Here’s a fun game you can play the next time watch Fox & Friends — though, and I cannot stress this enough, you really should only be watching Fox & Friends to play this game or for other satirical purposes, as it’s a program with the net effect of an aluminum bat to the forehead, intellectually speaking. The game is called “Sure! If You’re a Fucking Idiot!,” and it goes like this: every time one of the Fox bobbleheads poses one of their “just asking!” questions, cheerfully reply, “Sure! If you’re a fucking idiot!” And then change the channel. (You can also play this game during most of Fox’s programming.) And on yesterday’s F&F, they posed this humdinger: “Are female breadwinners a problem?”
It’s the wording of the question that’s truly comic — not “Are female breadwinners on the rise,” not “Are female breadwinners changing gender roles,” no, no, “Are female breadwinners a problem,” like bed bugs or rickets. And the answer to that question is, all together now, sure! If you’re a fucking idiot.
To debate this provocative question, co-host Clayton Morris wasn’t joined by, say, a female executive who is a family breadwinner, or one of these poor emasculated Mr. Mom fellows. (Truth be told, on a Sunday morning, most of both are probably enjoying some much-needed sleep.) No, he was joined by a Fox Business News host, a domesticity blogger, and, um, Miss New York USA 2013. Totally logical panel, hope the bookers got a nice bonus.
Morris went the man first (obviously) to ask: “Is there a problem with men earning less than women in the household, and do you think that it could throw off — that it actually could cause big marital problems?” Which, sure, it could, if you’re a fucking idiot. (See how easy it is?) To his credit, FBN host Kmele Foster comes out of the segment looking pretty good — while acknowledging that such an arrangement “could cause problems” and sneers from “friends and family and people that are very judgmental” (like, oh, Fox News viewers and hosts?), Foster states that a strong relationship based on support shouldn’t be “a fundamental problem that you can’t overcome.”
But Mr. Morris just can’t get his tiny brain around his deeply ingrained ME MAN ME MAKE MONEY GRRR instincts:
I get the cultural argument, guys. I mean, I can see how — we can all weave our way through cultural issues. But isn’t there some sort of biological, innate need for men to be the caveman? Go out and bring home the dinner and actually go out — Is it emasculating if we don’t do it?
And, to be fair to Mr. Morris, it is emasculating to not “bring home the dinner” — if (here we go again) you’re a fucking idiot. “A lot of men base a lot of their identity on being able to take care of their family, and kind of bring home the bacon, and I think that is a little bit emasculating for them,” insists blogger Kris Schoels, noting that, “as a woman, you like being taken care of.” And while Joanne Nosuchinsky, our aforementioned former Miss New York, grants that “there are other ways you can take care of your family,” it’s within the framework that “you can be the head of the household without being the one that makes the most money.” See, so as long as the man is still in charge, the specifics don’t matter, patriarchy still wins, hurray!
The fact that such a notion — that of course the man is still the head of the family, obvi — is the far-out moderate view on this issue tells you a lot about the weird little bubble world that Fox and its viewers live in, and how loudly and alarmingly they shit their pants every time one of these studies about female breadwinners surface:
Such hilariously backwards thinking is usually just a spectator sport, but I’ve actually got a dog in this hunt. My wife has been out-earning me for years, because a) she’s brilliant and amazing, and b) she works in television, and I do, y’know, this. I can tell you, without exaggeration, that which of us was bringing home the bigger paycheck has never been a concern, for either of us; it’s all going into the same pot, and going out towards the same concerns, and I certainly don’t think there should be less money involved in either of those transactions due to some kind of bass-ackwards 1950s notion of pride and masculinity. And when we started a family, it took about four minutes of not-very-complicated math to realize that we were going to spend most of my contribution on full-time child care, so we decided I’d go part-time, and take care of the baby while she’s off slaying the dragon.
So I change diapers. I give bottles. I feed the baby and put her down for naps. I keep the house clean, and I do the laundry. And here’s what’s wild about all that: it’s not that big a deal. It’s almost comical how small of a deal it is. It certainly doesn’t seem “emasculating,” and I shudder to imagine being the kind of person who can feel his own manhood threatened by something as innocuous as sorting clothing by color. Morris doesn’t realize how accidentally insightful his line of questioning is — when he talks about “the need for men to be the caveman,” he couldn’t put a finer point on it. That’s Neanderthal thinking. What say we evolve a little?
But that’s just me. Fucking idiots’ mileage may vary.