He’s sexist, neanderthal, and sadly typical of today’s GOP

I wrote yesterday about how Fox News’ Erick Erickson, Lou Dobbs, and Juan Williams were simply beside themselves with horror over a new PEW study showing that 4 out of ten primary breadwinners in American families with children are women.

According to the men on Fox, the study was “concerning,” “troubling,” and evidence of the dissolution of society.

All because women were working.  And making money.  And providing for their families.  And not staying home with the kids and letting men fulfill their historical genetic duties to provide for their families.

What is with these people?  Erickson’s “clarification” today was actually worse than what he said yesterday.  Not that Erickson’s comments yesterday were anything to write home about:

I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science. But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology, when you look at the natural world, the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complimentary role.

The GOP definition of “science”

Yeah, that’s “science” all right, looking at how animals define home life and mimicking it. (It is telling, however, how the party that doesn’t believe in science doesn’t even understand what science is.) So now “science” is looking at how animals act, in the wild, with regard to gender roles, and suggesting that male and female human beings should act the same way.

Don’t me wrong, I think we can learn a lot from animal behavior, but determining the appropriate employment for women, based on what monkeys do, is offensive to women and science.

I’m hard-pressed to find any credible scientist who derives a “should” for humans out of animal behavior, especially based on the assertion that the only reason we should do it is because animals do it. Erickson doesn’t explain why the animal way is better, he simply parrots the usual far-right talking point about how men are better and hunting and gathering, and women at nurturing. Tell that to Christina Crawford.

Wild animals live in mortal fear of being eaten every second of their lives, so it’s natural that the bigger, stronger animal would become the hunter/gatherer, and the smaller one the animal-version of the happy homemaker. And while Erickson might have had a point tens of thousands of years ago – that perhaps the stronger of early humans should go out and brave the ice and snow and saber-toothed tigers, while the physically weaker humans stayed at home and did cave-work, human beings in 2013 don’t face the daily threats to our existence that people did in earlier days.

In a very real way, animals live the way we used to live. Not the way we live now. So the lessons are archaic and no longer apply to modern life, if they ever applied at all.

A married couple today should decide who gets a job and who stays home to take care of the kids (and even whether both of them get jobs and they send the kids to daycare) based on what’s best for their family, not based on what’s best for monkeys in the Congo.

Erickson on the importance of “gender roles”

Now let’s look at what Erickson said today, then we’ll chat a little:

When you look throughout society, look at other animals, the male of the species tends to be the protector, the dominant one in that regard. We’ve gotten to a point in this country where you have a lot of feminists who think that the male and female roles are completely interchangeable.

Let’s stop for a moment here.  Other than copulation intended to produce children – where it’s certainly more efficacious for a man to impregnate a woman, rather than the other way around – what other “roles” are there in society for which anyone can offer any justification for treating men and women differently?

Cavewoman dragging caveman, via Shutterstock

Cavewoman dragging caveman, via Shutterstock

Whether it’s serving in the military or on a SWAT team, the only real justification you can find is maybe claiming that certain jobs require a certain level of physical strength.  But even that doesn’t mean women shouldn’t be allowed per se – it simply means women will have to meet the necessary level of body strength if they’re going to do a job that requires a certain level of body strength.  And some women can, so why exclude them per se just because an orangutan would?

Erickson continues:

…you have a lot of feminists who think that the male and female roles are completely interchangeable. That there is no need for a man to support his family, you’ve got men walking away, you’ve got women becoming single mothers not by their choice, you got a lot of people thinking it’s a lifestyle choice. This isn’t healthy for society when we think that roles in gender can be completely interchangeable. No one is saying women can’t be or shouldn’t be a breadwinner or even the primary breadwinner.  It’s just that when we forced ourselves to this point in society where they have to be, that’s not a good healthy thing for society.

