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Fox News Op-Ed Says Women’s Nature is to be Dominated By Men

Zack Beauchamp
Think Progress / News Report
Published: Friday 7 December 2012
The author believes the crudest of crude gender stereotypes are built into male and female brains, arguing that women “like to gather and nest and take care of people” while men “are hunters: they like to build things and kill things.”
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Fox News has published another sexist op-ed by Suzanne Venker, the author who became infamous for attacking a fictional “War on Men.” In the follow up piece, Venker argues that women are naturally men’s inferiors.

The author believes the crudest of crude gender stereotypes are built into male and female brains, arguing that women “like to gather and nest and take care of people” while men “are hunters: they like to build things and kill things.” As a consequence, she maintains a man’s place is in the office; “his” woman should simply “surrender” to his rule:

[W]omen shouldn’t let their success in the workplace become the biggest thing in their lives. If the ultimate goal is lasting love – and let’s face it: for most people it is – women are going to have to become comfortable with sacrifice and capitulation. …

Surrendering to your femininity means many things. It means letting your man be the man despite the fact that you’ve proven you’re his equal. It means recognizing the fact that you may very well want to stay home with your babies – and that that’s normal. Surrendering to your femininity means if you do work outside the home, you don’t use your work to play tit for tat in your marriage. It means tapping into that part of yourself that’s genuinely vulnerable and really does need a man – even though the culture says you don’t.

In other words, put down your sword. It’s okay if your guy’s in charge. It’s okay if you don’t drive the car. In fact, it’s rather liberating.

These views are not supported by modern neuroscience, which finds that brain differences between men and women are hard to pinpoint and often a result of social pressures rather than biology. Moreover, the reason that many women are unhappy with their worklives is more about institutionalized sexism than some innate need to be cared for by a strong man.

Venker’s justification for unequal gender roles, “men and women are different,” literally harkens back a hundred years: one of the main arguments advanced against women’s suffrage was that it “wasn’t natural” for women to participate in public life outside of the home. And though Venker says with no sense of irony that she believes women are “equal, but different,” views like hers are strongly associated with excusing domestic violence and gender discrimination.

Fox News has a storied history of using its megaphone to broadcast sexism. Host Brian Kilmeade has said on-air that “Women are everywhere. We’re letting them play golf and tennis now. It’s out of control” and that the network hires female anchors by going “into the Victoria’s Secret catalogue and [saying], ‘Can any of these people talk?’”

ABOUT Zack Beauchamp

ZACK BEAUCHAMP is a Reporter/Blogger for He previously contributed to Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish at Newsweek/Daily Beast, and has also written for Foreign Policy and Tablet magazines. Zack holds B.A.s in Philosophy and Political Science from Brown University and an M.Sc in International Relations from the London School of Economics. He grew up in Washington, DC.

This is just more right-wing

This is just more right-wing conservative Republican sponsored Fox News promoted voodoo science. What are this woman's academic credentials to back up her opinions which she has written about here? Like all human beings some women are assertive and agressive, while others are passive, its the same with men. We are all unique and wired differently.

It is unfortunate to read

It is unfortunate to read some of the posts here from men, who, I assume, lean to the left, although I could be wrong, agree with Venker. These are men who are insecure and immature, who are unwilling to evolve and adapt to social changes that are occurring and resent being pulled from their comfort zone of being the "favored child" for the past 10,000 yrs. Not just here, but on a lot of threads men will pipe up in favor of Venker, or anyone who bashes those mean emasculating feminazis - how successful women are not attractive, how they're all ball busters and they're the cause of the decline in marriage - even though the decline has been attributed more to the economy. I don't know if these guys are in the minority or not but while more women are entering the workforce than ever before, so too are more men taking on the challenges of running a household. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2010, 32% of fathers with a partner in the workforce took care of their children at least once per week, which is up from 26% in 2002, and of the fathers with children under the age of five, 20% were the primary caretaker. I’d say men have changed their roles pretty significantly in recent years even though women do far more of the domestic chores than men do. These guys really need to do some catching up because when they do marry, I pity their daughters.

I went to Venker's site and

I went to Venker's site and read some of her articles. She makes my brain hurt. All I can say is, Suzanne, you are not helping. It's rare that I read articles that are so offensive that I don't even know where to begin tearing it apart. Her articles and commentary are filled with insulting and misogynistic diatribes that claim if only women knew their role as subservient, second-class citizens, we'd have more well-behaved, respectful men wanting to get married.

