Susan Venker has a lot of ideas about what women need to do to be happy. Most of them involve marrying young and giving up their jobs and their income to raise children and do housework. She likes writing articles about how all the successful driven women out there are going to be sooooooo sorry that they pursued careers instead of focusing on settling down with Mr. Right and how they are going to be sooooooo lonely when they realise that all the “good” men out there actually want submissive little housewives because BIOLOGY OR SOMETHING.
Her entire outlook on life is stupid for a variety of reasons.
- She lives in a heteronormative bubble. She is going to be shocked when she discovers that gay and queer and trans* women are a thing now.
- Marriage is no longer the pinnacle of female achievement.
- Very few of these bright successful women she’s so worried about are going find marital bliss with a man who wants a glorified servant/fuck toy combo.
These reasons, as well as her rampant hypocrisy, have been well and entertainingly covered on Feministe.
However, even if none of the above were true in any case, the key point here is that women are autonomous individuals who are capable of making their own decisions about what will or won’t make them happy. Women are capable of understanding and acting on their own desires. They don’t need Venker (or anyone else) waving a study in their face and saying “Look! A percentage of women have said they want this thing! So this is also what you want! Because women are a monolith and what 35% of ladies rate as important, ALL LADIES RATE AS IMPORTANT.”
Susan Venker is a high-profile concern troll, peddling tired traditionalist gender bullshit to the tune of “But I’m just so WORRIED about all the poor confused feminists!” And while she is clearly an idiot, I would like to take this opportunity to issue a general PSA to all members of the Traditional Gender Roles Concern Troll Choir, in handy bullet point format:
- Stop telling women what they should want based on a study that says what some other women want.
- Stop telling women what they should want based on your extremely loose grasp of evo-psych and your dubious ideas about what “cavemen” did.
- Stop telling women that they had it so much better back in the day, because men had to pull out chairs and hold open doors and pay for everything. Unless you are also going to mention that, under the same charming set of rules, it was socially acceptable to beat a woman for sass and disobedience and there were no laws against marital rape.
- Stop telling women what they should want based on “it’s just the way things are” and “common sense” and “everyone knows” and other boring generalisations.
- Instead, start listening to the real living and breathing women who are standing in front of you TELLING YOU WHAT THEY WANT.
Stop telling feminists how to be happy. Seriously. We’ve got this one.
This post originally appeared on my old blog, death of the new gods, and has been backdated to reflect this.