I’m sure you remember Suzanne Venker, Phyllis Schlafly’s niece and the author of the appalling Fox News article about the mythical “war on men.” She has a new book out called How to Choose a Husband and Allison Benedikt has a hilarious review of it at Slate. I’ll just quote the beginning and you can read the rest:
There is a lot of Steve Harvey in Suzanne Venker’s new book, How To Choose a Husband, a 12-step guide for women seeking a lasting union in a culture that prepares them for anything but. The comedian and Family Feud host is quoted as an expert on marital sex: “Please—puhleeze—don’t hold out on the cookie. We don’t care about anything else.” Harvey on manhood: “Everything [a man] does is filtered through his title (who he is), how he gets that title (what he does), and the reward he gets for the effort (how much he makes). These three things make up the basic DNA of manhood.” And Harvey on female power: “Your power comes from one simple thing: you’re a woman….you’re the ultimate prize for us.”
Other supporting texts for Venker’s arguments for a return to female “deference” in the face of our post-feminist “You go, girl” world include He’s Just Not That Into You, Fifty Shades of Grey, and Mona Lisa Smile. Venker cites major research articles such as HuffPo’s “How The Notebook Has Ruined Me,” E! Online’s “Jennifer Lopez Talks Adoption, Life as a Single Mom, and Having More Kids,” and the classic “Facebook comment a twentysomething male posted in response to a woman who said she felt honored to be the Other Woman in her man’s life because his wife was one of those ‘submissive’ types.” According to Venker, “The best example of male and female nature was depicted in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
Clearly Venker, a conservative writer who made a splash late last year with her trolling FoxNews.com essay, “The War on Men,” has done her homework for this latest entry in the burgeoning academic field of “Marriage is Dying!!!!” So it’s a real shame to find that all of the hours she spent whittling down her Netflix queue, the bathroom time she devoted to reading celebrity magazines as she pooped out roses on her lady throne, and the minutes—all those minutes!—she passed Googling “Marcia Cross and fertility” and surfing Facebook were in the service of this conclusion: The best way to bag a husband is to detox from feminism, “return to femininity,” tune out your mom and friends, stay away from pop culture, don’t shack up without a ring, “marry the accountant, not the artist.” And once you do find a man: Be sweet, give him lots of sex, and don’t talk too much.
And Susan B. Anthony wept. Now, I’m a single, straight guy. Never been married, but came close a couple of times, and I certainly don’t have any fear of commitment. But this old vision of women as silent, obedient objects whose only worth is in bed is pretty much the last thing I would ever want in a woman. I’d be more than happy with lots of sex, of course, but out of obedience? Out of obligation? No thanks. The last thing I would ever want is a Stepford wife.
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