Right-Wing Radio Hosts Discuss Man-Hating Feminists

Jessica, a writer for Friendly Atheist, has a fascinating post up today in which she analyses  and responds to a conversation about feminism that took place between two right-wing radio hosts. This piece is instructive as well as maddening, because the radio hosts, Swanson and Buehner, employ essentially every anti-feminist stereotype and straw man out there. Here is the clip:

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If you don’t have a moment to listen, don’t worry, because Jessica took the time to transcribe the entire thing. I’m going to give you an excerpt from Jessica’s post, follow with a short summary of the rest of the conversation, and finish with some of my own thoughts on Swanson and Buehner’s comments.

I’m going to go ahead and walk you though the crazy:

Kevin Swanson: And remember the goal is that these women have to be independent.

So, off to a strong start here. ”The goal is that these women have to be independent”… I guess that’s fine, right? Independence is great! Even though he said it with quite a bit of snark, I am all for independent ladies!

The goal is lots and lots of birth control. The goal is lots and lots and lots of fornication. The goal is abortion. The day after pill will help, and will help a lot.

Wow. Okay, um, I guess the birth control goal is sort of close to true, right? I mean, I’m usually into quality birth control over quantity. (Same for fornication.)

But… the abortion thing? What? The goal is abortion? And if that’s the goal, the morning-after pill will not be too helpful at all.

So, if you’re keeping score, here are the feminists’ goals so far:

  1. Independence
  2. Lots and lots of birth control
  3. Lots and lots and lots of fornication
  4. Abortion

We continue:

Remember, the goal is to get that girl a job because she needs no stinkin’ husband; she’s got the fascist corporation and government-mandated insurance programs and socialist welfare that will take care of her, womb to tomb. Who needs a cotton-pickin’ husband?! Who needs a family? That’s pretty much the worldview that’s dominating, my friends. That’s what the college is all about.

So, as a woman, I want a job so that I don’t need a husband so that a corporation with government-mandated insurance and welfare will take care of me.

So I need a job… so I can get welfare? And if I did have a husband and went on his insurance plan, how would that make the corporation less fascist?

And that, my friends, is what The CollegeTM is all about!

Dave Buehner: Because her feminist professors have told her [that] her husband will abuse her; she will be like a slave to himInstead, she will just go to the slave market and sell herself, at least sell her body to the highest bidder. See, that’s much, much better.

What classes is this Fictitious Feminist gal taking? I kinda want in on it.

So instead of getting married, all of us single feminist ladies are going out and literally prostituting ourselves. Seriously, I barely ever missed classes in college. I cannot believe I missed the entire “Your Husband Will Hold You In Slavery” unit.

[read the rest]

Swanson and Buehner go on to say that there are two groups of feminists. The first group are the attractive ones who use their looks to get a leg up in the business world and the second group are the ugly ones who get angry and go into academia. Both groups dispense with both husbands and children. Swanson and Buehner go so far as to say that feminists not only don’t care about having children but also have actually ceased to love either children or husband. Buehner concludes by saying that feminists are “selfish, narcissistic, family-destroying whores.

Jessica does a great job taking these guys down, especially regarding their constant talk of birth control and welfare, but I wanted to take a moment to add a few things.

First, while I wholeheartedly endorse the decision some women make to not marry or not have children (decisions that are far from selfish or narcissistic!), the vast, vast majority of women who identify as feminists do marry and do have children. Swanson and Buehner’s suggestion that being a feminist means that I don’t love my children or my husband is incredibly offensive. Given the absolutely unrealistic nature of Swanson and Buehner’s straw feminist, I’m wondering if they’ve ever actually met any feminists. But then, I suppose that if they were to meet me they might well simply assert to my face that, because I don’t stay home with my children, I don’t love them. Do you know how annoying it is to be telling that you believe one thing while they insist that, inside, you really actually believe something else? Yeah, it would probably be like that.

But that leads into the next point. If a desire for financial independence and a career means a woman can’t love her husband and children, what does that say for men? In Swanson and Buehner’s world, men are to be financially independent and have careers—but wouldn’t that mean men can’t love their wives and children? I mean, if I can’t have a career and earn money while also loving my spouse and children, why would Sean magically be able to do both? (Perhaps Swanson and Buehner think Y chromosomes are some sort of magic.)

One final note. Did you catch just how focused Swanson and Buehner are on women’s looks? This annoys me to no end. Can we stop dividing feminists into “attractive feminists” and “ugly feminists” already? Can we stop assuming that whether a woman is considered attractive or not by a given person might not be the most important thing about her? Can we stop assuming that a woman’s attractiveness or lack thereof governs her success in life and her happiness? And can we stop assuming that there is one standard of attractiveness? Honestly this is one reason I’m glad I blog under a pseudonym: this way I don’t have to worry about people on the internet discussing at length whether or not I’m attractive, as though that was some sort of critical question!

And having said that, I’d like to encourage you to go read Jessica’s post.

Red Town, Blue Town
When Marriage Looks Like the Only Escape
A Matter of Patriarchy
The Cold, Unforgiving World of Geoffrey Botkin
About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Christine

    The strength of their straw-man arguments actually leads me to suspect that they could very well know feminists. But the ones they know are the exception. Like the friends in high school, who would comment that they hated all religious people. But I was ok, because I wasn’t like the ones they were thinking of.

