Fox News mansplains why women should stay at home and have babies

Lou Dobbs and the boys over at Fox News are simply beside themselves today over the news that a new PEW study shows that four out of ten American households with children have women as the sole or primary breadwinner.

It’s the devil’s work, I tell you!  If God had intended women to work, he’d have made them men.

FOX’S LOU DOBBS: “Something we don’t usually do, I want to turn to a study from PEW Research, a study showing that women become the breadwinners in this country, and a lot of other concerning and troubling statistics…”

First off, note how it’s just presumed that women becoming breadwinners is per se “troubling.”

From a wonderful collection of vintage sexist ads at Amusing Planet.

From a wonderful collection of vintage sexist ads at Amusing Planet.

Dobbs continues:

LOU DOBBS: “But our society is being torn in so many directions right now, this stuff is really at the margin when you watch the Republicans and the Democrats, this president, his scandals, and the appropriate investigation by the Republicans. When we’re watching society dissolve around us, Juan, what do you think?”

So now, an increasing number of women being the primary breadwinner in families is evidence of “society dissolving around us.”

And who else to turn to for an opinion than a man? You’ll note the number of women on the panel:

Juan Williams thinks it’s a sign of the “disintegration of marriage, “something going terribly wrong in American society and it’s hurting our children.”

Well, actually, those children would be a lot worse off if mom weren’t making money.  It’s not like the family sat there and said “hey, dad could make more money, but let’s have mom work instead and make less!”

And of course, leave it to GOP blogger Erick Erickson to mansplain why it’s so bad having the women-folk working:

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.

vintage-sexist-ad-2

From a wonderful collection of vintage sexist ads at Amusing Planet.

Fortunately, Erickson spared us a discussion of how the big stick fits into the small hole, a discussion anti-gay neanderthals tend to love to have when explaining why “nature” has made clear the appropriate gender roles for men and women.

But if Erickson wants to talk animals, let’s talk animals.  I don’t know about him,, but I don’t model my life after animals.  Call me a crazy liberal, but I like to think that one of the good things about mankind is that we’re able to do more, be more than animals (well, some of us, anyway).  That, in principle at least, we have bigger brains, a soul (at least a more developed one, though I’d put this dog against Erickson any day), and that one of our strengths is that we can do more, and be more, than simple animals (though I love animals).

So I have to laugh when I hear Republicans talk about how human beings have gone beyond their animal role models. Yeah, ya think?

From a wonderful collection of vintage sexist ads at Amusing Planet.

From a wonderful collection of vintage sexist ads at Amusing Planet.

I remember learning in law school about the “feminization of poverty.”  The concept was that society was engineered in a way that left women holding the economic bag when things went wrong.  Women are paid less than men, were (and perhaps still are) permitted to work in fewer fields than men), and the law was rigged against women, especially inheritance law, though that’s improved nowadays (in the way past, women couldn’t even inherit).  At the same time, women were expected to take care of the kids, which is awfully tough when you’re divorced and can’t get a job, or an equal-paying job, as the guy you divorced – and he doesn’t have to worry about leaving work early to get the kids because, according to the monkeys, it’s “your job.”

Thus women were either stuck in bad marriages – since if they left, they’d have a hard time earning equal pay – or they left those marriages and became poor.  So, one could argue, the fact that women are serving as primary breadwinners almost as often as men, is not necessarily a bad thing.  It simply means society’s gender stereotypes are starting to diminish.

From a wonderful collection of vintage sexist ads at Amusing Planet.

From a wonderful collection of vintage sexist ads at Amusing Planet.

Now, much of the conservative horror at this data is probably based in the notion that women should stay at home and take care of the kids.  Well, perhaps the boys should have thought about that one before they helped get that woman pregnant, rather than after.  If they’re so worried about the parenting, let them stay at home.

Of course, note how unequal pay helps set women up for even more discrimination since it’s often likely the husband will earn more than the wife, all things being equal, so it’s one more argument for why women should stay at home with the kids, simply reinforcing the old stereotypes.

Now, it should be noted that it’s possible the increased number of female primary breadwinners is evidence of family dissolution.  Maybe more women are having to earn the money for their families because they’re divorced.  Yeah, and?  It’s hardly just the women’s fault that they got divorced.  I’m guessing the guys had a role in the marriage going bad, too.  So are Republicans suggesting that the answer is to have men and women stay in bad marriages?  I’m not sure how healthy that is for parents, let alone for the kids.  Yeah, it sucks having mom and dad divorced.  But I wonder how much it would suck having mom and dad stay married and fight every night for 20 more years.  Not a nice thing for a kid to witness.

And finally, it’s also possible – dare we admit it – that maybe some men are opting to let the wife bring home the bacon while they fry it up in the pan.  And what’s so wrong about that?  My friend Johan in Sweden took 18 months paternity leave to take care of his newborn child, while his wife worked (gotta love Sweden).  And?  The locusts didn’t descent from on high (well, okay, yeah they did), and last time I checked, Johan’s kid didn’t end up with three heads.

