Saturday, 12 April 2014

Feminists Attack Kirsten Dunst Over Her Gender Preference | National Review Online

Feminists Attack Kirsten Dunst Over Her Gender Preference | National Review Online



In the 21st century, it’s wrong for a woman to like a man.




Kirsten Dunst plants a kiss in Spider-Man.

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The actress Kirsten Dunst shared some thoughts about femininity and relationships in the May issue of the U.K. edition of Harper’s Bazaar.
As is now standard when women celebrities voice more-traditional
opinions on such topics, Dunst’s views were immediately met with mockery
and derision on feminist blogs and Twitter.

“I feel like the feminine has been a little undervalued,” she told
the fashion magazine. “We all have to get our own jobs and make our own
money, but staying at home, nurturing, being the mother, cooking — it’s
a valuable thing my mom created.”

The star of Interview with the Vampire and the Spider-Man
franchise continued: “And sometimes, you need your knight in shining
armor. I’m sorry. You need a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman.
That’s why relationships work.”

Under the headline “Kirsten Dunst
Thinks Ladies in Relationships Should Wife the F*** Out,” a Jezebel
blogger wrote that Dunst, an “actress and blonde who looks good in
clothes,” is “not paid to write gender theory so it shouldn’t surprise
anyone that she’s kind of dumb about it.”

Granted, if Kirsten
Dunst were a paid gender-theory writer, she would probably not have
expressed the sentiments she did. She is speaking from her own
experience of life and culture, without the benefit of insights gleaned
from blogging about feminism for a living.

This is clear from the
language Dunst used. “I feel like . . .” is the way members of her
generation signal that they are about to offer a tentative and
subjective opinion. Dunst expresses appreciation for the work that her
stay-at-home mother did and makes the obvious observation that such work
is sometimes undervalued in our culture.

Undervalued, and often
misrepresented. The writer Ariane Sommer, in reaction to Dunst’s
comments, told Fox News that “people nowadays have to make a living and
simply can’t afford the luxury of spending the entire day at home.”

Actually,
for many families, it makes economic sense for a parent to provide
full-time child care rather than paying someone else to do it, given the
cost of day care, transportation, and taxes on additional family
income. Most stay-at-home mothers are middle-class; they are not
indulging in a “luxury.” As the New York Times has reported,
Census Bureau data show that “65 percent of married women who stay home
with children under 18 years old live in households that earn less than
$75,000 a year.”

In any case, Dunst did not say, “Women should
know their place is in the home,” as one blog headline claimed. She
actually said, “We all have to get our own jobs and make our own money.”

About romantic relationships, Dunst was more categorical. Some critics
interpreted the statement that “you need a man to be a man and a woman
to be a woman” for a relationship to work as being disparaging of gays.
The theory here is that this claim is exclusively applicable to
heterosexual couples. By that standard pretty much all relationship
advice offered in women’s magazines is insulting to gay people.

Where
Dunst really hit a nerve was in touching on a dynamic that has
bedeviled modern women: how to reconcile their desire for an equal
partnership with their desire to maintain gender differences in their
relationships. Anyone who doubts this is a live issue — at least for
upper-middle-class educated women — needs to take a look at the pages of
The Atlantic and the New York Times, or contemplate the fact that Fifty Shades of Grey sold 50 million copies in this country.

Dunst
is just as qualified to offer an opinion on that subject as anyone who
thinks she’s insufficiently schooled in gender theory.

— Katherine Connell is an associate editor at National Review.