Woosh. A lot of verbal detritus in there.  Now, sure, it’s not a “good” thing if women are somehow “forced” to be single moms and they don’t want to be.  I’m not sure, however, how gender roles have anything to do with that.  I don’t recall anyone in favor of women having equal opportunity in the workplace suggesting that men should knock women up and then skip town.  It’s just not entirely clear how the two are connected.

Then Erickson starts spewing pseudo-science to bash gay parents. He cites a study by a religious right activist that’s now been thoroughly discredited, in addition to the fact that the study didn’t really look at the merits of gay parenting. But hey, Erickson works for the hate channel now, so he’s free to be a full-fledged bigot, and bigots don’t quote real science.

But Erickson doesn’t judge

More from the truth-slayer:

I don’t view it as judging, I view it as a statement of fact that when you’ve got a mom who is working full time, and who comes home to try to be a full-time mom as well, it’s very difficult.

What does that even mean?  So, when you’ve got a dad who is working full time and who comes home to try to be a full-time dad, that’s somehow easier?  Erickson isn’t even making sense.  He sounds like he’s suggesting that as soon as we let women work, they no longer needed men to make money for them, so they threw the men out, caveman style, and all decided they wanted to be single moms.  But he’s not really saying that, he’s just sort of dancing around the point.

I have to say, Fox’s Megyn Kelly did a pretty good job taking Erickson on.  But man, thank God CNN got rid of this guy. Though it’s pretty abominable that they gave him a seat at the table in the first place.  Not all conservatives are idiots.  But this guy is a bona fide idiot.  And what’s worse, people like him control the Republican party.

No wonder these people can’t win elections.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Stephen Donn Lim

    This is matter of how being a woman can now manipulate over men. I think this issue is very broad.

    __________________________________

    Brazilian jiu jitsu

  • Wina Beel

    I think Ericsson forgets that lioness are the one’s who lead a pride. They hunt for food and take care of their cubs. His claims are baseless if he will use “biology” and “natural world” as his reference on this matter.
    _________________________________________________________________________________

    learn muay thai
    online

  • mikestage

    What an argument! You are clearly a scholar and a thinker. I’m not sure if its the grammar, the usage of words like butthurt, or just the overall tone that draws me to it. Now, calling liberals lazy asses was not very nice and probably untrue when you think about it. I mean, if they were lazy, we’d be in a much better situation. Black people would still be sitting at the back of the bus and going to different schools, white guys in white outfits would still be hunting them, ladies would have no control over their body or politics, and would certainly not deign to be heads of big corporations. Hell, they’d still be cooking all day with their hair done and well dressed, pouring a cocktail for their man when he gets home from a hard day at the office, and certainly there’d be no room in jails for criminals since homosexual sodomizers would be filing the cells (especially in Texas), arrested for their illegal and filthy sexual acts. Mitt Romney surely would have won the presidency, Churches would set laws, the constitution would be replaced with the Bible, New England would secede from the union and all would be well. Kind of makes you salivate just thinking about it.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    there was definitely a backlash in the 1950s against women wanting to do anything but be homemakers and have babies. But it didn’t really take and by the 1970s there was a significant and effective women’s movement in America. I don’t think that could have been nearly effective without the acknowledged accomplishments of women during WW2. (BTW, WW2 is also significant in the beginnings of the gay rights movement but that’s an entirely different conversation.)

  • Stev84

    What’s most infuriating about the Kelly video is how those slimebags laugh at her throughout the entire thing. They clearly don’t take her seriously. “Oh, look there is an uppity woman. She has her own opinion! Haahaha!”

  • Stev84

    What’s interesting though is that this was mostly seen as an emergency situation and when the war ended the men wanted their jobs back and the women returned to being housewives. Things quickly reverted and the 50s were marked by arguably more rigid gender roles than even a few decades earlier. It wasn’t until the 60s that women entered the workforce in large numbers again.

    Btw, a good deal of the women who already had such jobs before WWII were lesbians. Simply because they couldn’t rely on marrying a man to take care of them.

