Tag Archives: Suzanne Venker

The new “Marriage Story” movie is a false picture of divorce

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

I think Sean McDowell is the best scholar to recommend to people who are interested in getting better at defending their faith. He has a splendid wide-reaching worldview, and conservative positions on controversial issues that other apologists won’t touch. He tweeted out a very interesting article from Suzanne Venker, where she reviews a new movie.

You might remember that Suzanne Venker is a pro-marriage writer who thinks that radical feminism has harmed women, and discouraged men from marrying. Here is what she had to say about the new feminist movie “Marriage Story” in The Federalist.

“Marriage Story” is billed as an intense drama about a stage director [Charlie] and his actor wife [Nicole] “who struggle through a grueling, coast-to-coast divorce that pushes them to their personal and creative extremes.” Although the couple has an 8-year-old son, the focus of the film is… about Nicole’s feelings, Nicole’s choices, Nicole’s needs, and Nicole’s desires. Charlie just goes along for the ride. What choice does he have? Based on a 2017 report by Stanford’s Michael Rosenfeld, this story seems to align with divorce trends, as women initiate 69 percent of divorces in the United States.

Indeed, “Marriage Story” is a predictable feminist screed. Its message couldn’t have been more glaring if it tried: Marriage is a jail sentence for women. If you’re not happy, leave. Oh, and take the kid with you. And while you’re at it, you might as well sabotage your husband’s livelihood, forcing him to uproot the life you both built and move across the country in order to be able to see his son for half the amount of time he normally would, thereby irrevocably altering the course of this father-son relationship — particularly since Nicole’s new man has entered the equation.

[…]What you won’t learn is that “Marriage Story” beautifully demonstrates the madness of modern-day childhood. No one’s supposed to mention that because to look at what’s happened between Charlie and Nicole through Henry’s eyes would destroy the narrative. To focus on what writer and director Noah Baumbach wanted to — “telling a love story by doing it in the course of a divorce” — it is crucial to dismiss Henry’s needs, because to a child, divorce is no love story.

By the way, speaking of children’s rights, parents should definitely read Katy Faust’s latest article in The Federalist.

I wanted to suggest a much better movie about divorce than “Marriage Story”. When I was young, I went through this phase of wanting to grow up very fast. I just could not stand being around people my own age, with their obsessions with popularity and fun. So, I got myself a white collar job and started renting every classic movie in the movie rental place. Two of my favorites were “Kramer vs Kramer” and “Ordinary People”. They made much better movies back then. Kramer vs Kramer is the one about divorce which I think accurately portrays the effects of divorce on children.

Here is the summary from the far-left Wikipedia: (I’m leaving out the ending)

Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) is a workaholic advertising executive who has just been assigned a new and very important account. Ted arrives home and shares the good news with his wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) only to find that she is leaving him. She leaves Ted to raise their son Billy (Justin Henry) by himself. Ted and Billy initially resent one another as Ted no longer has time to carry his increased workload, and Billy misses his mother’s love and attention. After months of unrest, Ted and Billy learn to cope and gradually bond as father and son.

Ted befriends his neighbor Margaret (Jane Alexander), who had initially counseled Joanna to leave Ted if she was that unhappy. Margaret is a fellow single parent, and she and Ted become kindred spirits. One day, as the two sit in the park watching their children play, Billy falls off the jungle gym, severely cutting his face. Ted sprints several blocks through oncoming traffic carrying Billy to the hospital, where he comforts his son during treatment.

Fifteen months after she walked out, Joanna returns to New York to claim Billy, and a custody battle ensues. During the custody hearing, both Ted and Joanna are unprepared for the brutal character assassinations that their lawyers unleash on the other. Margaret is forced to testify that she had advised an unhappy Joanna to leave Ted, though she also attempts to tell Joanna on the stand that her husband has profoundly changed. Eventually, the damaging facts that Ted was fired because of his conflicting parental responsibilities which forced him to take a lower-paying job come out in court, as do the details of Billy’s accident.[3] His original salary was noted as “$33,000 a year” (equivalent to $114,000 in 2018), whereas he was forced to admit that his new salary was only “$28,200” (equivalent to $97,000 in 2018), after Joanna has told the court that her “present salary” as a sportswear designer is “$31,000 a year”.[3]

The court awards custody to Joanna, a decision mostly based on the Tender years doctrine. Ted discusses appealing the case, but his lawyer warns that Billy himself would have to take the stand in the resulting trial. Ted cannot bear the thought of submitting his child to such an ordeal, and decides not to contest custody.

I come from a legal immigrant family of non-whites, and there just WAS no divorce anywhere in our family. We’re half Muslim and half Hindu, and we just don’t divorce. There was a lot of fighting in my family growing up, but divorce was out of the question for my parents. But I remember having to deal with the violent tempers of boys in my public schools who had divorced parents. Divorce really hurt those kids. That’s why I try to blog about it here – the Bible is against divorce, and I want to explain to Christians why God’s rules against divorce ought to be respected.

