“Yes, the Supreme Court just made a decision that guns are more important than these young women and their lives… I think we’re going to have a revolution of sorts,” Jennifer Siebel Newsom, producer and director of “Fair Play,” a recent documentary on gender roles within a heterosexual relationship, proclaimed on Sunday night’s CNN Newsroom.
Host Pamela Brown welcomed both Newsom and the author of “Fair Play,” Eve Rodsky onto the show to discuss their recent documentary. The conversation quickly changed to that of “the main ways” that women have found a way into society by “managing their own fertility.”
As soon as Newsom and Rodsky joined, Brown asked how the overturning of Roe v. Wade will affect women in the home as it relates to the gender roles that these women projected in their film.
Harm was their conclusion, since “the patriarchy is still at work and still in control in our country, and unfortunately, the Highest Court in our country.”
Newsom boldly stated, as Americans, “We still don’t value the family. We don’t even have – you now, recognize women and the family and the Constitution. And women are now relegated to second-class citizenhood.”
Rodsky, nodding in agreement, added on saying, “this is not about the babies… we know that this is really about power and control and really, it comes down to what we’re talking about in this film, that women are the social safety net for this country… we’re making them be the breadwinners for the family. We’re making them do the super majority of childcare and housework in their homes.”
How could the right be so cruel in making them get pregnant and get a job?!
Circling back to the topic of the film, Rodsky expressed the idea behind the book that “we start to invite men to their full power in the home, so that women can step into their full power in the world… what this film does is show the benefits.”
Diagnosing men in the home, Newsom stated that “men doing their fair share at home... if men did 50 more minutes of care work and domestic work a day, they would have less depression, less anxiety… they’d be happier… they’d have a better sex life.”
Newsom makes the point that since these women will have “less access to control our own reproduction, and we will have more forced births, then we’re going to have more caregivers and we’re going to have more mothers continuing to burn out at the pace that we’re putting them at.”
In the end, according to these experts, women need abortion rights so that they manage their fertility, not be forced to give birth, keep the baby and struggle with heterosexual partnered relationship roles in the household; men just need to help out, then they will live better lives.
Click "expand" to read the full transcript.
CNN Newsroom with Pamela Brown
7:50:41 p.m. Eastern
PAMELA BROWN: Joining me now, Eve Rodsky, author of "Fair Play," and Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who produced, wrote, and directed the documentary.
Hi, ladies. Wow. What a trailer that was.
So Jennifer, we booked this discussion before Friday's Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. I have to address the fact that one of the main ways that women have found any agency in the society is by managing their own fertility.
What do you think about this? What if that ability is compromised or taken away?
JENNIFER SIEBEL NEWSOM (write, producer, and director, “Fair Play”): No. Thank you for bringing us to the reality of this really dark new reality for so many Americans and people who can get pregnant, and it's just a really scary time. And unfortunately, women once again, are being punished and controlled by an extreme far right agenda, evangelical agenda that really is, you know, the patriarchy is still at work and still in control in our country, and unfortunately, the Highest Court in our country.
And so we're going to pay the price. We're still not paid equitably. We are a country that doesn't have universal paid family leave or universal childcare or are universal sick leave. And so we're struggling, right?
We still don't value the family. We don't even have -- you know, recognize women and the family and the Constitution. And women are now relegated to second class citizenhood.
And so it's a really, really dark time in our history and women and families are going to pay the price and this is very dangerous. And it set us back 150 years.
BROWN: Yes. And as you know, there are millions of others on the other side of this issue who say -- who were applauding this, right -- women included, women that I have interviewed who are applauding this, who say this is protecting the weakness. This is what we have been fighting for, for the last 50 years, and this is coming at us at a time, Eve, as we see the concurrence from Justice Thomas, even wanting to revisit the right to use contraception.
What do you think about that?
EVE RODSKY (author “Fair Play”) : Well, I think that this is not about babies. If this was about babies, then we would have universal childcare in America, we would have paid leave in America, we would actually care to have access to schools that are not just until 2:30, but we know, we know that this is really about power and control and really, it comes down to what we're talking about in the film, that women are the social safety net for this country.
And as we add more caregivers, because we have less access to control our own reproduction, and we will have more forced births, then we're going to have more caregivers and we're going to have more mothers continuing to burn out at the pace that we're putting them at.
We're making them be the breadwinners for their family. We're making them do the super majority of childcare and housework in their homes. During the pandemic, we were making them homeschool their children. It's unsustainable, actually. It feels incredibly unsustainable.
BROWN: Let's talk a little bit more about this documentary. It started as a spreadsheet, it then became a book. Modern women have been talking about unequal division of labor for decades. But the needle hasn't really moved as much as many women say it should.
The fact is, we still live in a patriarchal society. So, how is this ever going to change especially in the wake of this abortion decision, Eve?
RODSKY: Well, I think the only way it's going to change as you saw in the trailer is if we start to invite men to their full power in the home, so that women can step into their full power in the world. And what this film does is it shows the benefits -- the benefits.
This is not chores and housework and who takes out the garbage or who left the sponge in the sink. Who taught us to ride a bike? Who we went grocery shopping with? Who we made our meals with?
This work, the unpaid labor of our society is our true humanity and it's where we get our love. It's where we get our memories. And so to center caregiving as opposed to paid work is how I think we're going to change things.
RODSKY: Because I started to ask leaders: Do you believe an hour in the boardroom is as important as an hour holding your child's hand at the pediatrician's office? Which one is more important to our society?
BROWN: Jennifer, I want to bring you back in. Why do you think Eve's "Fair Play" book needed to become a documentary?
NEWSOM: Well, first of all, because I think it needed to speak more to men, because men aren't always going to gravitate towards a book that looks like it's, you know, meant only for women. And so I know for a fact that, you know, Eve is hysterical.
I can't wait for couples, for all folks to see this film. It's poignant. It's educational. It's inspirational. It's painful, but it's got the whole kind of, you know, films are great catalysts for awakening consciousness and shifting hearts and minds, and attitudes, and behaviors, and ultimately, transforming culture.
And so I think this film has the ability to complement the book, because again, they're different. So I highly recommend you read the book, and then I highly recommend that you also take your partner to see the film.
One thing I just want to add that you were just talking about, though, about the present. And the hope that I feel right now is that I think there are enough fathers that are so upset about the ruling the other day, and young women who really didn't realize how privileged they were and often, you don't know until you're in the workforce, and you have, you know, a disrespectful, you know, slimy, harassing, you know, boss or male colleague.
That's when you start to go, "Ooh," you know, or you're not paid equitably.
And so I think these young women are like, you can't put their genie back in the bottle. They're so angry right now and these fathers who have daughters are so angry right now and don't know how to communicate to their daughters that actually, yes, the Supreme Court just made a decision that guns are more important than these young women and their lives.
And so I think that we're going to have a revolution of sorts, and I have hope, because we all have to be awakened to what has really been going on. And again, as we mentioned earlier, has been planned, and ultimately, men doing their fair share at home, just really quickly, if men did 50 more minutes of care work and domestic work a day, they would have less depression, less anxiety. They'd be less likely to be on prescribed meds.
They'd be happier. They'd have greater longevity. They'd have a better sex life. Their marriages would be better.
Their wives would have all the benefits of less anxiety and depression and less of that mental load, more leisure time, and then their children would have better cognitive development. They would have healthier relationships and fewer peer problems.
So there's so many benefits to men stepping into care at home. Fifty more minutes a day or 40 percent of child and domestic work.
BROWN: Of course, my husband would say, I've been doing that, but I've not seen these benefits.
Anyway, Eve and Jennifer, thank you so much.
We'll be right back.