  • Stev84

    Bonobos too. The males’ social status is defined by their mother. They also have very interesting sexual practices. They use sex for conflict resolution and that includes plenty of same-sex genital contact.

  • Stev84

    Comparing them to neanderthals is a grave insult to neanderthals

  • Pere_ubu

    Ericsson married a Muslim because like Christians they all appreciate subservient women which these weak men prefer out of fear.

  • Pere_ubu

    Attention Conservative women- how much longer are you going to remain on your husbands and priests priests leashes?

  • Gary Harmer

    Another cave dwelling ignorant IDIOT is obviously what you are Mr. u.s. citizen. You probably have a so called “liberal” chained up doing the spelling for you. Maybe your mommy or dada can help you with your stupidity, but I certainly doubt it…Go back to your little itty bitty cave and put on your wittle tin hat…adjust the rabbit ears on your teevee and tune in rushy-poo limpdick and glenn (I’m an idiot too) beck and get your “news”.

  • Gary Harmer

    He views it as a statement of fact! What fact? The fact that he pulls this out of his butt? Now, that could be a fact.

  • pappyvet

    Not much for the 3Amigos but I’m crazy about the cartoon

  • JP_Melle

    Man, agreeing with Megyn Kelly that much makes me feel so dirty.

  • U.S. citizen

    You liberals are all full of shit, if a man isnt a butthurt feminist gay, then hes a bad bad guy. “Women are better then men, men are just pigs, we are better workers,” its all just butthurt people. Liberals are mostly lazy ass people who couldnt make it in society so they have to disagree with what we say. and dont give me the “well according to this LIBERAL study, women are better than men”. To anybody whos actually someone that worked their way through life and is happy with their life, both men and women, keep doing what you do. These whiners have nothing better to do, so they go after those who are successful, not rich and powerful, but successful. And to the user “usagi”, viking women were not as strong as people make them out to be. During that time, women were still the house keepers and children raisers. And Israeli military women? Why not U.S. army women? hmmmmmm.

  • DrLearnALot

    It’s not even true that in nature the male is always the “provider” and “protector,” as nature is full of every possible model — absent fathers, nurturant, nesting fathers, fierce protector mothers, provider mothers, etc. Science — it’s something they cite when they think it agrees with the bible.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I kind of thought the point you make was entirely self-evident and thus did not need or require additional exposition from me.

    Their arguments are all based on a set of adapted and bastardized patriarchist and authoritarian beliefs from an ignorant Bronze-Age myth-believing culture.

  • nowaRINO

    You leave out the HUGE conservative religious component to Mr Erickson’s
    argument. I have visited one megachurch on family special occasions and heard the same bile being spewed from the pulpit, even to an explanation contraception is against natural science/natural law and nature’s God. This whole ‘complimentary’ positioning of women to men is their biblical view.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EwgX5h0YgYc

    So let’s cut the crap that any of this is based on science. It is pandering to the Evangelical Republican base.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Thank you, you’re most kind.

  • http://buddybest.tripod.com/index.html BuddyNovinski

    What it comes down to is that we all have certain talents, and all can contribute to the economy in different ways. No one should withdraw talent because of being the wrong gender. In fact, these promoters of capitalism should consider that every participant should work at his/er best talents in his/er best interests, as Adam Smith would say.

  • Hue-Man

    I happened to watch the PBS rerun of Ellen DeGeneres’ Mark Twain prize show from last autumn. It included the clip “Bic Pens for Women”. The jabs at “traditional” views of women are completely accurate and funny. Worth a watch especially when you need to counter the relentless misogyny of the TeaParty/GOP. From her website: http://www.ellentv.com/videos/0-mmky9xia/ and YouTube, in case it’s geo-blocked. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCyw3prIWhc

  • sophie

    Great post!

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    What I find more infuriating is these men are regularly invited onto nationally broadcast TV shows, where their ridiculous and hateful opinions are merely treated as if they’re a different but perfectly acceptable point of view.

