A Response To Venker – On Appealing to Personal Experience
Before I continue with my series of posts critiquing Venker’s awful article on the Fox News site (which is a marketing effort towards her relationship book with the same awful advice to women), I wanted to pause to respond to this Tweet she recently sent me.
Venker tweeted at me recently with this:
This is not what I am arguing for. You have my message wrong bc you’re conflating it with your own story.
(It must disappoint her that I am a right winger, not a left wing, Democrat- voting, abortion- supporting, feminist loon. Makes it much harder to dismiss my points by making all manner off knee-jerk assumptions about me, my life, or my values or political views.)
At any rate.
She expends quite a bit of time in her Fox news article –
(Link, off site): Society is creating a new crop of alpha women who are unable to love by S. Venker
-Explaining how she feels, based on her OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE in her own marriage, that giving up being “Alpha” to be “Beta” made her marriage much better.
To illustrate that for you, here are some excerpts (written by Venker from that Fox page):
[the author discusses some of her marital problems]
… And because I had zero interest in my husband adopting a more feminine role, I set about to become the feminine creature our culture insists women not be.
And here’s what I learned: It’s liberating to be a beta!
I’m an alpha all day long, and it gets tiresome. I concede that I thrive on it; but at the end of the day, I’m spent. Self-reliance is exhausting. Making all the decisions is exhausting. Driving the car, literally or figuratively, is exhausting.
She then expects other women to take her word for it, to take her personal preferences and choices, and apply them to their own relationships.
Yet, when I pointed out in my (Link): Part 3 post that my mother and I, who used to live as “Beta” women, and applied “Beta” female traits and behaviors to our relationships, did not find rest, fulfillment, relaxation in that manner (nor did being “Beta” (read: codependent) get our men to treat us better or with more respect), she tweets me I am conflating her article with my own story and somehow confusing things?
So, she adheres to a double standard: she feels she can market her so-called solution to dating and marriage by appealing to HER personal life experiences (she feels being Beta helped her marriage), but when a Beta woman (that would be me) replies with her own experiences, explaining how being Beta made relationships bad for (not good), suddenly, it does not count?
Nice double standards there. Only Venker and those like her (advocating traditional gender roles for women) can appeal to personal experience as a form of persuasion for their position, but others who disagree with these views cannot?
I lived the Beta life – it does not work. It doesn’t work for marriage, dating, relationships, or even friendships.
Venker is basically packaging Codependency as a way of life for women (as Christian gender complementarians also do), but living in that way, applying it to dating and marriage, does not work.
As any book or blog post by a psychiatrist or psychologist will tell you (more on that in forthcoming posts by me, if time permits), women being codependent and exhibiting codependent behaviors (as Venker is basically advocating they do) makes women more enticing to abusers, users, exploiters, and con artists – as I was planning on posting more on later.
If you’re already in a relationship, and you start behaving “beta,” and if the man in question you are already in a relationship with, is prone to being selfish or abusive, you are not, contra Venker, going to get your needs met or get treated kinder and with more consideration – you will be taken for granted and/or be used by the man. I speak from experience, and plenty of other women have been in the same position.
I have lived the “Beta” life Venker advocates for, as did my mother, and it only created MORE relationship problems for us, it did not produce contentment and happiness.
As I said in a previous post, Venker’s book is a re-hash of every Relationship Advice book by conservative women I’ve read about in the last 15 – 20 years (and they always contain the same horrible advice to women), such as-
Edited to add: I just find it very odd that Venker would tell me I was mixing up my lived personal experience with her article and then saying I misunderstood her or got something wrong.
She is selling this book (mostly for profit, I bet), but secondly because she is supposedly trying to make women happier (or more content, or more “whatever”) by telling them how they can fix their relationships.
And she advises women to fix those relationships by being “more Beta.” The problem is, I am, and was, a Beta for my entire life, and being Beta did not fix my relationship problems but added to them.
(I am, now, though, currently a Beta personality who has Healthy Boundaries – so I am no longer a Beta strictly how she defines it.
I’m an adult with healthy boundaries now – what letter of the alphabet could represent that, an “X?” A “D?” I could call myself a “Delta,” I suppose)
I don’t have to buy Venker’s book or read it – I have already lived life as a Beta.
And being a Beta in relationships (without healthy boundaries) does NOT work. It leads to being exploited, taken for granted, and/or abused.
I have two or three more posts to write in this series where I pick apart the rest of Venker’s article/ views.
(this post has been edited a few times to fix typing errors, add new links etc)