    The hosts probably also don’t recognise a lot of feminists that they know (a lot of feminists that they know probably don’t self-identify as such). Because if you’re not an evil man-hater who doesn’t want children, you clearly can’t be a feminist. When someone’s straw-men are that strong and extreme, they often are blind to the real people they are attacking (or manage to think that everyone they know is an exception to what they are “all” like).

  • http://republic-of-gilead.blogspot.com Ahab

    :: head explodes ::

    What alternate universe do these misogynist men live in?

  • Emma

    Data pont: Pretty much every female member of my close family are feminists, have full-time careers, have gotten married, and (mostly) had kids. So there. (Not that there’s anything wrong with people who take a different route). Of course, these jerks would probably say their husbands aren’t Real Men.

  • John Small Berries

    Do you know how annoying it is to be telling that you believe one thing while they insist that, inside, you really actually believe something else?

    What, like every Christian who’s ever told me that I didn’t really believe in God and Jesus when I was a Christian?

    Boils down to the same thing, really: if they accept that your account of your own thoughts, feelings, or beliefs is accurate, then they might have to acknowledge that they’re wrong about the position they’re ascribing to you. So therefore they have to insist that you don’t really think, feel, or believe those things.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      That’s exactly what I was referring to. And there really is no way around it! There is nothing you can say!

      • John Small Berries

        The last time it was flung at me, I said something like, “I wish that were true. I wish I could say that I was never taken in by the fairy tales and false promises. But, no, I believed it, and kept making excuses to myself for why reality didn’t match the promises, like ‘God answers all prayers, but sometimes he answers “No.”‘”

        But that really angered the person I was speaking with (perhaps she’d made that excuse to herself, too), and ended any possibility of a constructive conversation, so I think perhaps next time I’ll just stop after “I wish that were true.”

      • phantomreader42

        Oh, there are several things you can say! None of them at all polite, but that’s not really much of an issue since what you’re responding to is incredibly rude and dishonest to begin with.

        You could say that you know they don’t really believe what they just said, which means they’re lying, and remind them that that imaginary god of theirs is supposed to have some sort of problem with bearing false witness. If they don’t like you pretending to read their mind, remind them of the story about that damn godless hippie who said to deal with the log in your own eye before whining about the speck in your neighbor’s.

        Or you could (figuratively) yank the cross they’re trying to beat you with out of their hand and bash their head in with it. Say “no one REALLY believes christian dogma, they just pretend to so they can get away with lying, stealing, murder, rape, and child abuse.” And when they screech in horror at such offensive slander, point out that it’s EXACTLY the same lie christians constantly tell about atheists, and reference the aforementioned damn godless hippie and what he said about beams in eyes.

  • AnotherOne

    Wow, these guys are a treat.

    On Jan 23rd they parsed the difference between “homeschool murders” and “public school murders.” Haven’t listened to it, but I’m guessing it will be similarly enlightening.


  • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jayn

    I don’t think they’re really dividing feminists into ‘pretty’ and ‘ugly’. I think they’re dividing WOMEN into ‘pretty’ and ‘ugly’, with the possible exception of a small subset labelled ‘agree with me and live like I think they should’. A lot of misogynist men seem to think that all women are either attractive and using that to get what they want, or ugly and thus worthless.

  • jessica

    Thanks for the shout out! I really appreciate the response.
    And, yes, transcribing that whole thing was absolutely horrifying.

  • smrnda

    I have to give the guys credit for saying “Fascist Corporation” though; most right-wing Christians are so pro-business and pro-capitalism that even suggesting that a corporation is anything but a benevolent, god-sanctioned authority is heretical to them, but of course, they only said this in a misogynistic rant with words ‘welfare’ and ‘socialist’ so I think it’s just a standard right-wing word salad.

    But the goal of feminism is having abortions? Access to abortion is part of feminism, but it’s certainly never discussed as an end in and of itself but in as something within the broader context of family planning and bodily autonomy.

    And there’s a reason why women to go college and pursue a career and don’t just try to get married as soon as possible; marriages have to work, and they’re something you should put some thought in, and if marriage is done too soon or out of economic necessity the ability to make good decisions is compromised. The other thing is when a woman *can* support herself, she can be pickier about who she marries.

    Perhaps that last thing is why some men are so threatened by feminism. Women can be picky, and so for me who don’t have a lot going for them and who are likely to be demanding and unpleasant to be with, feminism has made them losers, or perhaps just created a greater cost to being a loser.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucrezaborgia Lucreza Borgia

    Since other people have made great comments, I just want to ask one thing: Who is their dealer, because they are clearly smoking some high-powered stuff!

    It boggles my mind that there are people who actually think this!!!

  • http://www.wideopenground.com/ Lana

    That video made me LAUGH. I heard him speak at a homeschool gig. Nobody knows how to offend an audience with more exaggeration than him. Good comments to both of you.

  • saraquill

    Birth control causes abortions? Did these men ever graduate from middle school?

  • http://pslibrary.com/ MrPopularSentiment

    As a feminist stay-at-home mom who has never been on welfare, I call BS.