Not only is Venker not helping the misogyny that exists on this planet, she is also delusional. In fact, her argument reeks of the same despicable attitude used to demonize battered women: "My uncontrollable anger was her fault. She made me hit her. She deserved it"

Venker's conclusion could be my favorite part. Lucky for women, there's a solution to this pesky gender war dilemma. If only women would give in to their femininity and let men be men, then everyone would win.

Marriage isn't mandatory, and if a man doesn't want to get married, he shouldn't. As an adult, he's responsible for his own choices and the consequences of those decisions. The same goes for women. But when Venker says she's uncovered a trend amongst men that they are refusing to marry because they can't find a stereotype who recognizes that her needs and desires are less important than his and then defends that Neanderthal perspective by blaming women for wanting more out of life, she actually has exposed nothing more than her own ignorance.

I'd be surprised if it was a woman with decision-making power at Fox who OK'ed this absurd opinion piece. But if a woman did approve this, then why doesn't she step aside and hand her job over to one of those poor, discouraged men who wants to be a self-starter and support a family but just can't because he's emasculated by her mere presence in the workforce? Let her surrender to her traditional gender role and magically unearth one more marriageable man.

It's in the nature of men who

It's in the nature of men who feel inadequate to try and dominate women.

well, I guess we just found

well, I guess we just found DeMints replacement!!

They have not met the women

They have not met the women from my family....Women are not a manufactured commodity stamped submissive from birth. Go back to your caves and do not come out until you evolve....

Rory Larson's comment is

Rory Larson's comment is spot-on. In fact, Lise Eliot, the author of the Scientific American article writes: "Yes, men and women are psychologically different and yes, neuroscientists are finding differences in brain anatomy and physiology" which is pretty much the opposite of author Zack (male?!?) Beauchamp's assertion that brain differences are "hard to pinpoint". And, of course, the tone of the article is hostile. Apparently, women are free to think and say whatever they wish provided they do not deviate from strict feminist orthodoxy.

I think this article is

I think this article is excessively hostile, to the point of being dishonest. I've read both the Venker articles referenced, as well as the Scientific American article cited as proof that neuroscience indicates little innate difference between the brains of men and women. The latter, in fact, seemed to point to very much the opposite conclusion. Nowhere that I noticed does Venker argue that "women are naturally men's inferiors". She claims that they are, in general, neurologically different. She rightly stresses that not every single man or woman follows the generality of their gender. And she declares them to be equal, in bold italics.

The bolded but truncated quote above, "women are going to have to become comfortable with sacrifice and capitulation. ...", is intentionally deceptive, as it is immediately followed, in the original article, by "Because those are the underpinnings of a long-term marriage - for both sexes." The last three words are italicized. In other words, the provocative first sentence was only a teaser to bring home the point that both parties to a successful marriage, man or woman, must sacrifice and capitulate.

Without necessarily siding with Venker's advice to the generality of women to relax into their femininity and let the men drive - it may work for Venker and for some unknown proportion of the rest of the female population - I don't see that she wrote anything particularly outrageous. It was simply a reasonably thoughtful social criticism of what she views as feminist hostility poisoning relations between men and women to the detriment of marriage. Her articles bring more credit to Fox News than, unfortunately, the present one does to Nation of Change.

Seriously, Rory? You don't

Seriously, Rory? You don't think she wrote anything particularly outrageous? This is NOT a reasonable thoughtful social criticism. It's a social relic. Venker’s claim that there is empowerment in submitting to your husband in the home is complete bullshit. And that bit about being “dependent on a man”? How can you not see the potential for abuse there?

According to Venker, the war on women’s rights is a thing of insignificance, because a subculture of men she’s come across have apparently been pissing and moaning about the evils of the Feminist movement, and how it’s prompting them to harbor feelings of inadequacy and resentment. Venker’s piece does little else than invoke nostalgia for the antiquated social mores that kept women in line and propagate patriarchy in contemporary society… In fact, it reads like a pro-‘Men’s Rights Movement’ manifesto that places blame for men’s insecurities, perceived shortcomings, and unwillingness to evolve on women who’ve dared to make a decent quality of life for themselves …

RORY: I have to agree with


I have to agree with you that this essay seems to be a little overblown. I don't think I agree with some of Venker's article, as portrayed above, but I don't feel that the author of this work has proven that Venker suggested that "women are naturally men's inferiors." If Venker did say that, then I naturally disagree with her, but I'm not convinced that she said that.

