Woman-power

A new Pew Research Center study shows that a record four in 10 moms in U.S. households are either the sole or primary source of income for the family. That’s up from 11% in 1960. Progress! Slow, sweet progress.

Of course, the hand-wringers over at Fox News are HAVING A LEVEL 10 FREAKOUT about this development as evidenced by this clip (below) THAT I CAN’T EVEN BELIEVE IS REAL.

Says a very grave Lou Dobbs: “I’d like to turn to a study showing that women have become the breadwinners in this country and a lot of other concerning and troubling statistics.”

Really let that last part sink in for a moment.

The fact more women are providing for their families is being characterized as a concerning and troubling statistic — the implication being that if you’re a mom who works, you’re obvs also the world’s worst mother and wife. (Also: concerning AND troubling, Lou? Consider my eyebrow arched.)

Now, my second reaction, after the throwing and the guttural rage noises, was to say, “Eh. It’s Fox News. A troll network for trolls.” But here’s the thing: this isn’t some easily dismissed, little-read, angry sweaty man blog. This is, for a lot of people, THE NEWS.

To really work this whole Women in the Workforce: A National Crisis angle, Dobbs, naturally, turns to three other men. Juan Williams, a Fox News political analyist, proves to be the shrill fatalist of the group, saying that we’re “seeing the disintegration of marriage” and “something going terribly wrong in American society and it’s hurting our children.” WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!! (I don’t really see how making sure children have a safe place to sleep, food to eat, access to education and maybe some piano or T-ball lessons HURTS them, but K.)

“You mention children — and those are the children who survive,” continues Dobbs. Let’s take a moment to admire what is, admittedly, the (working) mother of all segues. “Fifty-four million abortions since Roe v. Wade.” My eyes. The rolling. Then Lou sputters out some non-sequitur about wanting to know how abortion “impacts high-school dropouts.”

Wait, what?

Doesn’t having reproductive education/options/rights actually decrease the rate of high-school dropouts? You know, so a girl doesn’t have to quit school to have a baby and then become one of those good-for-nothing welfare queens you hate so much? Just so we’re clear: every fetus is a precious gift — until it grows up into a lifelong punishment for not keeping one’s legs closed. Got it.

Moving on! Then we get this A+ BECAUSE SCIENCE! analysis from Fox News contributor Erick Erickson.

“But liberals who defend this are actually anti-science. When you look at biology, when you look at the natural world and the roles of a male and female in society and other animals, the male is the dominant role, the female is not anthesis or not competing; it’s a complementary role.

“We as people in a smart society have lost the ability to have complementary relationships in nuclear families and it’s tearing us apart.”

Slow clap, Erick. That’s solid reasoning. Because human beings and other animals are EXACTLY the same. Maybe we should also go back to living in caves! And hey, while we’re looking at roles in the natural world, maybe females should be allowed to eat males after mating! Also, by ‘complementary’ you mean ‘men have positional power, women know their place.’

Because women, doing what needs to be done to pay the bills, to provide for themselves and a family, is a “catastrophic issue” that threatens to “undermine our social order.”

Ah. There it is.

So really, dudes of Fox News, you’re CONCERNED AND TROUBLED because working women threaten the patriarchy. All this whining about ‘protecting children’ and ‘protecting marriage’ and ‘protecting the nuclear family’ and ‘protecting the American dream’ is really just a coded way of saying ‘protecting the oppressive system on which all my values are based.’ Which, FYI, is why the idea of marriage equality is met with similar sky-is-falling commentary.

I’m making jokes, but I’m not laughing. The fact that in 2013 people think this way — and are given a high-profile outlet to spew such misogyny — is terrifying. I’ll be over here on my fainting couch if anyone needs me.