Back in the day, there was a sweet woman, a minister's wife, Mrs. Norman Vincent Peale ('cause who needs a first name if you're a wife?), who published a book called, "The Adventure of Being a Wife." That was in 1971. Long time ago.
"No job, no hobby, no activity on earth can compare with the drama and exhilaration of living with a man, loving him, doing your best to understand his infinitely complex mechanism and helping him to make it hum and sing and soar the way it was designed to do."
By all accounts, she had a fine marriage and was married to a fine man - but her words, even in 1971, were slightly archaic, coming as they did during the period of time called "second wave feminism;" feminist activists such as Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem saw their stars rising and discrimination based on gender became a Constitutional violation. (Of course, over 40 years later, little has changed; if anything, our reproductive rights and family planning decisions, thanks to right-wing Republican extremists and a conservative activist Supreme Court, are more threatened than ever. We aren't even guaranteed the contraceptive of our choice. But that's all for another day.)
Today, though, "Princeton Mom" Susan Patton occupied a cozy spot on the couch in the Fox & Friends studio, and blamed feminism for women putting careers over hearth and home, advised college-age women to spend their time in college finding a husband, and - oh, yeah - chided women for failing to properly appreciate their men. Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy lapped it up. As reported by Think Progress, Patton argued that,
"Men . . . must be appreciated and respected, perhaps with a drink at the end of a long work day or gratitude and kindness. After all, should a woman alienate her husband, she’ll spend the rest of her life searching for a suitable replacement."
We will? Oh, right, sure we will. There's nothing like being a slave to mens' needs to make a woman want to rush right out and find another master. But what the Fox & Friends hosts, of course, don't point out, but what we note, is that Patton, along with Phyllis Schlafly and Dr. Laura and others before her, are making careers out of telling women to stay home and tend to their men. Patton's out hawking her book. Dr. Laura - pre "N-word" - hosted a mean-spirited radio show, taking jabs at female independence and condemning working mothers. Phyllis Schlafly is still lurking out there somewhere beating the "feminism is killing us" drum, working against gay rights and encouraging Republicans to work harder for the "white vote."
Gotta wonder what the Fox agenda is around this, 'cause even for Fox & Friends, this Patton lady is tripe. Maybe Fox is looking at the employment numbers, realizing that women are largely back to their pre-crash employment levels (while men largely aren't), and are thinking that they really, really need to do something to get these pesky chicks out of the work force so the men can get "their" jobs back. After all, it worked after World War II: The men came back, and voila, the mythical utopia of stay-at-home moms became vogue, and the men shoved the women out of the workforce so they could regain their proper places, with promises to women of cherub-cheeked children and houses with picket fences and free time galore. Or, maybe, Fox is drawing feminist lines in the sand, preparing for a potential Hillary Clinton run in 2016 - and preparing themselves to deride strong, capable women.
But whatever the Fox agenda, this isn't the 50's. Women aren't going anywhere. Grant you, we're not going anywhere really fast, either, but we're not leaving. Mrs. Norman Vincent Peale's appeal has waned, Dr. Laura was fired, and Schlafly is probably cutting coupons somewhere. And, as Pulitzer prize winning journalist, Susan Faludi, author of "Backlash," noted in the early 90's,
". . . the much ballyhooed claim that feminism is responsible for making women miserable becomes absurd—and irrelevant . . . the afflictions ascribed to feminism are all myths. From 'the man shortage' to 'the infertility epidemic' to 'female burnout' . . . these so-called female crises have had their origins not in the actual conditions of women's lives but rather in a closed system that starts and ends in the media, popular culture, and advertising—and endless feedback loop that perpetuates and exaggerates its own false images of womanhood . . . ."
As the misogynistic, racist, old white folks network, Fox is doing a splendid job of pandering to its GOP benefactors. Good to have something to count on.