    As for that particular tidbit you quoted, it’s trivial to counter:

    - It’s not nearly as difficult if there’s a stay-at-home spouse, who in fact could be male (straight) or female (lesbian). Or a 2nd dad if it’s two gay men.
    - It’s just as difficult to be a man working full time and to come home and try to be a full-time dad. At least it is if he actually IS trying to be one, and not fobbing all the work off to wifey-kins.
    - And as I noted in my comment, there’s lots of ways we could make being a parent (of either gender) and career easier to manage, as well as far more financially viable, but dorks like Erickson consistently oppose every last one of them.

    You’re absolutely right though: His remark there is soaking with condescension and patronizing patriarchist BS.

  • Monoceros Forth

    I’m almost not sure what infuriates me more, the bogus social assumptions that run all throughout Erickson’s statements, all of which are time-worn and depressingly familiar, or that Erickson is so wishy-washy and cowardly about expressing them. I suppose in a twisted way that’s an advance, in the same way that it’s slightly better now that racists have to apologize in advance for their racism (with some version of the “I’m not a racist but…” formula).

    I guess if there’s any piece of Erickson’s talk that bugs me the most, it’s this:

    …I view it as a statement of fact that when you’ve got a mom who is working full time, and who comes home to try to be a full-time mom as well, it’s very difficult.

    Why is it so awful for “mom” to work? Because then she can’t be “mom” any more! Not to disparage a warm and endearing word such as “mom” unduly, but the way that Erickson uses the word is like fingernails on a blackboard to me. It drips with condescension and the half-admitted assumption that the only valid role for a woman in a family is to be “mom”.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Let’s look back at how we got where we are. Before WW2 it was rare for women to work in the business world. But during the war women had to take on jobs they had not traditionally held because there weren’t enough men to do them. We all know what happened. Most of them (maybe pretty much all) were capable and did their jobs. The evidence for that is that the country didn’t fall apart, businesses continued to operate and we won the war! it was impossible following that to say women weren’t able to do these jobs because they’d already shown they could. That’s not to say that all women are good at a particular job. But I’m not hiring all women for a job. I just need to hire one person and even if there is only one woman who is qualified, she should be considered for the job. Generalities are not useful and are in fact unfair since there is a wide range of abilities both among men and among women. Some women should make more money than some men. they may be more productive. They might bill more clients or make more sales. They might bring in more profit to their company. it’s only a problem if there is discrimination in which two people doing the same work with the same results (most employers have metrics to measure productivity) are paid differently only because of difference in gender (or race or marital status,etc).

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Brilliant find.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I tend to refer to guys like Erick as “someone took a long and generous dump in the shallow end of that man’s gene pool.”

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I was really, really hoping he was going to find some way to work it in that a man’s instincts to commit rape are entirely natural and understandable, and somehow also the fault of feminists and single-mothers.

    Alas, my “Sexist Special” Bingo card remains incomplete.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I actually think Erick’s ilk don’t care how many tens of millions of people there are living in abject poverty and squalor. He just doesn’t want to see them from behind the walls of his gated community.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    As Max remarks below, these sexist chauvinist pigs who invoke animal biology to claim that men and women are by definition to be relegated to dominant and submissive roles are the same ones who object to the teaching of evolution because supposedly humans aren’t animals, we’re special and superior to all other life forms.

    Let’s pick apart the pathetic mess that is Erick “Erick” Erickson’s shoddy excuse for debating skills and faulty rhetoric, shall we? Just a few morsels, I promise*.

    “I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science. But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science.”

    I’ll bet little Erick (not so little now) learned this one on the playground. The old “I’m rubber, You’re glue” retort, which apparently never fails. It’s also known as the Tu Quoque fallacy. Or perhaps it’s the even more basic, “I know you are, but what am I?” gambit. Risky, because in this case the correct answer is, “You, Erick, are a sexist pig who wouldn’t know the scientific method if it bit you on your scaly crap-encrusted ass.”

    When you look at biology, when you look at the natural world, the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role.

