Few things seem to stir the battle of the sexes more than reversing the typical public discourse – such as suggesting there’s a “war on men” in America or claiming “submission” isn’t such a dirty word.
Back in November of 2012, Venker raised eyebrows with a column called “The war on men,” which argued the “women good/men bad” narrative pushed by feminists and media portrayals since the 1970s has “destroyed the relationship between the sexes,” to the particular detriment of women.
Then last week, Venker stirred the pot again with another column titled, “‘Submission’ is not a dirty word – what Gabby Reece was trying to say.”
The column was a response to the firestorm feminists conjured after it was discovered Olympic volleyball star Gabrielle Reece wrote in her book, “My Foot Is Too Big for the Glass Slipper: A Guide to the Less Than Perfect Life,” the following words: “To truly be feminine means being soft, receptive, and – look out, here it comes – submissive.”
In her column defending Reece, Venker explained, “The former volleyball star and current fitness expert – a woman who has literally made a living being strong – has dubbed submission a strength. … A woman’s femininity [is] very powerful. It doesn’t lower her status or preclude her from being an independent woman. Go! Do what you want with your life. No one’s stopping you. But when it comes to love, surrender. It’s OK to let your guard down. It’s OK to serve your man.”
In fact, Reece’s explanation was similar to Venker’s.
“I think the idea of living with a partner is, ‘How can I make their life better?’” Reece told Natalie Morales on NBC’s “Today.” “So if I’m the woman and he’s the man, then yes, that’s the dynamic. I’m willing and I choose to serve my family and my husband because it creates a dynamic where he is then in fact acting more like a man and masculine and treating me the way I want to be treated.”
Reece also revealed, “I’m just sort of surprised at the way people took the word ‘submissive.’ The idea of trying to make the lives of the people in your home, including your husband, better … that is a form of choice of service. I really believe in that idea that we should all make our lives, each other’s lives, better. And by the way, my husband lives by that same code.”
“Funny, when we talk about husbands being submissive, or deferential, to their wives, no one raises an eyebrow. Turn it around and women get heart palpitations,” Venker wrote in her column. “They assume that deferring to a man means women aren’t strong or capable all on their own. That was the script their generation was sold, but it just isn’t true. … As Reece said, being married is a form of service. So get comfortable taking care of your husband. If he’s one of the good guys, I promise: he won’t swallow you whole.”
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Venker’s unconventional look at marriage caught the attention of the hosts of “Fox and Friends,” who challenged some of the author’s bolder claims from her “War on men” column.
Yet Venker rebutted that calling for a return to femininity and words like “submission” doesn’t mean misogyny nor merit the furor feminists have generated.
“This message is not about women ‘returning to their former lives and roles as 1950s housewives,’” Venker explained. “This is an issue of gender relations in this country I think needs to be addressed from a different angle.”
“Fox and Friends” host Brian Kilmeade summarized Venker’s “advice” to women this way: “Let the man be the man once in a while, let him put out the trash even if you’ve got it in your hands already.”
“That’s exactly my point,” Venker responded. “It’s OK to depend on a guy, and it’s OK to let him be your prince charming. Those aren’t bad things, and that’s gotten lost in this whole female-empowerment, hear-me-roar (feminist movement).”
Watch Venker’s interview on “Fox and Friends” below:
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