I get that the Fox News crowd is upset that America isn’t the way it used be, treating women as chattel and blacks as cattle.  But most of us are pretty happy with the way our country has turned out, warts and all.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. 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, .

Share This Post

  • James

    Mangina alert!

  • Toni Foul

    These men are just jealous how women today thrive. Parenting should be a mutual responsibility between the mother and father of a child. Hence, women or busy moms should not be blamed for the deterioration of our society.
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    super hero action
    figures

  • REPSSUCK!

    Right Wingers are such BIGOTS!

  • Naja pallida

    Not really sure I would be too swayed by the hivemind of 14 year olds.

  • arleeda

    I was in graduate school in biochemistry during the 60s, and was the only woman in many of my classes. The last year I taught–2005–my classes were predominantly female. I too wonder where all the guys have gone. The ones I see in grad school today are mostly foreign-born. Maybe its because only women and foreign students are sufficiently motivated to do the hard work required for an advanced degree. Perhaps now that men realize they don’t have to be the sole breadwinner, they actually want the women to make the money while they stay home–or while they remain perpetually adolescent.

  • MarkInOhio

    The only difference I can see between the Taliban and the Tea Party is that they are defiling different religions. Otherwise, two peas in a pod.

  • Otowner

    That won’t continue for long. I’m a professor teaching graduate courses, and male enrollment is down significantly. The jobs my students will be applying for are in male dominated fields, yet in one class the enrollment is 80% female. Not only do women outnumber men in the classroom, they out perform them as well. I have a roughly equal number of males and female students failing each course, but since women significantly outnumber men that means that a higher percentage of the male students are failing. More female students have 4.0 GPAs as well. I don’t know why the trend exists, but it’s been accelerating over the past ten years or so.

  • Otowner

    Which is why there are fewer and fewer males in the workforce. Employers are, for the most part, cheap and in need of ever greater profits. They would much prefer a female employee who will work twice as hard for 30% less. That’s where pay inequity bites the good ol’ insecure boys in the a**; more unemployment for men across the board.

  • Otowner

    Actually, Marvel and DC have never created villains who are as evil as the modern GOP is.

  • Otowner

    Er,
    he wants to talk about nature and animals? OK- the lioness does the
    hunting and brings home the kill, elephant herds are always lead by a
    matriarch, as are hyena packs. And lets not even get into the male role
    when it comes to spiders and many species of fish: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-BbpaNXbxg

  • devovit

    Those would be MRAs. They think everything is misandry. They think it’s misandry when their candy bars get stuck in the vending machine.

  • pappyvet

    Yep.they can say any hateful thing they want and you dare not defend yourself especially if you do it with wit. boo hoo

  • RepubAnon

    For sexists, the real threat is that they’ve been paying women less and expecting more of them – so, if women start getting promoted to their job level, the sexists have to contend with peers who are doing better work for less pay.

  • RepubAnon

    In the original “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” book, the bad guys made it illegal for women to work so as to encourage them to have babies… it seems odd that the Republicans model their behavior on the bad guys so often.

  • RepubAnon

    Probably part of the “I know you are but what am I?” school of conservative clever comebacks. Right up there with “you mentioned the word ‘race’ when complaining about racism, which proves that you are the real racist” meme so very popular in those circles.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    lol

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Cretinsplain does not understand nutt’n.

  • samizdat

    Banana seat, with the sissy bar. Can’t believe I still remember that…

  • samizdat

    Your two friends’ sad experiences remind me that my late salesman father (WWII veteran, BTW, and in spite of being a ‘salesman’, a man of high integrity) had the same thing happen to him–back in 1973, the year he turned fifty. My mom, too, had to go to work, at first just part-time, but then full time as the commissions and the territorial returns my dad was making from different sales jobs didn’t meet the budget. We finally had to move out of the two-story colonial into a ranch (which wasn’t in the best of shape). Mom, dad, my younger brother and I had to stay two weeks in the basement of someone in the parish, my other brother and two sisters went to stay with friends, while my mom and dad scrambled to find the other house. I was probably about ten at the time. Needless to say, the social and economic consequences from all of this weren’t exactly positive.

    On a personal note, to top it all off, my beloved red Schwinn bike, with the ape-hanger handlebars, and the sissy bar seat (that’s what it was called), was stolen from the front porch of that colonial, shortly before we moved.

  • samizdat

    Lol, sexist? Silly humans…

  • JayRandal

    GOPers are the American version of Taliban. Religious zealots who want women to be barefoot and
    pregnant bearing their offspring. Their hatred of Gays really nutty. We of political left have to stand-up
    to them so never kowtow to their demands like President Obama tends to do.

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

    Pfft. The concept of irony is clearly lost on whoever this person is. Do they even understand you were using it to point out the offensively sexist nature of Dobbs’ remarks?

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

    Plus ensuring that high school and college grads can get decent jobs without a lifetime of financially indentured servitude to pay off ridiculous debts. And how about protected pensions that allow people to retire with dignity and modest comfort while we’re at it?

