No, Mr. McInnes, I'm Not Miserable

8:00 AM

This interview upsets me.

In case you decided not to watch the video, here's why: "Come home to a hunk." "If you were really a feminist, you’d support housewives! You’d see them as the heroes and women who work as just wasting their time!" "You’re making a mistake. You’d be much happier at home with a husband and children." "You’re miserable! Imagine how much happier you’d be with kids around you tonight — coming home to, 'Mommy! Mommy!'"

That's one reason.

Another reason this upset me: Mr. Hannity laughed and laughed and neglected to address Ms. Holder's requests for reasonable intervention. Do gentlemanliness and professionalism not apply to feminists?

The real reason this upset me: Many of the conservative-leaning articles and top comments I read about this exchange painted Ms. Holder as just another stupid feminist blown away by the idea that women wanted to stay home and/or chose to earn less in order to care for their families. They implied that her biggest objections -- "This is disgusting," "Your comments are absolutely deplorable" -- referenced Mr. McInnes' claim that the wage gap came from women choosing to take time off for their families instead of staying later at the office. 

The reality? Watch the video. Ms. Holder exclaims, "Your comments are absolutely deplorable" right after Mr. McInnes calls women "less ambitious" because they would choose to watch their daughter's piano recital than work on a project. "Having a choice does not mean you are less ambitious," Ms. Holder objects. 

Never once did Ms. Holder say women should not stay home or that they are less ambitious for doing so. In fact, she insisted that women should be allowed to have a choice, and seemingly defended the right for a woman to be ambitious even if she puts family before work. 

I am appalled that Mr. McInnes got away with calling Ms. Holder miserable and unhappy for her choices to advance her career and not marry. I am appalled that Mr. Hannity laughed at her uncomfortable situation. I am embarrassed that all the conservatives on the internet view her as a stupid woman, when in fact, she respectfully and firmly counteracted misinformation and a personal attack. If I ever get invited to give my opinion and then be told to go home to a hunk where I'd be happier, I hope I respond with as much poise and professionalism...minus the shocked Jesus at the end. 

I would not call myself a feminist, but as a single working girl earning her college degree, I am mortified and confused at how rudely and illogically these two men harangued a female colleague. Now I understand why the feminist movement still wants to continue. I did not realize how public and accepted humiliating a woman for her career choices could be. 

Were there women as part of the camera crew? Were they laughing? Do no conservative women work and choose not to marry? Is this merely a conservative vs. liberal thing, an anti-feminist vs. a feminist debate? A Sarah Palin can get away with working outside the home but a liberal feminist must stay home with the kids? Was Mr. McIness trying to be funny? I agree with Ms. Holder -- it wasn't funny. 

After growing up with a patriarchal influence in what I read and believed, I know firsthand the danger of forcing women into a box and telling them to be happy. I was not happy in the stay-at-home daughter model, actually. I disliked all the homemaking things that allegedly fulfilled me. Even when I tried, tried, tried to find fulfillment in "women's work" and a "woman's place," I couldn't. 

Would I love to marry and raise children? You bet! I would love that! Do I currently love my college studies, my single life, and my office job? Yes, I do! I feel fulfilled now, working and living independently.

You know why? My identity and my fulfillment reside in Christ alone, period. My womanhood finds its completion as an image-bearer. I am no more incomplete without marriage and motherhood than a man is incomplete without marriage and fatherhood

What do we tell those women who dedicated their lives to singleness in order to serve the Lord? Go home to a hunk? You're just pretending to like this life? You're just wasting your time?

What do we say to all the women who want to marry and bear children but have been blessed with a longer season of singleness? Too bad for you?

What do we tell the women writers, artists, theologians, and thinkers? So sorry you enjoyed writing your book and giving that speech. Go home to your real purpose. You didn't really like your scholarly work, anyway. 

As deplorable as dissing marriage and motherhood is, encouraging and/or guilting women into identifying her womanhood solely in the context of husband and home is a soul-crushing spiritual disaster. Wife, mother, working woman -- if your primary identity as a woman resides in anything besides Christ, you've got everything wrong

You know why the feminist movement started? Because housewives realized that marriage and motherhood cannot fulfill a woman -- just like many women today realize that careers and paychecks cannot fulfill a woman. I believe the early feminists' claim that women felt repressed, unhappy, and unfulfilled. No amount of shaming or shutting up can shake that feeling of unfulfillment.

