Opinion

It’s time to end the gender war

Suzanne Venker Author and Cultural Critic

Marriage between a man and a woman is designed to be a lifetime merger of masculine and feminine beings. Imperfect or not, it’s Mother Nature’s plan. But today it’s faced with a new threat, and it’s not same-sex marriage. The real problem is America’s gender war: the decades-long battle that has almost single-handedly destroyed the relationship between the sexes.

Heterosexual marriages rely on the differences between women and men — beginning with the plumbing. But masculine and feminine have become dirty words. The feminist establishment insists gender isn’t biologically determined. Indeed, the purpose of the war is to convince women they’re really no different from men. All those physical, cognitive, and emotional differences they think exist are merely social constructs — the result of centuries of restraints and stereotypes imposed by a male-dominated society.

In fact, women can do anything a man can — and secretly want to! Society is simply holding them back. To remedy this so-called problem, women are encouraged to stifle their yearning to marry and have children and to be independent at all costs. The idea that a woman needs a man for anything at all (except, perhaps, his sperm — which she can always get from a jar) has gone the way of the dinosaur. That’s what has become of gender relations.

That is the gender war.

Those who question the reality of this war need only turn to the dominant voices in our culture. “In order to win this debate, we have to prove that men, quote unquote, as we’ve historically come to define them — entitled to power, destined for leadership, arrogant, confused by anything that isn’t them … they are obsolete,” writes Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men.

Win. Prove. Obsolete. This dangerous extremism permeates our culture and conveys a deep lack of respect for men. “A peevish, grudging rancor against men has been one of the most unpalatable and unjust features of second- and third-wave feminism,” laments Camille Paglia in a recent interview about masculine virtues. “Men’s faults, failings and foibles have been seized on and magnified into gruesome bills of indictment.”

Indeed they have. Men have been demoted from respected providers and protectors to superfluous buffoons. Modern-day commercials and sitcoms habitually highlight the idiot husband whose wife is smarter and more capable than he. Ward Cleaver is long gone. So is Cliff Huxtable, The Cosby Show’s enlightened father of five. In their place is The New American Male: unemployed, unaware, and thoroughly emasculated.

Gender equality advocates insist this is not their problem. Women have simply taken their rightful place in society, one that’s been denied them for centuries, and men have chosen to become slackers. They don’t work hard in school or pursue careers with a vengeance, as women do. Instead they spend all their time playing video games.

Maybe. But the choice of some men to remain in a permanent adolescent state, and the choice of others to opt out of marriage altogether, or to “go their own way,” makes sense when you think about it. Men are burning off the testosterone America rejects. “When an educated culture routinely denigrates masculinity and manhood, then women will be perpetually stuck with boys, who have no incentive to mature or to honor their commitments,” bemoans Paglia.

It is true women’s roles have changed, and this does alter the dynamic between the sexes. But female ambition, in and of itself, doesn’t threaten men. “Men know women are powerful, and we don’t mind that one bit. It empowers us that you’re empowered,” writes clinical psychiatrist Paul Dobransky, M.D. “Unless, that is, you disempower us in order to feel empowered.”

And there it is.

The purpose of America’s gender war is to demonize both masculinity and femininity with the hope of creating a new, genderless world order. To that end, the leaders of this war deliberately confuse the public about biology and gender roles. Women are afraid to admit they like babies, and men are afraid to pick up the check. And that’s just the beginning.

Americans can stop this war by simply deciding to. We begin by assuring our children we don’t believe men are Neanderthals, and that we think traditional gender roles can work — indeed, do work for many — just fine. Then we get real about biology. Biology matters. Males and females think, act, behave and respond in entirely different ways. Only by embracing this well of differences, and letting those differences mean what they will, can men and women peacefully coexist.

Until then, we have a stalemate.

Suzanne Venker is an author and Fox News contributor. She is also the founder of Women for Men (WFM), an organization committed to supporting the needs and rights of boys and men. Suzanne has written extensively about marriage and the family and its intersection with the culture. For more on Suzanne, visit www.suzannevenker.com.