On Wednesday, May 29, conservative commentator and blogger Erick Erickson made some very controversial comments about the role of gender in today’s workplaces and overall society. In a panel discussion on Fox’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, he and the other panel guests were discussing a new Pew research study that found women are becoming the primary breadwinners in the country. The response of Erickson and the panel to this finding was very negative, and has created a great deal of response throughout the media.
The study itself found that 40% of households nationally now have a female as the primary income earner, a stark change from the 11% figure in 1960. It also found that the families with mothers as the top earners averaged a significantly higher income than the average family overall. The panel began the discussion by describing the study as “concerning and troubling,” and said it showed “systemic” problems in our society. In the discussion, Erickson took this opinion even further. He said that in biology and the natural world “the male is typically the dominant role,” and the female is a “complementary role.” He suggested also that this assertion is scientifically provable, and that “liberals” who would disagree are “anti-science” hypocrites.
There has been a big response to his comments since Wednesday night. Many popular websites, news sites, and television shows have showed extreme displeasure with these views and interpretation of science. His comments have been called sexist and anti-gay, and it was even suggested that he discuss his views with a lioness, a black widow, and a praying mantis. However, if one views the natural world as a competitive one in which we must all fight to survive, Erickson’s comments could be very relevant.
In our society there have been many big gender shifts. Women now are more likely to have a college degree, and it is now commonplace to have women working in finance, construction, labor, and serving in the military. Is it possible that American males, as a gender, need a wakeup call? It may be time for men to take these shifts as a challenge, and not be afraid to recognize them. Perhaps it is troubling for men to hear that women are doing so well, simply because men are doing so poorly.
It is easy to dismiss comments like Erickson’s as bigoted or sexist, which many have. However, if Darwin’s theory of natural selection still applies to us, the American male of today may want to think about getting his act together and staying in the game before the ladies get too far ahead!
Sources: Pew, theweek.com, MediaMatters.org