I don't deny that women are happy at home or that many women would say that they're happier at home than in the work force. I agree wholeheartedly that women are (usually) more nurturing and relational, interested in helping vocations such as nursing, teaching, and mothering. I personally love counseling and loving people. I want to pour into any future children and homeschool them too. I am no flaming feminist stereotype who hates the home. (I even enjoy folding laundry and washing dishes occasionally.) 

Do we see the issue here? Women will feel repressed when the overarching culture shames them into shutting up and staying home. Women will feel repressed when the overarching culture shames them into shutting up and working that 9-to-5. Bottom line: women will feel repressed and unfulfilled when they're told their identity lies solely in something it does not and ought not. 

For this reason, I support Ms. Holder's and all feminists' insistence that women should choose how to express her image-bearing womanhood in a manner to which God calls her. I am sorry, conservatives. If that is laughable, stupid, and childish to you, I can only console myself with this laughable, stupid, wonderful life I choose to live to the glory of God

I really want to hear your thoughts on this, dear readers!
I am bewildered how this segment can come across as anything
but offensive to all women everywhere.

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19 impressions

  1. I'll admit I didn't watch the video, but I agree with your argument. Jesus said "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you", in which I believe the 'these things' He is speaking of is that sense of fulfilment. Now whilst it's impossible to live life to the maximum fulfilment this side of heaven, it is when we are doing - and being - everything God has called us to, that we will feel the most fulfilled.

    Women from every walk of life are so diverse. Some will be putting God's kingdom first by remaining at home and pouring herself into her family. Others will do so by living on a distant mission field, single and serving. Still others may make a career of teaching because they are passionate about educating the younger generation, and spreading the Gospel that way. Each woman is unique! It's impossible to have a cookie cutter for each one to say, "This is exactly what every woman should do and be". God doesn't want that. Similar to one of my previous comments, God isn't about what we do so much as who we are.

    I've been tempted to write my own rant on feminism, and the fact that many people slam feminists who... quite honestly, aren't feminists. My definition of a feminist is someone who believes woman are equal - or better than - men in every area of life, be that sport, intellectuality, war, or career. That I disagree with. But a woman who respects men not as their equal in ability but equal in worth, yet simply wants to live out her life for the glory of God, be that a single working girl, or stay-at-home mum, then good for her. I couldn't care less either way. So long as she's seeking first the Kingdom of God, the naysayers can naysay all they like. God's opinion is the only one that matters to me.

    So Bailey, don't let this kind stuff eat at you. You're doing a great job at this thing called life! I encourage you to keep reminding girls that their identity is found in their Saviour God, not in what society decides or doesn't decide they should conform to. Keep breaking them boxes. :)

  2. Oh me oh my. I do not identify as a feminist as there are some things connected to feminism that I do not agree or stand with. However, this interview was just out of line. It is moments like these when I start to see where the raging feminists (I'm not saying all feminists are raging, some of them are) come from. This was embarrassing to both Sean and the guest. He wasn't even letting her get her last statement in without interjecting comments about how he thought he knew what would make her happy.

    Since when were women less ambitious than men? Sure, some may have different priorities. But there is no way you can make such sweeping statements about an ENTIRE gender. Some men are ambitious and some women are ambitious.

    Also, how can you make sweeping statements that EVERY WOMAN would be happier if she left her blossoming career behind and stayed home with kids. I very much agree with what you said - nothing can fill the emptiness in us except Christ. Each person must go to the Lord personally to find his/her own calling. It is not a matter of throwing all men into one function and all women into another.

    Whew, I need a moment to collect myself.

  3. Ugh, Hannity. Case in point never to watch the news ever. =)
    I liked your thoughts on this. I agree.
    And I know for a fact that you would be miserable pretending to clean the bathroom in attempts of stay-at-home-hood when you're really thinking up something to write. Enjoy interning at Hillsdale!!

    But you're totally right. Marriage/motherhood/staying at home - that's a given for the women in that situation. But what about the Mary Magedelane's, the Anna's, and the rest who didn't stay at home? That was culturally odd, too. But their fulfillment was doing what God had called them to do. Their situations were drastically different than the mother next door.
    While it's a beautiful thing to see girls marry and stay home and fulfill the calling of being a mother, I think it is just as beautiful to see single young ladies make a difference in the world instead of sitting at home dreaming about hope chests. Not that single girls can't stay at home without impacting the world (they can.) But whether they stay at home or don't, as long as they're sensitive to the Spirit's calling, whatever it may be, they've just as much worth whether they changed the sibling's diapers or not for the rest of their lives.

