Dr. Laura to Silda: It's all your fault!

The conservative radio host spews more misogynist vitriol. There's a real market for that these days.

By Kate Harding
Published March 14, 2008 9:45PM (EDT)

Conservative radio host Laura Schlessinger has offered us a new theory on Silda Wall Spitzer: She drove her husband to cheat in the first place.

In the last week, she has been on "Hannity & Colmes," "Larry King Live" and the "Today" show, offering opinions like this:

"And when the wife does not focus in on the needs and the feelings, sexually, personally, to make him feel like a man, to make him feel like a success, to make him feel like her hero, he's very susceptible to the charm of some other woman making him feel what he needs. And these days, women don't spend a lot of time thinking about how they can give their men what they need ... I hold women accountable for tossing out perfectly good men by not treating them with the love and kindness and respect and attention they need."

Gee, what a breath of fresh air.

Now, Schlessinger spewing insane antiwoman vitriol is hardly news in itself. But coming as it does fairly soon after Charlotte Allen's "women are frivolous dimwits" Op-Ed in the Washington Post and Heather Mac Donald's "rape, schmape" Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times, it kinda makes you wonder why the media is so freakin' fond of women-hating women these days.

Could it be there's something in the air bringing out the antifeminism in the hearts of editors and producers everywhere? Perhaps -- but then, this "Girls are icky, and I should know because I am one" shtick is nothing new. Caitlin Flanagan made quite a career with it. And Maureen Dowd didn't earn the nickname "World's Most Obnoxious Feminist Concern Troll" -- or, you know, a regular spot in the pages of the New York Times -- by talking about how swell the sisterhood is.

I've seen a lot of feminist bloggers write these women off as the adult equivalent of the Girl Who Will Say Anything to Make the Boys Think She's Cool, and smugly ask if they really think He-Man Woman Haters Club will one day unroll the ladder to their treehouse and call down, "Hey, Mo! Caitlin! Laura! Come on up! But just you!" I'm half-tempted to say the same thing myself. Except, joke's on us: That's already happened. The Times, the Atlantic, the cable talk shows -- how many women do you see there? And how many of those are best known for talking about how much women suck? An income and a room of one's own will only get a woman writer so far these days; if she wants to hit the big time, a deep-seated hatred of her own gender helps a bundle.

Of course, as the promo for Schlessinger's Larry King appearance helpfully explained, Schlessinger is just telling it like it is. And what it is like, as we all know, is this: Women are always messing up their own lives! Look at Silda Spitzer. The woman forced her husband to hire a 22-year-old prostitute! You can build a lucrative career if you're a woman willing to tell it like that.

Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

MORE FROM Kate Harding

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Broadsheet Love And Sex