Unhappy? Maybe you're just not committed to your outdated gender role.Ladies, you can relax now. According to author Suzanne Venker to find a husband all you need to do is "just be nice, cook, and have sex!"
That's just part of the no-hassle formula Venker prescribes young women in her new advice book, How to Choose a Husband, out next week. As it turns out, being completely submissive and giving up on your dreams to marriage and motherhood is the best way to maintain a healthy relationship.
This appears to be the message behind Venker's latest book. The author, considered by some the Ann Coulter of relationship advice, has built a writing career on challenging feminism and questioning contemporary female freedoms. That's gotten her attention, and some enemies in the past. With this book, she'll probably make some new ones. Slate writer Allison Benedikt has already taken Venker to task in her book review published Friday. "Venker thinks women like me—working mothers who expect things from their husbands—are unhappy, and are making their spouses and children unhappy too," Benedikt writes. "And Venker thinks she gives good advice." You be the judge. Here's a sample of Venker's advice for husband-hunters.
• Men are hunters, and it's their natural role to go out and bring home the bacon. Women, on the other hand, are gathers who "like to get all dressed up and prance about in their heels. And men love to watch women prance about in their heels. That's the yin and yang of gender relations."
• Venker wants us all to know what our mothers are to blame—that the man hating women's movement that began in the 70s, you know, when women were struggling for equal pay? This is the reason why we've been unable to lock down a man. Our mothers "were wrong to tell their daughters they could never rely on a man."
• "The "You Go, Girl" world in which they've been raised goes completely counter to the life of a wife and mother. It is downright daunting to reconcile the reality of marriage, which demands selflessness and capitulate (on the part of both spouses) with a worldview that extols female autonomy. "
• "You also need to recognize your enemy. The culture is working against you every step of the way . . . At the moment, the single greatest problem your generation faces is the relentless anti-male/pro-female rhetoric you're exposed to. It's inescapable."
Gasp. Before getting on my sarcastic high-horse and riding off into the sunset of smug feminism, there is one thing I agree with Venker on, namely, the idea that "having it all" is near to impossible. Any woman who's worked a full-time job in addition to being married and having a family knows that "having it all," is more like "I haven't had time to wash my hair or get more than two hours of sleep a night much less have sex with my husband."
Therefore, it seems hypocritical that Venker, through her inexplicable celebrity expert comedian Steve Harvey, emphasizes how essential it is to satisfy your husband sexually, above all else. "Please—puhleeze—don't hold out on the cookie," Harvey pleads. "We don't care about anything else."
I may be a feminist, but that fact doesn't prevent me from believing that there are men in this world who want to be married to a smart, successful woman who has professional goals that are independent from her marriage. I also believe that there are men out there who care about other things in life than just sex.
It's a fairly large assumption to make-that all men want a return to a 1950s mentality, when their family was completely dependent on the success of their job. And just because a marriage survives doesn't necessarily mean it's a happy one.
You could take Venker's advice from How to Choose a Husband and live a life of submission. But why would you sell yourself short when you could marry a guy who loves you for you, when you're prancing about in your high heels on your way to work?