Four things women need more than a husband

Suzanne Venker's "pro-marriage" message on Fox News.

Suzanne Venker's "pro-marriage" message on Fox News.

“Financial independence is a great thing, but you can’t take your paycheck to bed with you.”

Thus speaketh Suzanne Venker in a charming apologia for domestic servitude published this week entitled “Why Women Still Need Husbands”. She’s the spokesperson for a US website called “Women for Men”, a social commentator unencumbered by an objective appreciation of reality, and an avowed anti-feminist. Venker holds the kind of convenient “boys don’t make passes at smart girls in glasses” opinions that get you on Fox News in the US

She’s back on TV this week discussing the interview in a clip that’s gone viral, advocating her latest skull-smack-wood brand of advice to American women. Her central message is that if you wish to be happy - drop your career, stop fighting for equality, find a husband and become financially dependent on him, while doing all of his housework and raising his kids. For Venker and Fox, you see, there’s just no girl as happy as an indentured domestic slave girl. I am writing this article so you don’t have to rage-blister your eyeballs by reading hers: Venker’s advocacy of women eschewing careers and financial independence cites benefits like the chance to “make more time for exercise”. I suppose this is because there is no man so unhappy as one paying for a slave girl whose buns are not tight.

Suzanne Venker appears on Fox News to discusse her article.

Suzanne Venker appears on Fox News to discusse her article.

Certainly, Suzanne Venker is posing the right question when she asks how women “can gain more control over their lives”, but her answer to allow one’s hunted-down husband to “bring home the bacon” so he can enjoy “a sense of purpose” while you scrub the skidmarks out of his underpants, stay buff and bang him for spare change is the nonsense of Opportunistic Fox Bananaland.

That so many women feel so disempowered and stressed by competing demands of public and private life is not, of course, an individual issue remedial with the application of one husband, but as a syndrome caused by social factors that have to be addressed collectively. Here are the four things women need far bloody more than any individual husband, boyfriend or man-bot could ever provide.

 

1. Free, Accessible Childcare

Government-provided childcare enables families to make practical and shared choices around parental leave, work commitments and career development as well as socialises children among one another, provides them with early-onset educational benefits, and creates networks for the families of an entire community. Why millions of dollars are being committed to a parental leave scheme that benefits only a handful of women well when it could be directed to childcare and therefore benefit the whole community extremely well is as suspicious as it is impractical. That the heavily female-dominated childcare work industry has just been denied yet another payrise is shameful in its disregard of the benefits that quality childcare provides everyone.

2. Equal Pay

“Unlike women, a man’s identity is inextricably linked to his paycheck. That’s how most men feel a sense of purpose,” writes Venker, for whom size really does matter as she equates a desire for more and more money an “integral part of masculinity”. Perhaps it's Venker’s persistent, dark ages belief that a penis is so “integrally” related to an income which is one of the other great causes of women’s stress – the gender pay gap which in her own home of the United States sees women, despite the law, receiving 23% less income than men for doing the same job. In Australia, it’s up to 32.3% in some industries – and widening.

3. Social Parity

While women remain underrepresented in cultural depictions, positions of leadership and in non-traditional industries, the social status of women remains less than that of men, making women vulnerable to insidious sexism, discrimination and gendered abuse. While women are portayed as objects and not subjects by culture – as “love interest” rewards for masculine heroic achievement in mainstream narratives and cum-canvasses in the overwhelming majority of porn – women are therefore treated as objects, generalized, stereotyped, and socially unconsidered. This leads not just to the stress of being invisible in the workplace, ignored for promotions, burdened with stereotyped expectations like a capacity for “multi-tasking” (aka doing more work for less money). It’s also the financial pressure of keeping up idealized physical appearances as well as fear of the ultimate gender objectification: rape and sexual assault. Suzanne Venker would do well to remember that majority of violent crimes against women are committed by the spouses she encourages us “to lean on”.

 

4. Reproductive Rights

It’s a significant cause of stress for women that their right to determine whether to become mothers or not is a choice that governments around the world are progressively trying to deny them. The demands of motherhood aren’t always chosen and sometimes not shared: gender roles purported by the likes of Suzanne Venker persistently represent parenting as a female role, and therefore culturally enable too many men to eschew equal parenting responsibility without consequence. To deny the right of every child to be wanted and every mother willing by denying women their reproductive agency for ascribing “personhood” to foetuses is fomenting in legislation such as Zoes’ Law in New South Wales and the activism of renegade anti-choice MP Geoff Shaw in Victoria. With a threatened return to the coathanger era of reproduction politics, is it any wonder women are stressed?

