Fox contributor Erick Erickson drew outrage from conservatives and liberals alike over a series of sexist comments, in which he lamented an increase in the number of female breadwinners in the United States and argued that males should be dominant in human societies because "the male typically is the dominant role" in "the natural world."
Erick Erickson Argued That An Increase In Female Breadwinners Defies Natural Order
Erickson: "When You Look At Biology, Look At The Natural World...The Male Is Typically The Dominant Role." From Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight on May 29:
LOU DOBBS: Erick, your thoughts on this study and what it portends?
ERICKSON: Lou, I'm so used to liberals telling conservatives that they're anti-science. But this is -- liberals who defend this and say it's not a bad thing are very anti-science.
When you look at biology, look at the natural world, the roles of a male and female in society, and the other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it's not antithesis, or it's not competing, it's a complementary role. We as people in a smart society have lost the ability to have complimentary relationships in nuclear families, and it's tearing us apart.
And what I find interesting in the survey is that three-quarters of the people surveyed recognize that having moms as the primary breadwinner is bad for kids and bad for marriage, and reality shows us that's the truth. [Fox Business, Lou Dobbs Tonight, 5/29/13]
Erickson: Kids Do Best "Where They Have A Mom At Home Nurturing Them While Dad Is Out Bringing Home The Bacon." From a May 30 Redstate.com post responding to criticism of his previous comments (emphasis added):
We should not kid ourselves or scream so loudly in politically correct outrage to drown the truth -- kids most likely will do best in households where they have a mom at home nurturing them while dad is out bringing home the bacon. [Redstate.com, 5/30/13]
Erickson: "Back On The Radio. Listen Live From 5 To 7 PM ET. Get Your Husband's Permission If Need Be. Heh." On May 30, Erickson tweeted:
Erickson: "I Understand That Some Women Believe They Can Have It All, And That's The Crux Of The Problem." On his radio program, WSB's The Erick Erickson Show, Erickson stated:
It is a fact that children in a two parent, heterosexual household tend to have a more stable upbringing and a better chance of success than those of single parents or gay parents. This is a fact. This is not to insult gay parents. This is not insult single parents. It's just a fact. And the, of the subset of children who are raised in a two-parent, nuclear, heterosexual household, children where the father is the one who is the leader of the family, or the breadwinner of the family, however you want to say it, tend to out-perform those where the mother is the primary provider of the family outside of the home. Those are the fact. All I have done is pointed them out.
And I understand that some women believe they can have it all, and that's the crux of the problem. I have to tell you, as a man, where women are told that men have so many more advantages in society, we can't have it all. Women, you can't have it all either. Life is a series of compromises and choices. [WSB, The Erick Erickson Show, 5/30/13]
Erickson's Comments Have Drawn Outrage From Female Colleagues At Fox News
Fox News' Greta Van Susteren: Have My Colleagues "Lost Their Minds?" In her blog, Fox host Greta Van Susteren highlighted her thoughts on Erickson's remarks:
Have these men lost their minds? (and these are my colleagues??!! oh brother... maybe I need to have a little chat with them) (next thing they will have a segment to discuss eliminating women's right to vote?) [Gretawire.com, 5/30/13]
Fox News Political Analyst Kirsten Powers: "I'm Sincerely Confused As To Why [Erickson] Used Behavior Of Animals To Suggest That Women [Should] Stay At Home." From Twitter on May 30:
Fox Contributor Katie Pavlich: "Attacking Women For Being Breadwinners Is A Really Bad Idea." On her Twitter account, Pavlich wrote:
Pavlich: I'm Offended Erickson Implied Women Aren't Capable Of Leading A Household.
Fox Contributor Jedediah Bila: Why Does Erick Erickson Have Beef With Female Breadwinners? Bila tweeted:
Bila: "Housewives & Househusbands Can Be Nurturing. Generalizations Suck."