    1. The "staying at home bit" you mentioned reminded me ---- why is the discussion on womanhood and feminism ALWAYS centered on working IN vs. working OUT of the home? There's so much more to womanhood than that argument!

  4. This interview was sickening. I've never really like Shawn Hannity, but this was way to far over the top. Props to Ms. Holder for being classy even though she was being degraded. (sorry not much to add about this, just really sad that there are people who honestly believe that womanhood is nothing more than having kids and keeping house.)

  5. I'm encouraged and edified by all of your comments, ladies! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! If anyone's thinking about joining in this conversation, don't hesitate to do so!

  6. I didn't watch the clip either. Hannity is a shock jock, and he'll say almost anything for ratings and controversy, but I don't doubt that he meant what he said.

    However, research data actually contradicts his assertions. Stay-at-home moms report more depression, sadness and anger.

    A lot of these conservative, fundie types talk entirely too much, and they are willfully misinformed and uneducated about the facts that actually pertain to the subject matter at hand.

    1. Just to clarify, Hannity didn't say any of those things. It was his guest, Gavin McInnes. Hannity just laughed, though, which was disappointing.

      Thanks for sharing this research! I've never seen it. I know all kinds of women both working and married/stay-at-home moms who struggle with happiness. I think it's just a universal problem. I don't know if these statistics are trying to prove, but I don't think any generalized, sweeping claims about women will help. It's the individuals, not the whole, that I'm concerned about.

  7. This is actually why I don't like modern feminism or modern anti-feminism: both camps assume that all women are the same. That we all have the same talents, the same interests, and the same goals. That we all express our womanhood in the same way. It's just not true. Just looking at my own life, I have far more natural aptitude for academia and librarianship than I do motherhood and housewivery. I am not nurturing at all and I hate housework. I am not stereotypically feminine. I would posit that if a woman has a husband and children, they should be her highest priority. Not that she can't have a job too, but that the family should take precedence. But if a woman doesn't have a husband and children, there's nothing wrong with her "prioritizing" her job over her nonexistent family.

    Relatedly, I think Mr. McInnes' argument regarding ambition is flawed. I suspect he means ambition in the traditional sense of "Fortune 500 company CEO" or "hotshot attorney by day, mom of the year by night." But let's ignore the women for a minute. How many men are *that* ambitious? How many people, male or female, have no ambition, no life goals? None whatsoever. Everyone is motivated by something. Even if my ambition is no bigger than "earn enough money to not be evicted," what's wrong with that if it's all I want from life? (I'm not trying to make an appeal to selfishness, but just pointing out that what looks like a "small life" to one person just might be another's idea of perfection.)

    As an aside, I call myself a feminist mostly as a nod to the early ladies of feminism who fought for my right to vote, to own property, to have a job, to have an education, to have a fair wage, and to have recourse against an abusive husband, father, or employer. I certainly don't agree with many aspects of modern secular feminism, but I think to reject the word entirely just because it means something I don't like to some people doesn't really honor those awesome women from the past. I mean, we all love to hate Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice, but if it weren't for early feminism, how many of us would have ended up like Charlotte Lucas?

    1. Excellently put, casvelyn! I loved everything you said. In regards to the word "feminist"...I'm torn. I agree with you that it's important to acknowledge women who fought for the basic rights I currently enjoy and the social practicability of living the life I love. Charlotte Lucas holds a special place in my heart after I wrote an English paper on her. :)

      At least for now, I want to transcend the exhausting semantics battle and just focus on believing and teaching the right things, regardless of the correct social label. It's especially important for me to not identify myself as a feminist since I'm still ministering to many women coming out of patriarchy. I don't want to scare them away from the truth because of misinterpreting what "feminist" means. If I must pick a label from my beliefs on womanhood, I'd rather just call these ideas "the Christian truth about women"!

    2. Also, I think Mr. McInnes clarified in a cluttered aside that he meant that women are "less ambitious" only in the workplace. Your point still stands, however.

    3. Oh I agree that the context of our word choices is important. Most of the Christian ladies I know firmly believe in "the Christian truth about women" but also believe that feminism = man-hating and abortions on demand. So I kind of like to try to get people to see that in reality it's much more nuanced than that.

