Suzanne Venker Doesn’t Know The Basics of How to Make an Argument

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 19:29 EDT
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Sorry about the lack of posting, but I’m back from traveling and will be on Twitter tonight reacting to the State of the Union. So tune in!

Paying attention to Suzanne Venker seems kind of pointless, since she doesn’t even really try to vary up the single argument she knows how to make: That women will be happier if they give in and accept that, as the inferior sex (or equal-but-different, which is the euphemism that anti-feminists use to mean “inferior”) that was put here to marry and live a life of unpaid servitude to men, we’ll be happier. Because we quit fighting + men can’t love their equals.* She barely even mixes up how she presents this argument, making it uninteresting to shoot it down again and again, which is why I think most people initially ignored her latest reiteration of the claim that women will be happier if they are submissive.

But at least this time the Fox News art department inadvertantly created an amusing angle, as Jessica Valenti discovered, by presumably unwittingly using a picture of a lesbian couple to stand in for the straight couple enraptured by their submission to antiquated gender roles. Upon discovering the mistake, Fox took down the picture, but the damage was done. The real-life couple, Lela Mc Arthur and Stephanie Figarelle, won a “dream wedding” contest and got married on top of the Empire State Building. As you can see from the link, Figarelle, at least, thinks it’s amusing that her image being used as art in a story meant to bully women into accepting the claim that women have immutable, biological differences from men that make us permanently inferior and meant strictly to serve our male betters. Her life experiences, it seems, tend to stand in contrast with Venker’s claim that “each gender has its own energy that flows in a specific direction”. If your gender can’t even determine your sexual orientation or your physical appearance, it’s hard to really argue that it is so deterministic of things like “possessing ambition” or “able to love someone who you regard as an equal”.

Not that I really think it’s worthwhile to shoot down Venker’s insipid arguments, because she’s clearly not even trying. I mean, sometimes I think she’s just running an experiment to see how stupid an argument is before conservatives will reject it:**

Prior to the 1970s, people viewed gender roles as as equally valuable. 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.

It is true that the Titantic sinking did go down that way, but it was an anomaly. A survey of shipwrecks of the past three centuries demonstrates that men had twice the survival rate of women.*** But if Venker is willing to give up the vote, the right to publish her opinions,**** and agree to return to her first husband in exchange for men standing up when she walks in a room and a chance to survive the Titanic disaster if a random time machine snafu lands her there with no chance of escape, okay. But it’s really silly to suggest that the rest of womankind make that trade, since it’s shittier than trading in a Cadillac for two shiny pennies.

*Once again, worth noting how much anti-feminists hate men, too.

**Apparently, there is no bottom limit to this.

***Indeed, the theory is that this anomaly was trotted out at the time as if it were the norm precisely to deny women the vote.

****She can start on this any day now.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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