I’m not going to link to studies here about how divorce affects children, because I’ve done that in other places. I just wanted to let you know that feminism is strong in our culture, and they want to make divorce into a creative adventure. Don’t let movies sway you away from what the Bible teaches. And when you defend what the Bible teaches about divorce, make sure you have the facts about radical feminism’s promotion of divorce and how divorce affects men and children.

Suzanne Venker on the decline of men and male roles

Fox News editorial from a woman who defends men.

Excerpt:

In November of last year, I wrote an article for Fox News called The War on Men (which I subsequently expanded to an eBook). To keep it pithy, in the piece I focused on one effect of this war: the lack of marriageable men. But there’s so much more to it. The truth is, men have become second-class citizens.

The most obvious proof is male bashing in the media. It is rampant and irrefutable. From sit-coms and commercials that portray dad as an idiot to biased news reports about the state of American men, males are pounced on left and right. And that’s just the beginning.

She talks about the problems that boys face in feminized schools, and also in university, and then explains some of the reasons why men are shying away from marriage:

When men become husbands and fathers, things get really bad. In family courts throughout America, men are routinely stripped of their rights and due process. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is easily used against them since its definition of violence is so broad that virtually any conflict between partners can be considered abuse.

“If a woman gets angry for any reason, she can simply accuse a man and men are just assumed guilty in our society,” notes Dr. Helen Smith, author of the new book, “Men on Strike.” This is particularly heinous since, as Smith adds, violence in domestic relations “is almost 50% from men and 50% from women.”

Shocked? If so, that’s in part because the media don’t believe men can be victims of domestic violence—so they don’t report it. They would rather feed off stories that paint women as victims. And in so doing, they’ve convinced America there’s a war on women.

Yet it is males who suffer in our society. From boyhood through adulthood, the White American Male must fight his way through a litany of taunts, assumptions and grievances about his very existence. His oppression is unlike anything American women have faced. Unlike women, however, men don’t organize and form groups when they’ve been persecuted. They just bow out of the game.

America needs to wake up. We have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction—from a man’s world to a woman’s world.

That’s not equality. That’s revenge.

It’s not just the American White Male who sees these problems. I am an American Brown Male, and I have the same problems.

Is she right that men and women commit domestic violence equally? That’s not what we are told in school and in the media, but let’s look at the studies and see.

Studies on domestic violence

Let’s see what’s happening with domestic violence rates in the UK.

Excerpt:

Data from Home Office statistical bulletins and the British Crime Survey show that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004-05 and 2008-09, the last year for which figures are available. In 2006-07 men made up 43.4% of all those who had suffered partner abuse in the previous year, which rose to 45.5% in 2007-08 but fell to 37.7% in 2008-09.

Similar or slightly larger numbers of men were subjected to severe force in an incident with their partner, according to the same documents. The figure stood at 48.6% in 2006-07, 48.3% the next year and 37.5% in 2008-09, Home Office statistics show.

The 2008-09 bulletin states: “More than one in four women (28%) and around one in six men (16%) had experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16. These figures are equivalent to an estimated 4.5 million female victims of domestic abuse and 2.6 million male victims.”

In addition, “6% of women and 4% of men reported having experienced domestic abuse in the past year, equivalent to an estimated one million female victims of domestic abuse and 600,000 male victims”.

And the numbers from the government of Canada are the same.

Canada numbers:

An estimated 7% of women and 6% of men in a current or previous spousal relationship encountered spousal violence during the five years up to and including 2004, according to a comprehensive new report on family violence.

So it’s pretty even. Women are about as likely to commit violence as men are. And in lesbian relationships, the rate of domestic violence is extremely high, from 17% to 45%, depending on the study. I think in general, women are more violent when there is no man present, because they have more difficulty restraining their emotions and resolving disagreements with rational arguments instead of fist, feet and weapons.

You also see higher rates of violence by mothers against their own children, than with fathers. Mothers are more than twice as likely to abuse children as fathers. Biological fathers are programmed to protect children – it’s the stepfathers and live-in boyfriends who harm children. In fact, one of the roles of the father in the marriage is to restrain the woman’s outbursts and anger so that the children are not harmed, and to protect them from threats from outside the home, too.

The negative perception of men deters men from marrying

I am very conscious of the perception that women have of men these days. Instead of looking to men for leadership, the presumption is that our role is to entertain women. And not to make judgments or claims of knowledge. The worst part is that most women don’t know and don’t care about how men are perceived today. I think that is the worst problem for me with wanting to get married. I just don’t believe that there are any women out there who are really looking for a husband in the traditional sense of the word, and with the traditional male roles. The negative perception of men and the way that women prefer men who are non-judgmental, non-religious and ignorant are two major reasons why I personally am cold about marriage.