The gig's up, ladies — Suzanne Venker, niece of doddering antifeminist icon Phyllis Schlafly (Proposed official logo of antifeminism: "WE CAN'T DO IT!" emblazoned across a picture of Schlafly holding a Math book upside down), finally had the courage to tell the world the truth about What's Really Going On: a war on men. Yes, this great nation's modern women, who have abandoned their former status as submissive babycaves, have arrived to chew bubblegum and kick man-ass ... and they're all out of bubblegum. If you're a lady who wasn't aware that you were part of a warring faction of the country, that's okay — we've tapped into the wisdom of the ancients and compiled a collection of inspiring quotes for women who want to bring their A-game to the war on men they didn't know they've been fighting this whole time.
Venker's piece for Fox News, which extrapolated from changing attitudes about marriage that there's an entire subculture of men who don't want to get married, and that's because women are scaring them away by competing with them, was roundly mocked for being stupid, mindless garbage that paints women as testicle eating castrators and men as delicate babies upset that their feelings aren't being appropriately catered to. Women aren't letting men "win" in this ongoing battle of the sexes, and in response, men are taking their ball(s) and going home. Marital Lysistrata, if you will.
But let's imagine, for shits/giggles, that Venker is onto something. How would one even fight a "war on men?" How would we know if we'd "won"? For guidance, let's consult Sun Tzu's The Art of War.
"Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak."
This means cry a lot when you're feeling extra tough. Men hate it when women cry.
But, on a less obvious level, this also means that we should refrain from correcting Venker and her ilk when they cite dusty statistics like the one that claims that women are now the majority of workers in the US — they were, for, like, a second in 2009. But that horrid gender imbalance quickly corrected itself as men were hired to fill 70% of the jobs during the "recovery" phase of the Great Recession. Further, according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued this year, women aren't even projected to hold a majority of of jobs by the year 2020. According to the Feminist Agenda I was issued in college, that was the year that we were supposed to send all of the men to live on an island! We're way off track!
"Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across."
Venkel says we've "pushed men off their pedestal" but also pushed ourselves off of our own pedestal and now there are all these empty pedestals just standing there sadly like prom decorations. Feminism has sown a complicated forest of pedestals, basically. But rather than pushing men, why not present them with an awesome, fun way to gleefully skip away from masculinity, thus leaving the top of the dogpile open to scheming feminists?
Why not do it through fashion? In a Times piece from this weekend that spent a surprisingly long time talking about how men like slimmer fitting suits now, this bit jumped out at me,
Men's wear sales are surging at double-digit rates. Suits, sports coats and outerwear, nearly all bought by men themselves, are leading the gains, according to Steve Pruitt, founder of the fashion and retail consulting firm Blacks Retail. Blacks projects that men's suit sales will be up 10 percent this fall and holiday season, and sports jacket sales will be up 11 percent, while women's ready-to-wear sales remain flat.
"Men are the new women," Bret Pittman, director of J. Crew's Ludlow Shop in TriBeCa in Manhattan, told me when I stopped in recently for a tour of the new store, the prototype for a line that will feature men's suits and tailored clothing.
Crippling clothing neuroticism is that mythical golden bridge for men to retreat across. Or, rather, catwalk.
"To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy."
In a radio appearance in 2011, Venker remarked that if her 11-year-old daughter told her that she wanted to be a brain surgeon when she grew up, Venker would feel it was her duty as a mother to shit all over her kid's dreams. Because babies.
I have an eleven year-old daughter and if we got into the conversation of what am I going to be in X number of years and she comes to me and says "Mom, I want to be a brain surgeon," I would ask her "Okay, is there anything else that you want in your life?"
And if she presumably then says "well, I'd like to get married and have children too," I'd say "then you'd probably better pick something else."
So does this mean that women should all become brain surgeons if we want to DEFEAT THE MEN? Not exactly; we're not fighting a war on brain surgeons. But we should try to do as many manly things as possible, so as to best equip us to win whatever contest it is in which we're currently embattled. So, ladies, scratch your crotch, throw overhand, chew tobacco, and slap other men in the ass when they perform well for the team.
Wait — never mind. That's not "being a man;" that's baseball.
"Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."
Venker writes that the best way for women to win the war on men, or, win the battle for marriage, or the fight to regain the pedestal (by the end of the piece, it's not exactly clear what the piece is about; suffice to say Venker thinks feminists are bad and also maybe is trying hard to get a bitter divorced man to go out with her? Unsure.) is to surrender to our "femininity." Femininity is not having a giant bush, rich pheromone-y armpits undisguised by deodorant and referring to yourself as "Mother goddess, source of all life and desire." Femininity means being small and quiet and pink, like a ladies' razor or a palmed junior tampon. Thin and sweet and unoffensive with SEC sorority hair and stenciled kitchen walls and frilly aprons. Commercial femininity, not natural femininity — there's a big difference.
From this assertion, we must conclude that the way to WIN whatever it is we're fighting over is not to surrender to what Venker's aunt told her a real woman is, but rather to be passive, but merciless bonerkillers. Show no mercy. Let no boner survive. Don't comb your hair, wear high heels, or apply lipstick. No perfume, no tight pants, no pilates. The ene-men will be so demoralized by a lack of boobies in tight blue fuzzy sweaters that they'll have no choice but to surrender their power to us women.
"If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him."
The "war on men" hasn't left men defeated, asserts Venker, it has left them "pissed off."
Good. Irritating your enemy is an important component of defeating him, according to The Art of War. But there are other things women can do to irritate their men into submission. For example, I sometimes throw wet towels on the bed when I'm getting dressed, which makes my fiancee super mad. A lot of men don't like it when you hog the remote control, so do that. Walk really slowly in front of men on sidewalks, and talk loudly on your phone when you're next to them on the train. Talk about your period a lot. Tell them their favorite sports team and/or band sucks, and then make up fake statistics to back it up ("47% of Kid Cudi fans have exceptional difficulty achieving erections." "It is a fact that Matt Barkley of the USC Trojans looks like a date rapist from a Lifetime original movie.") Fart a lot. Pay for your coffee in change. Get on the bus during rush hour solely to ask the bus driver for directions. Make up a fake anniversary and get angry with the man in your life if he doesn't remember. Get creative. There are literally millions of ways to irritate men.
"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."
This is a more appropriate warning for the men who keep on with this War on Women nonsense even though they don't know an ovary from their own taints. But that's another lesson for another time.
So, ladies, while we may not have known that we've been at war, victory is clearly within our grasp. Soon, we'll all have the browbeaten, self-hating husbands of our dreams.
Photo via ftelkov/Shutterstock