alexandra

Join the Conversation