Outnumbered is a Fox News program in which four female panelists invite various tentacles of the patriarchy on air. Together, they all express loud confusion at various topics, including but not limited to "Beyoncé voters" and nubility. This week they discussed sexism, and it was terrible.
Gene Simmons' qualifications for discussing sexism on Fox News are probably that he defended racism earlier this week. Interesting take, thought everyone at Fox. Let's see what he's got to say about gender stuff.
And, boy, did he have some stuff to say! In the clip, while discussing a 2012 study on "benevolent sexism" that recently went viral after being covered on Medium, known gender theorist Gene Simmons passionately argues in favor of men holding the door open for women... against.... um... those feminists who really, really care about opening doors for themselves. You know the ones. The angry ones. Doors are their number one priority. These feminists, like, don't even mind that 70 percent of minimum-wage jobs are held by women or that one in four women will be sexually assaulted in college or that women's reproductive autonomy is being insidiously eroded throughout the country. They're fucking pissed about the doors.
If opening the door means you get special treatment, we want to treat you special. We want to treat you like the princesses you are... If anything, if you were a princess, EVERYBODY would open doors for you! You'd walk through, and — I don't want to do the joke, but — [puts on falsetto voice, waves hand like beauty queen], "We are arriving!" You'd want all the doors to open, and why not?
You know, if you take a look at history, you've been treated badly, you haven't had equal job opportunities, for God's sake, the vote hasn't been yours for that many years in the first place! Why not open the doors?
Noted Gender Theorist Gene Simmons: "If you take a look at history, women have been treated badly."
But all of this is actually consistent with the study's findings: it found that, when young women receive special treatment based on gender, it's oftentimes part of a pattern of sexist behavior ("being treated badly," as Gene Simmons would say). Benevolent sexism doesn't happen in a void; it happens in a world in which women and men are treated unfairly. Taken together, these two forces "restrict what the woman can and cannot do by setting up rewards and punishments when they engage in gender non-conforming behaviors," write the authors. In other words, calling me a princess is nice, and I would appreciate it if we lived in a matriarchal utopia in which everyone is a princess, men included — but calling me a princess because you expect me to be docile and mild-mannered and then actively replicating social norms that punish me for not being docile and mild-mannered sucks. Of course, the context of the study doesn't matter because everyone on Outnumbered is having such a fun time dismissing feminism over a straw man argument about door-holding.
From there, things take a turn for the beautiful and absurd: Gene Simmons implies that women would castrate men for failing to open doors, saying that men hold the door open because "If not..." and then making an ominous scissors-snipping motion in front of his face. "Oh, my!" says an unseen Outnumbered panelist nervously. "Is that covered under Obamacare?" retorts Kimberly Guilfoyle (the brown-haired one). Everyone laughs uncomfortably. "Probably not," utters Gene from beneath his large hair. Yes, if privately-held corporations are not required to cover contraception for their female employees, then I doubt that the Affordable Care Act will cover ritualistic castration ceremonies.
"Feminism should start and stop at earning capacity, not social, sort of, environment [things] and the difference between feminine and masculine and stuff like that," concludes Gene. I genuinely think that everyone at Fox News thinks that feminism is a social movement centered entirely around chiding men for doing platitudinal acts of politeness (because the wage gap is a lie, duh). Sweet little princes and princesses of the Kingdom of Ignorance, a realm with no doors and no glass ceilings.
Image via Fox News.