Slate Writer Hammers Venker Book

I’m sure you remember Suzanne Venker, Phyllis Schlafly’s niece and the author of the appalling Fox News article about the mythical “war on men.” She has a new book out called How to Choose a Husband and Allison Benedikt has a hilarious review of it at Slate. I’ll just quote the beginning and you can read the rest:

There is a lot of Steve Harvey in Suzanne Venker’s new book, How To Choose a Husband, a 12-step guide for women seeking a lasting union in a culture that prepares them for anything but. The comedian and Family Feud host is quoted as an expert on marital sex: “Please—puhleeze—don’t hold out on the cookie. We don’t care about anything else.” Harvey on manhood: “Everything [a man] does is filtered through his title (who he is), how he gets that title (what he does), and the reward he gets for the effort (how much he makes). These three things make up the basic DNA of manhood.” And Harvey on female power: “Your power comes from one simple thing: you’re a woman….you’re the ultimate prize for us.”

Other supporting texts for Venker’s arguments for a return to female “deference” in the face of our post-feminist “You go, girl” world include He’s Just Not That Into You, Fifty Shades of Grey, and Mona Lisa Smile. Venker cites major research articles such as HuffPo’s “How The Notebook Has Ruined Me,” E! Online’s “Jennifer Lopez Talks Adoption, Life as a Single Mom, and Having More Kids,” and the classic “Facebook comment a twentysomething male posted in response to a woman who said she felt honored to be the Other Woman in her man’s life because his wife was one of those ‘submissive’ types.” According to Venker, “The best example of male and female nature was depicted in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

Clearly Venker, a conservative writer who made a splash late last year with her trolling FoxNews.com essay, “The War on Men,” has done her homework for this latest entry in the burgeoning academic field of “Marriage is Dying!!!!” So it’s a real shame to find that all of the hours she spent whittling down her Netflix queue, the bathroom time she devoted to reading celebrity magazines as she pooped out roses on her lady throne, and the minutes—all those minutes!—she passed Googling “Marcia Cross and fertility” and surfing Facebook were in the service of this conclusion: The best way to bag a husband is to detox from feminism, “return to femininity,” tune out your mom and friends, stay away from pop culture, don’t shack up without a ring, “marry the accountant, not the artist.” And once you do find a man: Be sweet, give him lots of sex, and don’t talk too much.

And Susan B. Anthony wept. Now, I’m a single, straight guy. Never been married, but came close a couple of times, and I certainly don’t have any fear of commitment. But this old vision of women as silent, obedient objects whose only worth is in bed is pretty much the last thing I would ever want in a woman. I’d be more than happy with lots of sex, of course, but out of obedience? Out of obligation? No thanks. The last thing I would ever want is a Stepford wife.

20 comments on this post.
  1. eric:

    Sounds like it could be a very useful guide to relationships – just do the opposite of what she says, and you’ll be happy.

  2. d.c.wilson:

    Life in the Schafky clan must be worse than being trapped in an endless cycle of Leave it to Beaver reruns.

  3. shouldbeworking:

    As my dad used to say” no one is completely useless. You can always be used as a bad ample or a warning to others”.

  4. marcus:

    Be sure to go over to Amazon and review this piece of sexist garbage, it”s rated far too high right now.

  5. bbgunn:

    “You can always be used as a bad ample or a warning to others”.

    Or as fertilizer.

  6. raven:

    Divorce Rates Among Conservative Christians vs. Atheists and …
    intentious. com /…/divorce-rates-among-conservative-christians-vs-ath…

    Jan 25, 2011 – George Barna, president and founder of Barna Research Group, found divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher …

    Divorce rates for fundie xians are higher than other groups. Atheists had about the lowest rate.

    Offhand, Suzanne Vencker’s advice is most likely to end up in short, unhappy marriages. No surprise.

  7. laurentweppe:

    At first, I thought “Wow, they want men to threat their wives like pets”, then it hit me: treat a pet like Suzanne Venker tells you to treat your wife, and you’ll get condemned for animal cruelty, which says a lot about her advices’ worth

  8. Raging Bee:

    But this old vision of women as silent, obedient objects whose only worth is in bed is pretty much the last thing I would ever want in a woman.

    Which is why being that kind of woman often completely fails to make for a deep, lasting, or faithful relationship. Yes, us guys want wives who are obedient, respectful, and eager to get naked with us — but we also want partners who are HONEST and INTERESTING, and who share our interests with sincerity and energy, not just “Yes, my Lord” obedience. Us guys are nowhere near as simple as idiots like Venker think we are, and we have lots of ridiculously contradictory needs and desires. So do women, and that’s why simpleminded rules like Venker’s just don’t work.