    I went into the job market right in the middle of the Reagan era. Within two years, this major tech firm (1) eliminated their company pension in favor of 401k’s, (2) eliminated year-end bonuses for salaried employees, (3) instituted a nearly permanent wage and hiring freeze for all us peons and (4) gave its executives lavish bonuses and stock options packages, even though the company was teetering constantly on the brink of bankruptcy due to criminally incompetent business management and unwise leveraged acquisitions.

    By time I left that job after 4 years to go into semi-independent contracting (later fully so), adjusting my salary for inflation, I was earning less per hour than I had been the day they hired me as a total greenhorn out of college. And being required to put in more uncompensated hours because the workloads were ridiculous.

    I’m thinking we really do need a new workers’ movement.

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

    That’s the great unspoken truth in all this. From the 1970s on, wages in America for the lower to middle classes have stagnated or declined. The only way families could find to boost their standard of living was for both partners to have jobs. Then stagnation caught up to that as well, and rather than treading water, more families are sinking.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Someone on reddit complained that “mansplain” is sexist. Uh ok.

  • lynchie

    These old white dinosaurs are in a time warp. Women chained to the bed, barefoot and pregnant. Supper on the table when I get home and I will not tell you when. I look after the bank account and all things financial because your tiny female brain can’t do math. Yikes thankfully they will be dead soon. But the Fox wives on tv and all the little right wing Ann Romneys just love it.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Fuller Bosom” In just one generation ad boobs went from cones to basketballs.

  • SkippyFlipjack

    No wonder they can’t accept gay couples marrying and having kids. They fume at the thought of two daddies out at work while the infant just stays home alone crying.

  • TheOriginalLiz

    If women can support their families, that means men aren’t really indispensable and maybe can’t get away with the crap they have been in the past. And let’s not even talk about the notion of women who want to do something other than clean house and have babies.

  • Hue-Man

    You should have used their proper name – American Taliban. Since the only reason women exist is to raise children, they should stay at home (don’t allow them to leave without an appropriate male escort) and if they need to go out they should be modestly dressed (in burqas). There is no reason to educate them even at kindergarten skill levels because that education is totally wasted given what their role in life is.

    This view of working women as home-wreckers goes a long way to explain the “glass ceiling” which keeps them in subordinate positions. “I’m not promoting you because I don’t want to be responsible for ruining your child-raising environment at home.” I don’t need to point out that the male decision-makers are perfectly happy with the status quo (despite the fact that they are squandering the skills of talented women who could help build a stronger organization). I’m not optimistic that the cultural shifts will occur in the U.S. to make significant changes – the lack of maternity/paternity leave that you referred to is the most obvious starting point.

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

    Lou Dobbs asks his male-only panel how disturbing they find the fact that women are achieving a degree of equality in income and careers.

    Hey Lou, want to know what I think? That you’re a male chauvinist pig. Thank goodness your kind is dying out, one angry old white patriarchist after another.

    On the other hand, as I remarked the other day, we still have a long way to go. In a little while I have another engineering team meeting with a high tech client and I fully expect that once again I will be the only woman attending.

  • Indigo

    Penis worship is very important to the establishment fertility cult. But it’s so sacred it has to be veiled at all times because the wrong people might get the wrong idea. I think Lou Dobbs is perfectly clear, he wants to scratch where it itches. But we’re not going to talk about it. Much . . .

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Lou Snobbs—-a sad little man.

  • Naja pallida

    They want conservative social policies, but can’t seem to fire that neuron which allows them to make the correlation that conservative economic policies directly contradict conservative social policies. If you drive down wages, bust unions, jack up the prices on consumer goods, make health care unaccessible, make it impossible to retire, allow the infrastructure of the places where people live to decay, and then force them to exist in an economy that lurches from bubble to bubble… you don’t think any of that is going to have a direct impact on the family dynamic?

    They want it to be the 1950s again, but refuse to return to the Republican party of Dwight Eisenhower, and instead prefer to delude themselves into believing that the Republican party of Paul Ryan has any goal other than lining their own pockets.

  • loona_c

    Gee, I thought me making more money than my husband was what is actually KEEPING my family together. It’s at least paying the mortgage and keeping us in our house! Silly me.

  • goulo

    Funny yet scary that so many people find it troubling that women can also be breadwinners.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Oh, so it’s horrible and unnatural and the end of the world if both partners have to work? Then let’s work to boost wages and improve social services to make it easier to support a household with only one “breadwinner”!
    *crickets*

  • nicho

    I have two friends who were very successful in their respective careers. Then, the corporatists they worked for decided my friends were making too much money and they could get someone to their job cheaper. So they got bounced. Because of their ages, they have been unable to find similar work. So their wives, by default, have become the “primary breadwinners.”

  • Attaturk

    Maybe Republicans shouldn’t spend so much time and effort not only stratifying “MOM” but also, oh I dunno, NOT CRUSHING DAD’S UNION!?

  • Peter

    Old white men who just cannot believe they are not the majority and don’t have the final say so in life anymore. Good riddance to them I say as they go the way of the dinosaurs.

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