Andrew Klavan, a Daily Wire anchor and novelist known for his irreverent humor and artistic eye, delivered a public lecture on February 27 hosted by the University of Chicago College Republicans. Andrew and his son presented a compelling case for an American renaissance, a cause that people on the right should support. However, conservatives should distance themselves from Andrew’s sexist attitudes.
In this article, I discuss three instances in which Andrew’s views extended beyond mere support for “traditional values” and instead reflected his belief in male supremacy.
1. Andrew Discovers His Wife Is a Person
During the event, I had the opportunity to ask Andrew about his comments on a Daily Wire Backstage episode entitled “The Red Wave.” He said in that episode that he married his wife “because she was hot” and didn’t realize she had intelligence: “[F]or the first ten years I was thinking, well, of course, she has no capacity for reason . . . and then I started to think, ‘Oh, she’s actually seeing the world from a different point of view’” (1:02:15–1:02:55).
In response to my question, Andrew claimed he was joking when he made those remarks about his wife, as anybody familiar with his sense of humor would have suspected. Seconds later, however, he confirmed he was initially only interested in her because she was beautiful and had “just liked her legs.” He reiterated that it was only years after he and his wife married that he finally realized she had depth of character.
Though Andrew certainly exaggerates for comedic effect, he still fundamentally maintains he didn’t realize his wife was a person like him until after ten years of marriage. He disturbingly suggests this is a common and reasonable mistake for young men to make, as if lust is their primary motivation. I’ve met few conservative men who view women that way.
2. Terrible Advice to a Viewer
In Episode 1117 of his talk show, Andrew gave terrible advice to a listener who asked how she could encourage her husband to work more around the house. Her question was as follows, according to the podcast (1:12:47–1:17:15):
My husband and I both work full time trying to make ends meet; we don’t have children, but we plan to in the near future. When we are not working we try to relax and enjoy our hobbies. I like to refurbish antique furniture, I sell a side hustle on Etsy, but my husband has always struggled finding a hobby he can commit to and he ends up just playing video games.
I have no issue with video games per se, but my problem comes in when he doesn’t live up to doing his assigned chores each week or not cleaning up after himself and just leaving messes. I’m not sure how to approach him on this because I don’t want to make him feel guilty over the one hobby he finds some enjoyment in, but I also don’t want to have a husband who is lazy as a future father and role model to our children. Should I be worried? What should I do?
Andrew felt the most striking issue in this letter was the notion of “assigned chores.” He reasoned that if the husband wasn’t doing the chores, he had not assigned them to himself. Rather, his wife attempted to appoint the tasks to him even though she is in no place to assign anything to her husband. Andrew concludes, “If he says, ‘Yeah, I want us both to work, but you have to do all the chores,’ you have to do it.”
If the wife disliked this imbalance of responsibility, Andrew advised her to think about “doing your side hustle a little bit more and spending more time praising your husband, making love to your husband, letting him know how much you care about him and how attractive he is.” Presumably, these actions would make her husband more likely to ease her assigned chores.
Here, Andrew doesn’t just indicate men should have complete authority over their wives. He’s suggesting they retain this power even if they’re not the provider or protector of their home.
Consider that in addition to working full-time and doing all the chores at home, the wife who wrote to Andrew has two productive hobbies that generate savings for the family. If a man must depend on his wife not only to work a full-time job but to work multiple side hustles as well just to make ends meet, in what sense is he the provider?
This perspective is still wrong even if we set aside the question of whether strict gender roles should be preserved in relationships. Andrew should reflect on the fact that a man’s traditional authority in the household comes not from the nature of his maleness but from the responsibility he willfully takes to provide for the family’s needs. Unaccountable authority is not leadership but tyranny.
By advocating for young men who shirk accountability, Andrew harms not only the women who these men neglect but also the men who never have to grow up.
3. “No Woman Can Fight With a Sword”
Although it is perhaps the least crude, I believe this last claim is the most egregious because it is transparently false. In Episode 821, Andrew reviewed Netflix’s new Witcher series (33:05–33:18):
Immediately, I was put off by the fact that there’s a queen in this who fights like a man, and there are a couple of scenes where women fight with swords. And I just hate these scenes because no woman can fight with a sword. Zero women can fight with a sword.
Many history enthusiasts and medieval combat experts, such as the YouTubers Shadiversity and Blood and Iron HEMA, lambasted Andrew for that claim. HEMA, or Historical European Martial Arts, is a niche community of martial artists who engage in full-contact sparring matches with realistic medieval weapons. They also hold organized tournaments with thousands of contestants.
Some exceptional women, such as Emma Fowler, rank in the top 10% of mixed-sex competitions, while many women are competitive in the top 20%. Although strength is a crucial aspect of almost any competitive sport, skill and technique are far more significant determinants when fighting with weapons.
Even after experts on martial arts corrected Andrew, he has continued to make the demonstrably false claim that no woman could beat a man with a sword, or another variation of it, again, and again, and again over the last three years.
Why It Matters
Andrew’s consistent use of derogatory language about women and refusal to amend his position in the face of evidence indicate at least two things. First, he has a fundamentally misogynistic view of women that goes beyond mere appreciation of biological differences. Second, he has difficulty admitting his mistakes, even if he is verifiably wrong by his own standard of evidence.
It is unclear to me from where Andrew’s views on women come. They are certainly not biblical attitudes despite his Christian convictions. It is clear, however, that Andrew fundamentally subjugates himself not to Truth but to ideology.
Traditional values are not, and should never be construed as, misogynistic. Whether people know that is up to conservatives. If they no longer wish to be associated with sexism, it’s incumbent upon them to call out this language from thought leaders like Andrew Klavan.
He is, of course, still worth hearing. His views do not and should not warrant his complete dismissal. He remains an influential leader in the conservative movement whose compelling ideas generally command respect.
We just need to remain diligent about separating the wheat from the chaff.
* The views expressed in this article solely represent the views of the author, not the views of the Chicago Thinker.