 

27 comments

  • Whilst i agree with the premise of the article, being that a woman's only choice should not be domenstic work (and yes this lady sounds like a bit of a nutter), for you to describe a woman who chooses this path as an "indentured domestic slave girl" or "possessed by satan" is so condescending to many women who CHOOSE this path. Feminists feel the need to slap down and bully women who don't choose the same path as them while at the same time calling out anyone who doesnt agree with their choices as a misogynist.

    Do you really think that the task of raising children and running a house can be summarised as "scrub the skidmarks out of his underpants, stay buff and bang him for spare change"? Do you really think that the only reason a woman might exercise is because there is "no man so unhappy as one paying for a slave girl whose buns are not tight"? This is the most misogynistic drivel I have ever heard!!

    And from a feminist on Daily Life! Although i shouldnt be so surprised....

    Although i will be surpirsed is this comment gets published...

    Commenter
    JB88
    Date and time
    December 12, 2013, 9:36AM
    • I don't know how anybody can defend her comments.

      *Waits for Markus of Canberra*

      Commenter
      Ben
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      December 12, 2013, 9:52AM
      • I am 45 years old and have lived quite happily without a husband. A husband is not necessary. Nice for some but not necessary. A husband should be someone you choose because you love the man and want him in your life, not because you desperately need a man (any man) to survive. The sooner women learn that, the sooner we start making wiser choices. .

        Commenter
        LK1
        Date and time
        December 12, 2013, 9:59AM
        • Is this article some sort of parody and I'm simply missing the joke? A woman who decides she wants to stay at home and raise a family is "an indentured domestic slave girl"? I can't believe that in 2013 someone could write something so insulting.

          As for the claim that women in Australia performing the same job as men are paid up to 32% less, and widening, can we have some examples please as well as some sort of explanation why the people responsible aren't being prosecuted

          Commenter
          Sahara
          Location
          Sydney
          Date and time
          December 12, 2013, 10:03AM
          • You are peddling absolute poison to the mind. Have you ever considered the birth of the feminist movement? It was funding by NGOs including the Rockefeller Foundation and Carnegie Foundation. Why? Because the elites could not tax half of the population and with the absence of their mothers, children could be indoctrinated earlier through the state education system. You are not only causing irreversible social damage by being naive or complicit to this social engineering but are totally damaging any genuine push for parity. The family is the basic founding block of society and you're saying forget it, let's go for money. Please pick up a history book.

            Commenter
            Hater
            Location
            Sydney
            Date and time
            December 12, 2013, 10:10AM
            • Women like Suzanne Venker are a national embarrassment. And that's saying something...

              Commenter
              TK
              Date and time
              December 12, 2013, 10:13AM
              • The childcare point is valid - excluding any gender roles, any single parent household, any low-income household, any household in a high-unemployment area would be greatly aided by having local, government supplied/run childcare. There's the teaching sharing to the more-and-more single child kids, the help with multiple languages in areas with don't-speak-english-at-home families gettin gkids ready for school, sport/group games... there are many social benefits.
                but the biggest one:
                What you want, as a government, honestly, is to have as many taxpaying citizens as possible. if running childcare could increase the income of the parents by 20%, and cut th enumber of non-working parents by 50% (in the areas with childcare) I think that it'd be well worth the government's time to consider.

                plenty of people work crappy hours or few days per week or not at all because paying for child care and working means a struggle to get the kids there on time, get yourself to work, still look after the house, leave work when the kids are sick, and maybe end up with less money for food than you had before working because childcare and travel are expensive

                Commenter
                Raida
                Location
                chewing salty razors
                Date and time
                December 12, 2013, 10:23AM
                • Effectively what you're saying is women need big daddy government to look after them because they are incapable of being self reliant. That's incredibly patronising to successful women who are out there paying their own way, earning their own income, living and loving life thanks to their own hardwork and diligence.

                  Commenter
                  Direct
                  Date and time
                  December 12, 2013, 10:36AM
                  • The advice this article comments on obviously comes from a very narrow cultural perspective, women who believe in indulging men with their breadwinning needs probably could not cope with any diversion from white, suburban ideals. They also reflect a very conservative political stance that is offensive to anyone who finds themselves in circumstances like unplanned pregnancy, financial difficulties and high medical expenses. I have watched over my 45 yrs old schoolfriends, family and young women all needing to upend cultural ideals on female behaviour and deal with problems that need more complex understanding than subordinate roles. I am judged on my childless state quite nastily by educated people I thought would be more open and understanding.

                    Commenter
                    LJanes
                    Date and time
                    December 12, 2013, 10:40AM
                    • Women do not need any of the above "more" than a life partner. They need it AS WELL as a partner. It is a fundamental human desire to have love, lovers and partners. Modern feminism has done women no favours - and left many lonely and frustrated - in suggesting this is not the case.

                      Commenter
                      missminute
                      Date and time
                      December 12, 2013, 11:14AM

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