      And now I need to know what you had to say on Charlotte Lucas. I used her as an example because I'm unmarried and 28, just like she was before she married Mr. Collins. But the world I live in is very different, with very different options for unmarried women.

      I guess that's my ultimate point: I don't really care whether women work or stay home or do both or whatever (and you're right, why does it always come down to where we work?). I care that women have real options and the freedom to choose between them.

  8. Like I said, I didn't watch the clip, but I normally don't watch these kinds of shows because the tend to generate a lot of controversy for ratings. I'm truly sorry if I misjudged Hannity in regards to that.

    Concerning the stats relating to some stay-at-home moms reporting depression, sadness and anger...
    This is an actual research study. I believe this study shed light on a really important issue. A lot of times, stay-at-home moms simply don't have the kind of support system they need, and they are often isolated and overwhelmed. They may need greater emotional support from their husbands, and they may need more hands-on help from family, friends and the church community. However, if their communities don't realize that stay-at-home moms deal with depression, sadness and anger, they can't effectively address the problem and offer much needed support.

    Also, stay-at-home moms shouldn't be made to feel ashamed of their true feelings and needs. Unfortunately and all too often, that happens in the church community, women and mothers are made to feel ashamed and like they don't measure up to the Pr 31 woman.

    Lastly, there's also the issue of postpartum depression. That might factor into the stats. That's another issue that the church needs to address, and stop turning a blind eye and acting like it doesn't exist within the church community.

    I said all that to say, I think it's extremely dangerous and counterproductive to automatically assume or claim that stay-at-home mothers are happier without really evaluating the ins and out of the situation. Some stay-at-home moms are suffering in silence. They don't have a healthy outlet where they can express their true feelings and find support because so many people automatically assume that they are happier or that they should be happier.

    Bailey said: "I know all kinds of women both working and married/stay-at-home moms who struggle with happiness."

    BTW, I'm a single, working mother, and that's an entirely different struggle. The keyword being struggle, so I definitely agree with you on that point.

    1. I'm glad you clarified further, and I agree with you. I think that teaching women that stay-at-home motherhood is the only way to be happy puts a tremendous pressure on women to keep up a smiling face when they're struggling. Also, when women themselves believe that they're working on the only high and holy calling as a woman, they're setting themselves up for isolation from other sisters-in-Christ with different life paths. I've seen so many stay-at-home moms try to maintain this sense of "glory" even when disconnected from other likeminded communities. Such an ugly, heart-wrenching divide in the church that only results in spiritual burn-out for so many women.

      All this research just goes to show that this life will be hard and our happiness really cannot lie in anything other than Jesus! I enjoyed reading your insight on this, Kim. Thank you.

  9. Even for Fox News this is bad. As a Canadian, I never watched Fox often, but I've always seen it as sensational and disrespectful.

    Predictability aside, you're totally right in the underlying issue of where women find their happiness and identity. Doesn't really matter what "side" you're railing against. We hate to have it forced on us either way. What an awesome reality that in Christ we are truly free!

    One interesting thing I noticed about McInnes's comments about ambition (as he spoke over Ms. Holder) was about men working overtime, working weekends, and "going the extra mile." Maybe CNN can hold an inquisition for him about workaholic men, divorce, and absentee fathers? I jest, but on a serious note, we are all wired to find success, fulfillment and satisfaction. Third wave feminism, patriarchy, and corporate climbers all try to find it in the wrong places.

    "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt 11:28)

    1. Good points! Do we really want to define ambition as workaholicism? Men just as much as women need to understand their responsibilities in the home and the necessity of rest. We need dads and husbands in the home as much as we need mothers and wives.

      And Fox news.....oh, gosh. It's quite a circus. :)

  10. Saw this video awhile ago and it made my blood boil! Your thoughts here are perfect! I know you mentioned you don't consider yourself a feminist, but in my opinion your thoughts seemed to align with the foundation of feminism: allowing women the same freedoms as men, so that all are equal. (For instance, allowing both men and women to choose their vocation/calling.) Too often people get caught up in the "bra burning, pro-abortion, man-hating" extremism of feminism that they miss the true point :) Loved this!

    1. I'm totally a feminist now! I just didn't feel comfortable using that word at the time of this post. Baggage and stuff. ;) Thanks for commenting!


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