    Except for bonobos, baboons… quite a few primate species, actually. Lemurs, elephants, lions, hyenas. Bees, wasps, ants, and many other species of insects. Arachnids, sharks, birds of prey, a number of species of fish, amphibians, seahorses… I could go on and on. Easily.

    When you look throughout society, look at other animals, the male of the species tends to be the protector, the dominant one in that regard.

    Bzzzt! Animals don’t have ‘societies,’ remember, Erick? You Bible-humping types are all too happy to keep saying they’re just animals. Funny, too, how you throw out these generalities like “tends to be” without the least shred of evidence or example.

    We’ve gotten to a point in this country where you have a lot of feminists who think that the male and female roles are completely interchangeable.

    Hey kids, can you say “Straw Man Argument”? I knew you could. How about “Ad Hominem Attack”? Erick is claiming, again without any evidence to back up his assertion, that he knows exactly how “a lot” of feminists think and what we believe.

    (“A lot of feminists believe”) (t)hat there is no need for a man to support his family, you’ve got men walking away, you’ve got women becoming single mothers not by their choice, you got a lot of people thinking it’s a lifestyle choice.

    How sly, you dog you, trying to sneak in a backhanded homophobic remark. Who else likes to make references to immoral ‘lifestyle’ choices… oh hang on, it was YOU, Erick, just a couple months ago, when you opined over at Redstate (ain’t gonna link it) “The left exerted a great deal of energy to convince everyone that the gay lifestyle is an alternative form of normal. It then has exerted a great deal of energy convincing people that because the gay lifestyle is just another variation of normal, gay marriage must be normalized.”

    But back to your eraser-nub ‘point’ — so it’s feminists who are responsible for men choosing to abandon families, and not the men who do the choosing? Isn’t leaving one’s family a lifestyle choice, too, hmm?

    This isn’t healthy for society when we think that roles in gender can be completely interchangeable.

    Why, Erick? Thus far you’ve not offered up one shred of irrefutable evidence. Just a whole ton of illogic, debating techniques most toddlers outgrow, and a messy spew of sexist drivel.

    No one is saying women can’t be or shouldn’t be a breadwinner or even the primary breadwinner.

    Really? Because that seems to be the entire frickin’ gist of your entire frickin’ stupid, sexist position, that women should NOT be the ‘breadwinner.’ (By the way, as an aside, does this term even make sense to you? I thought you wanted all the women home in their kitchens, barefoot and preggers, MAKING the bread, both literally and ‘bun in the oven’ figuratively.)

    It’s just that when we forced ourselves to this point in society where they have to be, that’s not a good healthy thing for society.

    All righty. How about some laws that guarantee a single-income minimum wage capable of supporting a family of four in conditions better than abject poverty? Oh right, you’re against that, too. I’d suggest that far more damaging to families than this notion of us little ladies working outside the home is the fact that increasing numbers of American families simply can’t get by on just one 40-hour / 5-day-a-week income.

    And coming around again, you still haven’t proven that men are naturally the ‘dominant’ gender among humans, in all things. You just keep saying it’s so.

    I don’t view it as judging,

    Oh, don’t worry. We do. It’s incredibly judging. And at the risk of repeating myself, incredibly sexist, misogynistic, and bigoted.

    …I view it as a statement of fact that when you’ve got a mom who is working full time, and who comes home to try to be a full-time mom as well, it’s very difficult.

    Then why do men like you keep lobbying against fair pay and labor laws, after school programs, Head Start, family leave laws, access to quality health care. Why do you pontificate against the right of that mother to marry another woman who might be able to help with the raising of those kids? And why do you seem always and consistently to let men entirely off the hook?

    What about all those “full-time dads”? Don’t they deserve a break? Or a little support? Or maybe, just maybe the freedom to choose to be the stay-at-home parent? You know — that whole libertarian-based personal choice thing whose drum you so often like to beat when it’s you wanting to impose your choices on everybody else?

