Erick Erickson: Stuck in the Stone Age On Women's Roles

Erick Erickson's recent polemical comments on gender roles in American households are an insult to the tremendous amount of progress women have made over the past 50 years. Erickson recently stated, "When you look at biology — when you look at the natural world — the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role." 

This statement poses serious concerns and dilemmas because it flies in the face of basic science. Basic science does not dictate what gender roles are. Basic science does not tell that men should be the breadwinners while women should be the caretakers of society. 

A recent study by Pew showed that 40% of women today are now the primary source of income in U.S. households with children. This is a tremendous accomplishment, not a concerning statistic. Economic independence plays a huge role in women's empowerment and breaking cycles of poverty.

Erickson and Lou Dobbs and a series of other commentators on Fox News have allowed for their belief in so-called "Republican Motherhood" to get in the way of modern-day realities and structural transformations occurring in society. This ideology which believes that women should be the caretakers of society while creating their own domestic public sphere, coupled with what Erickson calls "man's dominant role in society," is troubling on several accounts. Times have changed. The days of John Adams are dead. The days of Mad Men are long over. The prevailing attitudes from these eras clearly aren't prevailing anymore. 

Erickson and Dobbs and company have allowed for their ideology to get in the way of facts. They are primarily concerned with the structure of the two-parent family household. Divorces have taken a toll on a large proportion of U.S. households, but Erickson and Dobbs somehow have linked divorce rates with women's more prominent roles in the workforce. While correlation and causation on divorce rates and the supposed "disintegration" of the American household continue to give Erickson and company nightmares, it is important to note that the causes behind more divorce rates and fewer two-parent households are very murky at best. If the two parent family structure is what Erickson and Dobbs are so concerned about, why punish economic achievements by women to preserve this societal structure?

There's nothing really anti-science about women being the breadwinners of society. If anything, we need to empower more women in the U.S. and across the world to ensure that we demolish poverty, increase education, and offer a society that is dedicated towards empowering individuals to innovate and provide the freedoms so many people have fought to preserve. 


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Shehab Chowdhury

A writer, educator, policy wonk enthusiast, and a believer in witty sentences.

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