    As for sex, give a guy a choice between a woman who has sex with him because she knows it’s her duty, and a woman who has sex with him because she clicked with him, she likes him, and just decided she WANTS to, and is horny — and guess which one the guy will find most attractive that night. Hint: it will very often NOT be the obedient wife.

  9. oranje:

    “Marry the accountant, not the artist.”

    *le sigh*

  10. Abby Normal:

    How cute, she wrote a “book.” As long as she doesn’t let it interfere with the development of her culinary skills, I say let her put down whatever silly scribbles make her happy. Allowing these little hobbies can really help keep her quiet when the men are doing their important man stuff.

  11. suttkus:

    raven: “Offhand, Suzanne Vencker’s advice is most likely to end up in short, unhappy marriages. No surprise.”

    Don’t be silly. The women who follow her advice will find domineering husbands who will be quite happy with silent, obedient wives. The only way that could end in divorce is if the woman stops following Vencker’s advice! Therefore, any failure of the marriage becomes a failure to follow her advice, not a failure of the advice. Brilliant!

  12. Gretchen:

    I’d be more than happy with lots of sex, of course, but out of obedience? Out of obligation? No thanks. The last thing I would ever want is a Stepford wife.

    Coincidentally, I was looking up a book today that I’m interested in reading called Why Women Have Sex, by Cindy Meston and David Buss, and came across the following review:

    This book is nonsense. They rely on almost nothing but their own shallow study that proves very little when there are mountains of studies showing interesting information, much of which contradicts key themes of the book. For example, they argue men want sex more than women, and yet a study by the Kinsley Institute just recently showed the reverse, as have other studies. In fact, one groundbreaking study even proved that women are radical liars when it comes to sex surveys. Even anonymous ones. Also, the book is hilarious in the way in talks in all seriousness about women’s “sexual power” and how that can manipulate and control men just because of a few statements from their own subjects. One quote “For females it’s easy to keep a man under control through sex” was just the last straw. No man who isn’t completely stupid would ever tolerate such manipulation. The only “power” these women would have is to make themselves lonely. It also refers to “9 percent of women” as if it meant women in general, which is bizarre. But once again, the most ridiculous part of their book is the way they actual write about women being able to use sex to bargain as if it were a normal, legitimate thing to do. They do not mention how this “power” is absolutely hilarious and that no one would ever take such a person seriously. This book is full of ridiculous notions of men being weak to women; that women can control them through their genitals. And as a man I can personally attest that many of the reasons “women” have sex have nothing to do with them being women at all, just human. In fact, in some cases they refer to a feeling of power a woman derives, which is actually what the MAN always feels. The man is the one feeling power, not the woman. He is the one thrusting insider her, forcing his manliness on her and feeling like a man. This book would have done best to use other studies and just ditch theirs.

  13. A Hermit:

    The last thing I would ever want is a Stepford wife.

    I was at the apartment of this young woman I liked one morning and she asked me if I’d like a cup of coffee. I said yes, and she said, “great, make enough for me to have a cup too”…so I did. I often think that was the moment I actually fell in love.

    Thirty years later she told me she had been about to get up and make that coffee, but decided she didn’t want to become one of those women who felt she had to wait on “her man” hand and foot and that if it turned out that I didn’t like it that was my loss.

  14. Modusoperandi:

    raven “Divorce rates for fundie xians are higher than other groups. Atheists had about the lowest rate.”
    This raises bigger questions, like “How are atheists managing to destroy so many Good Christian Marriages?” It’s the gayhomos, probably.
     
    suttkus “The only way that could end in divorce is if the woman stops following Vencker’s advice!”
    Or the woman ages. Or, in Gingrich’s case, he loves the country so much that he has to dip his quill in another well. Luckily he respects the Sanctity of Marriage® enough that he’ll wait for her to get sick before divorcing her.

  15. Nick Gotts (formerly KG):

    Yes, us guys want wives who are obedient – Raging Bee

    WTF?

  16. naturalcynic:

    According to Venker, maybe I should put Petruchio on my name tag.

  17. sailor1031:

    @KG: not what raging bee wrote. read it again

  18. Aliasalpha:

    But this old vision of women as silent, obedient objects whose only worth is in bed is pretty much the last thing I would ever want in a woman

    Hard to imagine even hardcore misogynists wanting that because it’d mean their pet woman was a crap cook

  19. democommie:

    Reading a review of yet another Shitflyfamily jeremiad is approximately as utile as putting one’s scarred hand into yet another fire to see if it still hurts.,

  20. DaveL:

    The last thing I would ever want is a Stepford wife.

    Indeed, I don’t think I could stand being the only person in my marriage.

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