    In closing, I’ll borrow and bowdlerize one of my favorite lines from classic SNL: “Erick, you ignorant slut–”

    (* = Okay, I lied. Not a few morsels, but the full eight course dinner.)

  • FauxReal

    By Erickson’s explanation, Sarah Palin is an unnatural woman bringing about the downfall of society since she’s the prime money maker in her marriage.

  • UncleBucky

    Well, in the case of GOPers, human-fencepost interbreeding. That’d get it.

  • UncleBucky

    That’s what the GOP really wants. They don’t want intelligent women, competitive young people, hard-working minorities and especially anyone who tells angry white males that they are (and have been for centuries in this Country) bigoted, parasitical, and, well, proud of their ignorance. Of course there are plenty of white males who are not typical of that, but it’s the really vocal GOP dummies that require a 2×4 to the head to get their attention!

  • PeteWa

    additionally, the leader of a wolf pack is not gender dependent, it is the wolf (male or female) who is strongest and has the best fighting skills.

  • PeteWa

    Erickson’s attitude has always been deplorable, regardless of decade / century.

  • mirror

    I like your points here about models and fear of being eaten John, except you should probably substitute primate for most of the places you say animal. For most other animals, the gender roles possess some extremely sharp contrasts to humans and similar primates.

  • Naja pallida

    Their argument would be that someone who is poor should not be having children they can’t afford. While also refusing them birth control and basic family planning, except for the profound advice that they should be abstinent. Only one step away from suggesting that poor people should be forcibly sterilized.

  • nicho

    And Erickson may not want to find himself between a mother bear and her cub.

  • judybrowni

    Although Erickson would be the first to go all booga booga on evolution, he uses the old Father Knows Best in the animal kingdom argument.

    However, elephants are matriarchal, it’s the lioness who hunts for the pack, male seahorses that give birth, male Penguins who hatch the eggs and…shall we mention the Black Widow Spider and Praying Mantis (it’s the last two I hope Erickson’s wife patterns their home life on.)

  • Monoceros Forth

    I swear, next time I see or hear some Republican dirtbag lecture me on “lifestyle choices” I’m going to break something.

    I don’t view it as judging, I view it as a statement of fact that when you’ve got a mom who is working full time, and who comes home to try to be a full-time mom as well, it’s very difficult.
    Yeah, Erick, believe it or not, it’s very difficult to try to raise children and work full-time, especially when the default assumption in the American workplace is they’re going to find some reason to fire you if they think you’re making even the least bit of trouble for them by (say) wanting maternity or paternity leave.

  • Leota2

    And yet the idea of married couples needing two incomes or they become the working poor who need government aid to keep their family’s head above water never comes into it for the men who
    hate government aid and probably don’t believe in the minimum wage. Morons. Very Taliban of them. In a few years they’ll say females shouldn’t be allowed to work at all and if they have no males in their family they need to starve inside the house with their female children.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Excellent. Couldn’t have exposed the emptiness of the “argument from nature” better myself.

  • nicho

    Neanderthals were actually quite nice — and much better than today’s GOP. They lived communally and cared for their sick and elderly.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    “… the male typically is the dominant role” therefore I think I’ll be a jerk.

  • Max_1

    Erickson, 5/29/13:

    When you look at biology, look at the natural world, the roles of a male and a female in society, and 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.

    Erickson, Nov 20, 2012:

    I reject that we are little better than the animals we evolved from because I reject that we evolved from anything other than God’s own mind.

    = = =

    So were not like animals yet were like animals?

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    He doesn’t he really have a premise. It’s almost as if he didn’t want to really say what he thinks, didn’t want to justify it. Other than saying ‘it’s what animals’ do.

  • usagi

    Not to mention, the fundamental premiss is 100% bullshit. Or maybe you’d care to go a round or two with a Viking woman (or if you insist on being modern, any woman in the Israeli army)? I’ll pass, thanks.

    We Have Always Fought.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    I’ve long thought that Human-Neaderthal interbreeding was a mistake. This proves it.

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