The Female Breadwinner, Ctd

May 31 2013 @ 12:05pm

Erik Erickson’s claim (seen above) about the rise of female breadwinners:

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 complementary role. We’ve lost the ability to have complementary relationships … and it’s tearing us apart.

I’m the furthest from a social constructionist on gender as you can imagine. Any policy that assumes identical needs and wants and temperaments among men and women is doomed to failure. We are biologically different as soon as testosterone arrives (but not before, when we are all default females). But that emphatically doesn’t mean male supremacy. Difference does not have to be hierarchical – and, in my view, tendencies toward making differences into hierarchies are immoral. But Erickson reveals the true beliefs of so many in the fundamentalist GOP. Wilkinson’s reply:

Mr Erickson’s appeal to the natural order points to a … conservative folly: the tendency to imagine the familiar, recent past in especial accord with timeless human nature. Once one considers how far we’ve come since the Pleistocene—what with all our capitalism, nation-states, dentistry and cable news—this sort of biological essentialism seems unbecoming of conservatives who, if they are about anything worthwhile, are about the defence and advancement of civilisation. The defence of atavistic privilege, which invariably proceeds on the basis of specious claims about natural hierarchy, is the hardy, incivil part of conservatism.

Or as someone once put it, art is man’s nature. Derek Thompson adds:

The majority of female breadwinners are single moms, who face an extraordinary tension between working pay and raising children. But I didn’t hear Erickson mention the phrase “single moms.” He was talking about women earning more than men. And the fact that some married women are out-earning their husbands isn’t tragic. It’s inevitable. And it’s good.

After millennia of the subjugation of women, it’s also exhilarating for all of humankind. That today’s GOP doesn’t really feel that at all is a sign of its decay and alienation from modern America.

In the long segment seen below, Megyn Kelly tears into Erickson: