Tucker Carlson's breastfeeding jab at Pete Buttigieg is the epitome of homophobia – and of patriarchy

Asia's Tech News Daily

Pete Buttigieg (EPA)

Remember that episode of The Office where Angela adopts a new cat? “This company still doesn’t recognize cat maternity,” she rants. “I mean somebody has a kid, oh sure, take off a year.”

“Cat maternity” is so patently absurd I guffaw every time. Paternity leave on the other hand – for humans, not felines – is hardly a laughing matter. Well, unless you’re Tucker Carlson.

The Fox News host and dimestore Dwight Schrute couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a homophobic pot shot at Pete Buttigieg. The Transportation Secretary is coming back to work full-time after taking time off to spend with his husband and their two new adopted children. “Paternity leave, they call it,” Carlson smugly said, “trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went.”

There’s more to unpack here than could fit on all the container ships Carlson could use to justify his homophobic quip. It speaks to how conservatives like Carlson view not only gay people, but the roles of women and men in the family and society. It shows the hypocrisy of elite conservatives like Carlson and his Fox News colleagues. And it underscores the need for paid parental leave across all sectors of the American economy.

A 2019 study by Pew found that the US ranks last out of nearly 50 nations when it came to parental leave. We are one of only three developed countries not to mandate paid parental leave, including maternity leave. Only five states and the District of Columbia require it at a subnational level. Because of this, despite the risks to women returning to work after giving birth – a physically arduous experience from which women require time to recover – one in four American women go back to work within two weeks after giving birth.

Clearly, when talking about paid parental leave, Americans are already starting from behind. Well, most Americans. Fox News actually does offer both maternity leave and paternity leave to its employees. Hosts Todd Piro and Jesse Watters both took paternity leave after the births of their children. “I used to mock people for taking paternity, I used to think it was a big ruse,” Watters said after returning from his own paternity leave. “But now, ya know, I wish I could take six weeks.”

I don’t recall Carlson having much to say about Watters or Piro. So why Buttigieg? Carlson would no doubt say that a public official – a cabinet secretary, no less – should be held to a higher standard than a television personality or everyday new mom or dad. We are in a time of crisis – I’ve written about supply chain shortages myself – and Buttigieg is a leader. He should be working for the American people, not at home with his family.

That’s fair – except Carlson didn’t say that. He made a joke about Buttigieg trying to breastfeed. Comparing gay men to women is a time-honored insult (though I don’t think being a woman is something insulting). This was not about container ships and supply chains; this was about homophobia and patriarchy, and Carlson’s desire to see what he perceives as the “natural order” of things restored.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.Update your settings here to see it.

Let’s get real here. This “joke” was not about the Secretary of Transportation not doing his job; it was about a gay man pretending to be a woman.

There are two things men like Carlson can’t stand: uppity women and queers. They have rigid ideas of what the proper role for the sexes is, and a gay father taking parental leave to spend time with his husband and new babies challenges those ideas. It infuriates them because they see it as a violation of the natural order. To men like Carlson, women are God-ordained to care for the children and tend to home and hearth, while men are intended as breadwinners.

A gay couple like the Buttigieges challenges this notion. To see a man putting his children over his career, being nurturing, taking on the role of the primary caregiver upends Carlson’s worldview. It offends every backwards belief he has about gender roles and the labor women are meant to perform. Seeing Pete Buttigieg (or any man) feed an infant, change a diaper, or nurture a child demonstrates that men are just as capable of this as women. And if men can do women’s work, to a mind like Carlson’s, women might begin to think they can do men’s work – or worse expect men to help out with the “women’s work”.

Thus, the entire patriarchal order is shown to be what it is: a farce, a ruse, a lie. Fathers taking time off to nurture their children – and finding they enjoy it – goes against the doctrine of “separate spheres” that conservatives have been clinging to since the Victorian era.

It is tempting, I think, for us to consider this a product of a bygone era. Certainly, second wave feminism made great strides towards liberating women from effective home confinement. But in their landmark 1989 book The Second Shift, Arlie Hochschild and Anne Machung found that women of the late 20th century were not doing less housework as they began their careers. Rather, they were working an 8-hour day only to come home to have to still do a disproportionate share of household labor. Men found all sorts of inventive ways to avoid doing housework, including feigning incompetence and simply putting it off until their exasperated wives did it for them.

This phenomenon, known as “the double burden”, persists to this day. Despite nearly 60% of married couples both working outside the home, on average women still do two hours of housework more than men every day. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

And so to Carlson’s derision of Secretary Buttigieg. To him, a man taking paternity leave is not only absurd, but threatening, because he doesn’t want to be expected to provide that care. The notion that a man might want to care for his children, that he might want spend time at home in the domestic sphere, doing all the work that entails – to Tucker Carlson, that’s a ludicrous as taking maternity leave for a cat.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

These shows are battling to be the next ‘Game of Thrones'

Daniel Henney as Lan and Rosamund Pike as Moiraine in “The Wheel of Time.” Everyone wants to be king. “Game of Thrones” might have ended two years ago with a ... Read more »

Video: Point-scoring while migrants die? Furious Tories brand Macron 'petulant' after he BANS Priti Patel from crisis summit in revenge for 'mediocre' Boris's open letter demanding action to stop Channel crossings - but PM 'has no regrets'

Read more »

Why the latest Africa travel bans could hammer a safari industry already on the edge

Sarah Marshall and Himba villagers When Namibia’s Himba communities first found out about Covid, they thought the world was coming to an end. “We were told something was killing people ... Read more »

Biden gets it (mostly) right on democracy summit

Joe Biden REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein You know you’re doing something right when you draw the ire of the Chinese Communist Party, and President Joe Biden has done just that by inviting ... Read more »

Liz Truss aide was 'axed over unsubtle bid for her to be Prime Minister' after Foreign Secretary's ally angered No10

Bim Afolami was demoted by Truss after unsubtle attempts to drum up supportAfolami was removed from the Foreign Office and is now working for DCMSHe reportedly angered No10 with an article he wrote criticising the Government Read more »

Kurdish woman, 24, who wanted to live with husband-to-be in UK becomes first named Channel victim

© Krmanj Ezzat Dargali/Facebook Maryam ‘Baran’ Nuri Hamdamin died after a dinghy she was in deflated in the English Channel – Krmanj Ezzat Dargali/Facebook A young woman who dreamed of ... Read more »

Stephen Sondheim death: Fans celebrate his greatest songs on social media

© Gettty Stephen Sondheim – Gettty Stephen Sondheim, the legendary theatre composer has died aged 91 and fans have been paying tribute. Regarded as one of the foremost artists of ... Read more »

Ralf Rangnick's Cristiano Ronaldo issue as Man Utd frustrations emerge on WhatsApp

Big changes are coming at Manchester United The sacking of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears set to trigger a new era at the club, with Ralf Rangnick the man expected ... Read more »

San Diego: One dead in shooting at entrance to Marine Recruit Depot

One person was shot and killed at the entrance of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego Friday, authorities have confirmed to CNN. © KGTV Guards shot a driver ... Read more »

Travel expert Simon Calder answers 10 pressing questions as the red list returns

The travel correspondent of The Independent was last seen heading for Lapland for his traditional catch-up with the elves one month ahead of Christmas. But from as he headed across ... Read more »

Video: Terrifying moment rival gangs blast each other across the street in broad daylight in vicious gun battle that left 22-year-old man dead after being hit THRTEEN times - as thugs, 18 and 23, are jailed 

Read more »

The Bachelorette's Brooke Blurton celebrates moving in with Darvid Garayeli with big balloons and champagne - and gives a glimpse inside their new love nest

Brooke Blurton and her chosen love Darvid Garayeli announced that they’ve moved in together, following Thursday’s Bachelorette finale. And on Friday, she celebrated their special milestone together by posting a collection ... Read more »

Strictly's Nadiya Bychkova oozes glamour in a slinky black wrap dress

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo She always dazzles when she takes to the dancefloor.  And Nadiya Bychkova wowed in a slinky black wrap dress as she left It Takes Two ... Read more »

Where did it go wrong for Roland Mouret, Meghan's go-to British designer?

Back in 2005, even those with the mildest interest in fashion would have been familiar with Roland Mouret’s Galaxy dress. The figure-enhancing shift, made using a 1950s corsetry fabric called ... Read more »

Testing times in the Olympic mountains

China’s Olympic preparations have been marred by coronavirus, human rights abuse allegations, and former Chinese Olympian and tennis star Peng Shuai accusing a senior government official of sexual assault. Despite ... Read more »

Video: 19 dead, 32 injured in Mexico pilgrimage bus crash

Read more »

Chris Cuomo spotted carrying Christmas wreaths on Thanksgiving hours before his tirade saying 'woke people kill Thanksgiving'

Chris Cuomo, 51, was spotted loading Christmas wreaths into his Tesla on Thanksgiving in AmagansettCuomo later went on a rant in his SiriusXM radio show Let's Get After It with Chris Cuomo about the holidaysHe claimed 'Christmas doesn't do it' for him stating that Thanksgiving is is 'favorite holiday'The CNN anchor and radio host went on to say that 'now you woke folk trying to kill it for me'Ratings on Cuomo's 9pm Prime Time CNN program hit an all-time low this month, according to Nielsen Cuomo's ratings began to decline after his brother, Andrew Cuomo, was forced to resign as governor of New York following accusations of sexual harassment by 11 women Read more »

Sensex plunges 1,688 points as new virus variant spooks global markets

MUMBAI: A new variant of Covid-19 virus, first found in Botswana which can possibly resist available vaccines, pushed global investors onto the backfoot, that in turn led to a sell-off ... Read more »

Director Joven Tan's inspiration behind 'Yorme'

© The Manila Times ‘Yorme: The Isko Domagoso Story’ stars Raikko Mateo, Xian Lim and McCoy de Leon. PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK/SARANGGOLAMEDIA ‘Yorme: The Isko Domagoso Story’ stars Raikko Mateo, Xian ... Read more »

Former NFL running back Tiki Barber credits joint strengthening exercises for his late career success — and says young players can improve with age the same way

© Kirby Lee/NFLPhotoLibrary Former NFL running back Tiki Barber credits joint strengthening exercises for his late career success — and says young players can improve with age the same way ... Read more »

Sudanese politicians released after beginning hunger strike

© Reuters/EL TAYEB SIDDIG People take part in a protest in Khartoum CAIRO (Reuters) – Sudan’s former minister of cabinet affairs Khalid Omer Yousif was released from detention along with ... Read more »

Google Chromecast gets big Black Friday price cuts

© Google Google Chromecast Black Friday sale includes discounts on the third-generation and Chromecast with Google TV models. Black Friday is in full swing – and among the discounts from ... Read more »

Dutzende von Corona-Fällen auf Flügen aus Südafrika nach Amsterdam

© KEYSTONE/EPA/REMKO DE WAAL Dutzende von Menschen, die am Freitagabend mit zwei Flügen aus Südafrika in Amsterdam angekommen sind, haben sich laut den niederländischen Gesundheitsbehörden wahrscheinlich mit dem Coronavirus infiziert. ... Read more »

How BTS reacted to getting nominated for another Grammy

BTS reacts to Grammy BTS just made another big achievement in the form of a second Grammy nomination, and it looks like the group is very much hyped about it. ... Read more »

Look: Kirk Ferentz Gets Visibly Emotional After Win Over Nebraska

© Provided by The Spun A closeup of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz. Iowa trailed by double digits to Nebraska in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game, but Kirk Ferentz’s ... Read more »

Coleraine summer signing Conor McKendry: Oran Kearney is getting the best out of me

Coleraine summer signing Conor McKendry has credited his flying start at the Ballycastle Road Showgrounds to a tight knit changing room and inspirational boss Oran Kearney. McKendry has fired home ... Read more »

Dozens on flights from South Africa to Amsterdam infected with Covid-19, Dutch authorities say

Dozens on flights from South Africa to Amsterdam infected with Covid-19, Dutch authorities say Dutch health authorities said that dozens of people who arrived in Amsterdam on two flights from ... Read more »

Forgery case: Rajasthan court issues arrest warrant against former minister

© Provided by The Indian Express A court in Rajasthan’s Bundi district has issued an arrest warrant against former Union minister Bhanwar Jitendra Singh and two others in a forgery ... Read more »

PHOTOS: Hrithik Roshan looks stylish in comfy attire as he gets papped in the city

Hrithik Roshan has been ruling the film industry for years now. By delivering some thrilling movies over the years, Hrithik has established him as one of the highest-paid actors in ... Read more »

Video: Attention all budding astronauts! UK Space Agency launches a competition for 4-11-year-olds to design a logo to go on rockets blasting off from UK spaceports in 2022

Read more »

Issa brothers mull $35bn merger of Asda with their petrol stations

The billionaire Issa brothers are weighing up a merger of Asda and their petrol station business EG Group.  © Provided by The Telegraph Asda The Blackburn-based entrepreneurs have been reviewing ... Read more »

Video: 'I can now breath': Shirley Ballas reveals her kidneys are cancer-free after weeks of anxiety waiting for test results following recent health scare

Read more »

USPS, FedEx, UPS 2021 Holiday Shipping Deadlines Are Out -- Shop Now!

© Csondy/Getty Images Each product has been independently selected by our editorial team. We may receive commissions from some links to products on this page. Promotions are subject to availability ... Read more »

Stephen Sondheim could break your heart and make you hear the world anew

© Rex Stephen Sondheim in 2010 – Rex Stephen Sondheim, who has died aged 91, was the towering genius of mid-late 20th century American musical theatre, whose reputation at home ... Read more »

Video: 'Keep on going buddy': Family helps an exhausted kangaroo swim through floodwaters to safety after NSW was hammered by wild weather

Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic