(Suzanne Venker is the author of the Two-Income Trap, the War on Men and the Flipside of Feminism.)
Laura Perrins: Suzanne, thanks for chatting with us. Once again, I find myself interviewing an American conservative woman, because there are so few vocal conservative women in Britain. Any thoughts on why that might be?
Suzanne Venker: That’s a hard question since we don’t know whether there are fewer conservative women in Britain than there are non-conservative women, or if the conservative women in Britain keep to themselves and don’t dare to open their mouths for fear of censure. That’s definitely the case over here, which is why I believe there are far more conservative women in America than it would seem. I do think folks across The Atlantic become collectively liberal at a faster rate than Americans. Their progressive policies would certainly reflect that.
LP: Your next book, in Feb 2017 is The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men and Marriage. Tell me about that. What about the Betas? Are they unwelcome?!
SV: Not only are betas not unwelcome—they represent what I suggest alpha females become if they want to find love in their lives. Betas make great wives because they’re not in fight mode all the time, nor do they have any desire to usurp a man’s role. They like men and don’t try to compete with them. The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage gives women who are used to being in charge the tools they need to make their marriages less competitive and more complementary.
This is something I’ve learned the hard way, which is why I wrote the book. I come from a long line of alpha females and never knew any other way. Only by being married as long as I have (and having been divorced once in my twenties, no kids) did my husband’s and my alpha tendencies begin to bump into each other and cause problems.
For a woman to be successfully married, she must relinquish her need to control and learn how to love and care for a man. Whether she’s the boss at work or the boss of her kids, an alpha female must take off the “I’m in charge” hat and surrender to love at home. If she doesn’t, her marriage will be one giant fight.
The problem is that Western culture encourages women to be dominant at all times. That may help women get ahead at work, but it destroys their ability to find lasting love. No man wants a boss, or even a competitor, for a wife.
LP: In three points, if possible, what is wrong with feminism?
SV: There are three main problems with feminism.
(1) Feminists are imprisoned by their negative view of women’s role in society and by their desire to live like men. Feminists believe God, or the Establishment, or a conspiracy of male chauvinist pigs—it’s not clear who—dealt women a foul blow by making them female. Thus, feminists hurl demands on society in order to wrest from a male-dominated social structure the status they believe has been wrongfully denied to women throughout the centuries. They achieve their goal by generating conflicts in legislatures, in courts, in schools, in universities, and in the workplace.
(2) Feminists believe marriage and motherhood hold women back, rather than make a woman’s life more fulfilling. This is not how most women feel about home and family, but since feminists are the ones in power (because women who reject marriage and motherhood obviously accrue more social and political power), they’re compulsively driven to make birth control, abortion and daycare universally available to all women—at taxpayer expense. If they can successfully eliminate or severely downsize the number of babies born, the equality goal will be achieved.
(3) Feminists believe there is no difference between males and females other than their sex organs. All those physical, cognitive, and emotional differences you think exist are merely social constructs, the result of centuries of restraints and stereotypes imposed by a male-dominated society. That’s why feminists become defensive when new research is published that proves innate differences between men and women. It is also why they try to stop grants to scholars who might uncover evidence of differences. Feminists get upset at any argument that shows men and women are not interchangeable. Why? Because proof of innate differences interferes with their hope of creating a new world order.
All of these beliefs stem from a negative or erroneous view of the world and thus result in nothing but misery. Being female is not oppressive—it’s powerful. Marriage and motherhood give meaning to life in a way no career possibly could. And men and women are equal but very, very different. And that’s okay.
LP: Sheryl Sandberg is a deeply, deeply irritating person is so many ways. I feel guilty typing that, but perhaps you can explain why?
SV: Why on earth should you feel guilty? Sheryl Sandberg is an insufferable woman. And she’s dangerous.
Sandberg made clear her feminist agenda several years ago when she made this pronouncement to a group of college graduates: “A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.”
A lofty goal, indeed, one that demands a complete restructuring of the way society operates. What Sandberg wants is to upend human nature and to change the world, one campaign at a time.
To begin, she insists that girls who are bossy — a personal mission of hers, since she was a bossy kid — are misunderstood. Parents and teachers should encourage these girls’ obnoxious behaviour because curbing it will stifle their leadership spirit and keep them from being successful like Sandberg.
Sandberg then went on to insist that America has a “toddler-wage gap.” It seems we parents are part of the reason there’s a pay differential between women and men because we teach our boys to take out the trash and teach our girls to set the table. Since the former takes longer than the latter, we’re sending a message to boys that they don’t have to work as hard as girls do on the home front. Clearly, this leads to women dropping out of the workforce later in life to tend to matters at home.
Which is a problem, since home is the last place feminists want women to be. Women should be out running the world instead because clearly, Sandberg says, men suck at it.
Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up. I wish I could say women like Sandberg have nothing better to do with their time, but that isn’t it. They honestly believe the stuff they peddle. What they don’t realise, or what they refuse to admit, is that they’re deflecting their personal pain/problems/beliefs onto society.
Rather than handling such matters on their own, as most people do, they insist the world should change to accommodate them.
LP: I see the uber feminist New York Times had to report/admit that 82 per cent of Americans don’t consider themselves feminists, admitting that most people are ‘still’ allergic to the f-word.
In the UK, a feminist group commissioned research only to find that a mere 7 per cent of people describe themselves as feminist. Despite these numbers the minority of political/professional feminists dominate the debate. Why?
SV: That’s a great question. Every poll indicates just what you said: that the vast majority of women do not identify with feminism. When feminists are asked to make sense of this, they insist it’s because women don’t understand what feminism is—then they point to the dictionary definition of feminism being about equal rights for women—as though that should be the end of the discussion.
But most women know the dictionary definition bears no resemblance to feminism in practice. Hence, the discrepancy.
Feminists use the definition to explain that all they want for women is to make sure women’s needs and rights are met. But that generic concept says nothing about what feminists actually want: a world where men and women are interchangeable and where children are neglected in favor of a feminist version of equality.
Finally, do you see the arrogance and elitism in feminists’ response to the statistics you mention? It tells you all you need to know about feminists, which is they don’t think women can think for themselves but in fact need feminists to help guide them through life and show them what’s right for themselves and for society.
What crap. Yet the academic feminists among us—women such as Sandberg or even Anne-Marie Slaughter—honestly believe this. That’s how highly they think of themselves.
LP: The Feminists promised us ‘strong, independent’, women. Instead the evidence says we have anxious, unhappy, whining women in need of a safe space. Millennials are more likely to be living with their parents or dependent on the State. And this is supposed to be better than being married with children and running your own life, family and home. The truth is feminism has been a disaster for women.
SV: So that’s the ultimate irony of feminism: at the same time feminists insist women are just as strong, both physically and emotionally, as men are, they simultaneously demonstrate that women are helpless.
If women are capable in their own right (and I certainly believe they are), why do they need a societal leg up via government policies that favour women? Why can they not think for themselves but need feminists to help show them the way? Why can’t they handle hearing arguments that differ from theirs?
The irony is that it’s only those of us who do not subscribe to feminist dogma that believe women are fully autonomous, strong human beings who can do anything they set their minds to. The more you believe women are victims, as feminists do, the less you believe in women.
It’s the complete opposite, in other words, of how people have been taught to think about feminism.