We live in a new age where women have been elected to congress, become CEO of multi billion dollar corporations like Yahoo, become Secretary of State, and the majority of college educated people. This is progress that just a hundred or even fifty years ago would be unimaginable. We even have a woman who is the early front-runner for the presidency of this nation, Hilary Clinton. All of this progress however is horrible or, as Fox news host Lou Dobbs and contributers Juan Williams and Erick Erickson would have you believe, the downfall of American society. They believe that the fact that women are the breadwinners in 4 out of 10 households with children is, as Juan Williams puts it, a sign of “something going terribly wrong in American society”. He continues by saying this recent phenomena is, “ hurting our children, and it’s going to have impact for generations to come.”
One could excuse these comments as the delusional idea that every home where the mother is the breadwinner is a single parent household. But even this reasoning doesn’t hold up to facts. Over 40% of female breadwinners are married women who make more money than their husbands. The rate of married women breadwinners has increased from 4% in 1960 to 23% in 2011, a significantly higher rate than the increase in single mothers. It seems that an increase in education and equal opportunity has led to more female breadwinners, not single motherhood.
Another approach that this Fox news panel took to explain the abomination that is women making money was a “scientific” approach. To fully appreciate the moronic lack of scientific knowledge it is best to look at Erick Erickson’s entire quote on the biology of men and women: “When you look at biology, look at the natural world, the roles of a male and female in society, and the other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complementary role. We as people in a smart society have lost the ability to have complementary relationships in nuclear families, and it’s tearing us apart.” Equating a hegemonic cultural norm with science is ridiculous on the face of it. Numerous species of animals have female hunters and matriarchal family systems. Unfortunately for Erickson, real science, and real biology, repudiate his sexist claims. As much as popular fiction would like us to believe, tribes and societies were never led by the most physically strong man but, rather, the eldest and wisest, both of which are not biological features.
Lou Dobbs’ own colleagues at fox news have responded angrily to the sexist, all male, conversation which took place on his show. Megyn Kelly shot down Erickson’s pseudo science saying, “What makes you dominant and me submissive and who died and makes you scientist-in-chief?” She went on to say that in the 1950’s and 1960’s interracial marriages were seen as biologically inferior and that Erickson should, “…tell that to Barack Obama.” Fellow Fox news host Greta Van Susteren went to her blog and said of Dobbs and his fellow contributors, “have these men lost their minds?” The sad part is that these men havent lost their minds but, rather, have these sexist ideas permanently ingrained in their brains.
What ever ill conceived reason that these commentators use to rationalize a male dominate society their beliefs are all underlined by a very real, very sad, idea that men should dominate women. The sexist views of these conservative commentators are not rare in society today. They go hand in hand with the culture that blamed rape victims for their own sexual assault. As conservative pundit Liz Trotta explained on Fox news, these empowered women looking to be in the military are just “feminists looking to be warriors and victims at the same time.” Do empowered women looking to join the military, have control over their bodies, or make money for themselves and their family deserve to be degraded and raped of their femininity? If these men are so worried about women taking over the work force and taking all of the money they can sleep well tonight knowing that women only make up 4.2 percent of the CEOs in Fortune 500 companies.