Erickson's Comments Have Drawn Outrage From Across The Political Spectrum
The Atlantic's Derek Thompson: Erickson "Is Terribly, Embarrassingly Wrong About Women." From The Atlantic's Derek Thompson on May 30:
First, there is something troubling about this statistic. The majority of female breadwinners are single moms, who face an extraordinary tension between working pay and raising children. But I didn't hear Erickson mention the phrase "single moms." He was talking about women earning more than men. And the fact that some married women are out-earning their husbands isn't tragic. It's inevitable. And it's good. [The Atlantic, 5/30/13]
Salon.com: Erickson "Doesn't Get It." From Salon's Alex Seitz-Wald on May 30:
Erick Erickson, the conservative blogger and Fox News personality, became the most hated man on Twitter today after responding to a much-discussed Pew survey on female breadwinners by saying that science says that men should dominate women (to be fair to Erickson, Juan Williams and Lou Dobbs expressed equally retrograde sentiments on the very same segment, but have largely escaped the drubbing).
Erickson tried to clear things up with a blog post this afternoon, but only made matters worse by showing how much he doesn't get it. The missive started off poorly, with some whining about how feminists and "emo lefties have their panties in a wad" (pro-tip: when accused of sexism, don't reference your opponents' panties while mounting your defense) and only got worse from there.
Here he shows he just doesn't get it. What upset people about Erickson's comments had less to do with single mothers and the decline of marriage rates than about gender roles. It was his notion that women should always stay at home and tend to the kids and that men should always be the breadwinners and dominate women -- because that's only natural. [Salon.com, 5/30/13]
Newsbuster's Matt Vespa: Erickson's Post About Female Breadwinners "Isn't Going To Help Us Reaching Out To Women." From Twitter:
Washington Post's Alexandra Petri: "I Would Write An In-Depth Response...But I Am Too Busy Urinating On A Tree To Mark It As The Boundary Of My Territory." From the Washington Post's ComPost blog:
A recent finding that 40 percent of American households with children have female breadwinners did not leave Fox News commenter Erik Erickson particularly happy.
He called it "anti-science" to accept this sort of role for women.
I would write an in-depth response to this, but I am too busy urinating on a tree to mark it as the boundary of my territory. I am relieved to know we do not hold ourselves to a higher standard. It was getting annoying to have to sit through all those office meetings and not pick fleas off anyone. I look forward to reproducing by emitting thousands of eggs into the ocean as I yell: "I HOPE SOME OF YOU SURVIVE."
I would go into detail about how human beings are uniquely fortunate to have highly developed minds that allow us to choose to function at a level above that encountered in the natural world so we can meet each other mind-to-mind regardless of our physiology and work in tandem without having to Establish Dominance Within The Pack, but, hang on, I have to go lock horns with another goat and shove it off a cliff. [Washington Post'sComPost blog, 5/30/13]
UPDATE: Current TV's John Fugelsang: Erickson's Radio Show "Doubled Down On His Dumbing Down." On the May 30 edition of Current TV's Viewpoint, host John Fugelsang highlighted Fox's segment on female breadwinners and noted that Erickson used his May 30 radio show to double down on his previous night's remarks. [Current TV, Viewpoint, 5/30/12, via Media Matters]
Morning Joe's Brzezinksi Labels Fox Segment Featuring Erickson's Comments "Caveman Central." After airing video of comments from Erickson, Lou Dobbs, Juan Williams, and Doug Schoen, Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinksi labeled the conversation "caveman central." Guest Donny Deutsch added, "The fact that in this day in age you can have men talking that way is stunning." [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 5/31/13]
MSNBC'S Melissa Harris-Perry: "It Does Make You Wonder If He's Ever Watched National Geographic, Where The Lioness Gets Up And Goes Out And Does The Hunting." [MSNBC, Now With Alex Wagner, 5/31/13]
The Atlantic Wire's Elspeth Reeve: "Erickson Needs To Fact-Check His Anti-Working Moms Fairy Tale." In a post at The Atlantic Wire citing peer-reviewed studies on the subject, Elspeth Reeve laid out how Erickson's comments about female breadwinners are "exactly wrong." [The Atlantic Wire, 5/31/13]