In what perhaps is one of Fox News’ most sexist segments ever to air, Phyllis Schlafly's niece Suzanne Venker argued that women ought to be “more compliant and less dictatorial” in their marriages, because it is the “natural state” for men to be the “alpha” and women to be the “beta.” Venker claimed that “the relationship deteriorates” when women start “micromanaging everything,” become an “alpha” wife, and are “nagging, perfectionist, [and tell] him what he’s doing wrong.” Venker concluded, “Men are so simple to love. All they want is sex, companionship and respect.” At one point, co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked Venker to “please” “give us some tips” on how women should behave in marriages.
This segment continued a long history of sexism from both Fox & Friends and Venker. Fox & Friends hosted a panel of men in 2015 debating whether women should be allowed to wear leggings. Co-host Brian Kilmeade has a track record of degrading women on air, and former co-host Gretchen Carlson, who repeatedly experienced sexism from her two male co-hosts, named Steve Doocy in a lawsuit alleging that he regularly treated her “in a sexist and condescending way.” Venker has previously written that feminism has eliminated all of men’s incentives to marry.
From the February 9 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): You think women are doing something wrong, in what way?
SUZANNE VENKER: I think that, ultimately, what women are struggling with -- especially what I'm calling the “alpha woman,” and you can replace that with a “type A,” it doesn't have to be the word alpha -- but that they struggle getting in touch with their feminine side. That, ultimately, this is a book about helping women, like myself. This is very much a memoir -- part memoir, part advice book -- talking about my experience and my own mother growing up who was very much an alpha and never could shift out of that mode, and it caused a lot of problems. There was a lot of contention there.
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): And one of the problems you say is, when men and women enter a relationship, in the beginning, generally the man is the alpha and the woman is the beta.
VENKER: So, that's how almost all relationships start, right? You, as a man, make the phone call. You pay the bill. You actually even ask the woman to marry you, right?
KILMEADE: Unless it's a Sadie Hawkins dance, right?
VENKER: Right, unless it’s Sadie Hawkins. So, in that natural state, a woman is much more receptive to your energy. They are on the receiving end. And I think what happens over time after you have been married a really long time, especially once kids come into the picture, is that women get into this mode of just sort of micromanaging everything.
They're working, they’re not working, but if they’re not working they’re raising their kids, so they’re working at that, and therefore they’re micromanaging that. And that's all fine, but if they don't switch over into wife mode, kind of back where they were when you started, I think the relationship begins to deteriorate.
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): So the beta becomes an alpha, and then the man becomes confused, and maybe she should be the beta?
VENKER: Yes, precisely.
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Can you give us some tips? Please?
VENKER: Yes. So, I’ll put this down. I was going to use this as a prop. This is my prop to show that in order for batteries to work you need the positive and the negative energy to go together. Right?
DOOCY: OK. Two positives not good. Two negatives not good.
VENKER: The goal is to get one of each. And if you are bringing the alpha energy to the table, and he's an alpha by nature because he's got all the testosterone, you're going to be like two bulls in a china shop, right? And then if you want him to be the more feminine person in the relationship, I guess you could do that, but that usually doesn't work for most people because women are naturally feminine.
EARHARDT: So you’re alpha when you go to work. You’re powerful, you’re strong. You come home, what does the husband need from the woman?
VENKER: The husband needs from the woman softness instead of hardness. So happiness instead of anger. Being more compliant and less dictatorial. Basically not telling him what to do. I don't know how else to put it. Men don't like to be –
KILMEADE: And you say emphasize the positive, not the negative, and don't do that -- don’t do what we just saw Vince Vaughn [in the film The Break-Up] was getting nagged.
VENKER: Nagging, perfectionist, telling him what he’s doing wrong.
VENKER: Men are so simple to love. All they want is sex, companionship and respect. And women are so complicated that they need a whole lot more. But they don't realize how easy it is if you tap into that femininity to get that man to be more receptive to what you want.