Author, Suzanne Venker, recently wrote an article for foxnews.com titled The War on Men. In the article, she writes that a Pew Research Center survey found that the number of women aged 18 – 34 who say that having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their life rose nine percentage points since 1997, from 28 percent to 37 percent. For men in that same age group, the percent dropped from 35 percent to 29 percent.
Suzanne explains why fewer men want to get married now and it seems that women are to blame — specifically horribly wretched and dreaded feminists such as myself. I was going to quote part of the article, but instead, I’ll sum up the parts that I’m going to address: 1. Feminists are angry, 2. Feminism started in the 1970s, 3. Because of feminism men can’t be self-sufficient and 4. Men don’t want to compete with women, but want to provide for them. If you want to read the article for yourself you can find it at www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/11/24/war-on-men.
It bothers me that the author takes it upon herself to criticize feminism but obviously doesn’t know much about it if she thinks that feminists didn’t pop up until the 1970s. Sadly, she isn’t the only one that holds an uneducated view of feminism. So this isn’t just directed at her, but at all those who think like her. There are many who think we feminists are angry and that we hate men and are out to destroy them. The truth is we are angry at men, but only at the ones who don’t think we deserve equal rights and try to suppress us. We also are mildly agitated at the men who repeatedly throw their dirty clothes on the floor. I think that the people who view feminists as angry man-hating shrews just don’t like a woman who speaks her mind.
As shocking as it will be to anti-feminists, men who are secure with themselves like strong women. There are even men who find it attractive when a woman is competitive, and some men are happy with the woman being the breadwinner in the relationship. If that doesn’t make you clutch your pearls, I don’t know what will. These men aren’t threatened that a woman is going to stop them from being self-sufficient and aren’t scared of competition. Instead, they know that a woman who speaks her mind and is willing to fight for what she wants will only be an asset to a relationship.
As feminists we know that we are capable of providing for ourselves, but we’re OK if a woman chooses to have a man provide for her. We don’t care if a woman makes the choice to stay home and spends part of her day ironing her husband’s underwear anymore than we care if a woman vows to never get married. We only care that she’s allowed to make the decision for herself on her own terms.
Yes, the dynamics between men and women are changing, but feminists aren’t declaring war on men. The only war on men is the imaginary one being perpetuated by those like Suzanne who think that there are hoards of rabid, pitchfork-wielding feminists who are out to get men. In truth, we’re out to get equality and a bedroom floor that’s free of dirty laundry. I don’t think either is too much to ask.
Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.