A year ago Suzanne Venker famously asked: Marriage: What’s in It for Men?
…we must retract the message Boomers sent young women about female empowerment. Indeed, it isn’t a coincidence that marriage rates have plummeted alongside America’s fascination with the feminist movement. Empowerment for women, as defined by feminists, neither liberates women nor brings couples together. It separates them. It focuses on women as perpetual victims of the Big Bad Male. Why would any man want to get married when he’s been branded a sexist pig at “hello”? In the span of just a few decades, women have managed to demote men from respected providers and protectors to being unnecessary, irrelevant, and downright expendable.
She was close to the core of the issue then, but was missing the key point of leadership. Telling the man he is responsible for financing and protecting the family but not leading it places him in a subordinate role. As others have pointed out, the difference between a driver and a chauffeur is who is calling the shots. Far too many self labeled “traditionalist” women want to put men in the driver’s seat as figureheads with the wives calling the shots; they are feminists who don’t want to get their hands dirty. The issue of headship is the litmus test which separates out truly traditional women and feminists in traditionalist clothing.
Just this week Ms. Venker launched what has become a celebrated broadside against the results of feminism with her Fox News opinion piece The war on men. The signature line of the piece is by now familiar to most readers:
Believe it or not, modern women want to get married. Trouble is, men don’t.
In the meantime Ms. Venker spoke with the Daily Beast to correct the record: ‘The War on Men’ Author Suzanne Venker: I’m Misunderstood! Venker explains (emphasis mine):
Women should understand that they absolutely can be strong and independent and be married, but that being feminine and vulnerable and taking on that more traditional role as being dependent on a man and letting him have some say in the matter is not wasting that empowerment. They are confusing what empowerment means. They think it’s about money and prestige, but there is a tremendous amount of empowerment in surrendering in the home and letting the man in your life be what he wants to be, which is to protect you and care for you and provide for you.
One might read that as suggesting that men are made to be servants to women, and women need to let men act as servants (and perhaps even consider their husband’s input when making decisions). This of course sounds familiar. She reinforces this concept later in the interview:
I work outside the home. My husband does his thing. No one would consider me a docile or obedient housewife… I am married to a guy who works so that I can have a cushy writing life. That is the beauty of marriage.