I'm no Fox fan, and don't want to be in the position of defending anyone associated with Fox News, but I think the author of this essay is perhaps exaggerating to arouse strong emotion. I just don't think the case was proven adequately by the quotes that were cited.

(I also think it was over the top for Zack to imply that "equal but different" encourages domestic abuse. Have we gotten to the point where we can no longer see ANY differences - other than sexual anatomy - between men and women?)

It's tough to suppress,

It's tough to suppress, label, or corral, human free- will!

I too am 69, worked for 43

I too am 69, worked for 43 years full time, married once, divorced, and have been in a committed relationship for 37 years. Her calling equal rights because of a paycheck "tit for tat" was really amusing. I think men's earning a paycheck while women stayed home is what made them believe they should make all the decisions. Now that women also work,there is no way that decisions aren't going to be shared. And it's much healthier that way for both people. Young women don't share the author's beliefs, and even old women like me don't either. This article is SOOO Fox News. It fits right in with their 19th century ideas.

The Ayatollah is proud of

The Ayatollah is proud of Venker fro setting the record straight, but disappointed that she didn't point out the divine neccessity of burka's.

There is such a thing as

There is such a thing as instinct and it may be behavioral or part of a collective consciousness and not engrained in the brain but utilizing he brain somewhat differently. Whatever, human society takes precedence now over any ancienin programming so we have to use our intelligence in meeting the demands of our current environment and human civilization. Lots of things could be reconsidered like group marriage or open marriage versus monogamy and territoriality and use of force and territoriality rather than applauding going back to survival of the fittest as the pinnacle of human development or the profit motive. The pressure on women of working and childbearing and home keeping is too damanding. Group marriage would allow some partners of either sex to devote more time to home and nuturing than to financial security and career paths. It also would free some women from childbearing if they want and allow for a more flexible parent to child ratio. Others might even be surrogates if necessasry. It would allow more biodiversity of intimate relationships and group bonding as well. It would be a kind of geodesic arrangement with contractual guarantees and protection of rights with more flexibilty as well as strength in a complex world requiring numerous skills.
We have minds, maybe we should try and use them more effectively rather than trying to put rounded lives into square conceptual and instinctual holes of sexual and social repression..

Teejay Parks's picture

She is living proof that

She is living proof that sometimes women ARE inferior to the average man, and many male contributors or "on-screen" talent at Fox are living proof that sometimes MEN are inferior to the average woman.

Why is this even news? Remove

Why is this even news? Remove this sort of thing from your life, ignore those who spew it, and be happy. These types of people and groups have been with us since day 1 and they will never go away--call it what you want--so the best thing we can do is give them no attention at all.

You can't change people who promote this or believe it, so just ignore it and them.

My word! A Phyllis Schlafly

My word! A Phyllis Schlafly clone lives and breathes. This is stuff from a very old playbook. I believe we are smart enough to see through it although intelligence doesn't appear to play much role in how some opine on gender issues.

Who would ever want to get

Who would ever want to get rid of the GOP and Fox News! They offer such entertainment. Admittedly, both can make me angry, but most of the time the best laugh of my day is the result of the BS that flows so freely from their wide-open mouths.

As a 69 year-old woman, I would be deeply ashamed to look back on my life and see myself as a woman of Venker's ilk. She has the right to her beliefs, but I have lived my life the way I see fit and that life did not include her beliefs. I loved being in control, of making my own decisions. Still, I found time to volunteer, to GIVE back to my community.

I understand the

I understand the consternation that Venker's comments have caused, but it's not surprising. Fox has not been known for its embrace of scientific principles, evidenced by Vekner's misogyny, Karl Rove's befuddlement about statistical principles, O’Reilly's hype about the War on Christmas, or Ann Coulter just talking like Ann Coulter.

Venker is just the latest in a long line of Fox Cultists who use their beliefs about the world to find the facts that will support them. Even when there are no facts.

I just commented on another

I just commented on another Nation of Change piece on climate change suggesting that we use the old rule of thumb (the rule that says a man can beat his wife with a stick also long as it is smaller than his thumb) should only be used on Republicans in congress who deny climate change (The congressman was suggesting that people who want to stop stupid and excessive farm subsidies should be "hung by the neck until dead") but it sounds like Suzanne Venker would argue that the rule of thumb should be brought back. Maybe she should offer to be the Guinea Pig and see if it really is such a good idea before she opens her mouth with such stupid comments as she offered in her op ed.

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