On Thursday morning, Fox News, the cable news company that recently fired a number of its top male executives for sexual harassment, sent out a push notification with the message: “Men just want a woman who’s nice”.
The alert is for an article by Suzanne Venker, an author who specializes in writing about relationships, marriage, and work-family conflict and is, according to her website, “a nationally recognized expert on America’s gender war.” Her latest book is The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage: HOW LOVE WORKS.
In the article, Venker offers invaluable advice for the angry hordes of not-nice, single women out there who are, presumably, stumbling around like extras on The Walking Dead, chasing down prospective partners, shoving them onto the ground, feasting on their organs, and then wiping the blood off their mouths and wondering: “Why oh why am I still single??”
“At the end of the day,” the article begins, “most men just want a woman who’s nice. 'Nice' to a man means being soft, gentle, and kind. It means asking your husband how his day was and really listening. It means doing something nice for him with no expectation of getting something in return — you know, the way you did when you were dating.”
Besides the fact that “soft, gentle, and kind” sounds like it describes triple-ply toilet paper, maybe a world where everyone is nicer and more thoughtful isn’t such a bad idea, right? Ah, but not so fast. Women, it turns out, don’t get the triple-ply treatment in return — we're stuck with rolls of sandpaper.
“Most women do want a man who’s kind,” Venker writes, “but that’s not the same as nice. Ask any guy you know and he’ll likely give you example after example of women they know said they wanted a nice guy, but in reality they wanted a bad boy.”
Venker does not go on to clarify why you should ask “any guy you know” about what women want instead of, say, another woman.
The idea that women don’t like nice guys has long been used to justify the poor treatment and harassment of women, and nowhere is this more obvious than at the company that published Venker’s article, Fox News.
The New York Times reported that on Monday, the cable news giant revealed that in the nine months leading up to March 31, “it incurred $45 million in costs tied to litigation related to harassment allegations," and last week the Wall Street Journal reported that federal authorities are widening their inquiry in the nature of some of these sexual harassment settlements. The investigation follows a number of high-profile lawsuits against a number of high-ranking members of Fox, including its ex-CEO Roger Ailes, who resigned in July, and its biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, who left in April.
Twitter, not surprisingly, went wild at the stunningly tone deaf alert.
"Most husbands have no desire to lord over their wives, but they don’t want to fight with them either," Venker writers. "All they want is peace."
You know who else could use some peace? The women filing allegations for harassment at Fox News, and anyone else who has been harassed by a man after being "nice".