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A Response to Suzanne Venker and Fox News: Gender Equality Strikes Back

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Due to a rather provocative article on Foxnews.com, I've been drawn into a discussion with friends about gender equality. Stephen Colbert also tore her argument apart, I will go a bit further.

According to the author, Suzanne Venker, gender equality is a nice idea, but otherwise a pointless endeavor:

"Those of us with children know better. We know little girls love their dolls and boys just want to kick that ball. This doesn't mean men can't take care of babies or women can't play sports. It just means each gender has its own energy that flows in a specific direction. For God's sake, let it flow."

The author's claim of authority on the subject is grounded solely in her experience as a parent. This is something I will graciously skip over, as it is nonsense. However, I will defend my opinion of it being nonsense by stating that basing credibility on personal experience as a parent is shakable at best. She has not had every child in the world, only her own, so basing her argument on her own parenting experience would be to assume that all children are the same as hers (i.e. if her daughter plays with dolls, all daughters play with dolls, etc.)

This aside, I will address a specific aspect to her argument. To start, Venker states pre-feminism was better:

Many would argue women had the better end of the deal! It's hard to claim women were oppressed in a nation in which men were expected to stand up when a lady enters the room or to lay down their lives to spare women life. When the Titanic went down in 1912, its sinking took 1,450 lives. Only 103 were women. One-hundred three.

Women had the better end of the deal? The death toll of the Titanic is evidence of this? Let's back up from the iceberg of crap that is this argument.

In the age of the Titanic, women were discouraged from anything that would remove them from the house. They were not even allowed to vote on issues that directly affected them. Sacrifice? I would say these women sacrificed plenty. Under these gender restrictions, they were about as lucky as the crew of the Titanic.

However, Venker attempts to screw her point to modern day: "Being equal in worth, or value, is not the same as being identical, interchangeable beings. Men and women may be capable of doing many of the same things, but that doesn't mean they want to. That we don't have more female CEOs or stay-at-home dads proves this in spades."

The most obvious problem with this statement is that there aren't more CEOs because male CEOs have simply been around longer. Feminism didn't immediately change the social structure of all families, businesses and political policies. In the last 50 years there have been some changes, but men have had, um, about 2100 years head start on being CEO of the world. It may take a few more years for women to share the same numbers.

Further down the crazy train, Venker's particular line of thinking can be turned into the following argument: Feminism leaves no room for men to have an opinion on procreation. The largest complaint under this rhetorical umbrella is that men can become trapped when it comes to procreation. When a woman decides to have a child, her decision can place a man under unwanted financial responsibility for eighteen years.

My response: So what?

If a man is so terrified of a woman roping him financially with a baby, he should carefully consider his options, those options being: Vasectomy and condoms. The birth control pill is also very effective for committed relationships. However, if he cannot trust his girlfriend to use birth control, he has one last option: Don't have sex with her! It's an innovative concept.

Another side of this argument: The men who want to have a baby and are horrified that their partner can get an abortion, ultimately "killing their baby."

Again I say: So what?

If two people are in a relationship and disagree on the issue of "to be baby or to not be baby," the problem is compatibility, not fertility.

Therefore, when men cry: "Not fair" on women's choice of abortion or childbirth, I shed not a single tear.

Our bodies are not up for discussion. I don't demand vasectomies, so no one, absolutely no one, should demand anything of my uterus. It is my right -- it is my equal right as a human being. That is the equal agreement between both genders.

So yes, equality is possible. It would be nice if Fox News would give gender equality a little longer than a half century before stamping "FAIL" on it.