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Are Women People With Rights Independent of Their Relationships With Men? Views Differ

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The “I am a husband and/or father of daughters and therefore actually find the sexual assault of women disturbing” formulation is in itself sexist, and was frequently deployed when Republicans were so outraged they had to hastily re-word their ongoing support for Donald Trump. It’s not only Republicans who talk this way, of course, but it’s definitely not a case where Both Sides Do It equally:

There has been a lot of advice from Washington in the last week about how to treat women:

They should “be championed and revered” (Speaker Paul Ryan); they need “protecting” from “abusive, disparaging treatment” (Senator Michael Crapo); they “deserve to be treated with respect” (Senator Orrin Hatch.)

The language that politicians used to chastise Donald J. Trump for the way he talked about groping women in a video uncovered last week said a lot about their own attitudes toward women.

Many described them in terms of their relationships to men — wives and daughters. Some described women as in need of protection, and others as deserving of respect. In many cases, according to a linguistic analysis of statements by senators, the reactions broke along party lines.

Of the 73 senators who publicly reacted to the video, Republicans were much more likely to refer to their wives, mothers or daughters, and to women’s need for protection. Democrats were more likely to expand their remarks to other groups besides women. The two parties were about equally likely to describe the effect on women as demeaning or some similar language.

The analysis came from Textio, which makes software that companies use to analyze job postings and other documents for bias. At the request of The New York Times, Textio analyzed the language of every public statement made by a senator on Twitter or elsewhere in response to the video in the 72 hours after it was released.

Republicans were much more likely to make a statement: Only five of the 54 Republican senators did not. Nine of them — but no Democrats — phrased their comments in terms of their familial relationships with women.

“I used to think that sexually assaulting women was a riot, like Billy Bush, but then I married one and I dunno, it seems wrong.”

I guess it’s time to revisit this Mallory Ortberg classic:

Listen, as a father of daughters, I’m really against this kind of behavior, this kind of treatment of women. The kind where they get hurt or they can’t vote or we don’t give any money to them. You know the kind I’m talking about. The kind I don’t want my daughters to experience, and then I just sort of extrapolate out from there.

It didn’t always used to be this way. I used to only have sons. Things sure were different then. How merrily I used to drive down country lanes in my old Ford, periodically dodging off-road to mow down female pedestrians (you must remember I had no daughters then). Was what I did wrong? How was I to know? I had no daughters to think of.

Before I had daughters — Stimothy and Atalanta are truly the apples of my eye — I would follow women into voting booths and knock their hands away from the lever whenever they tried to engage in the democratic process. Who knew having daughters would change all that? Not I.

Personally, now that I have daughters, I don’t think anyone should do bad things to women, especially the ones who are my daughters. I think we should treat every woman in the world like she was my daughter, except for my wife and my mother, who I will treat slightly differently.

Did you know that when you have daughters, it’s like making a woman you have to care about out of parts of your own body? Well, it’s true. Now that I have daughters (two of them, to the best of my knowledge), I’ve got all sorts of new ideas about how to treat women. Now that I’ve got daughters, it’s time for the whole world to make some changes.

I’m not proud to admit this, but before I had daughters, I sometimes used to harvest women for their organs to build Liver Pyramids in my backyard. I just didn’t see a problem with it. I sure do now, though. What if someone killed my daughters just to make a pyramid, or even a ziggurat, out of women’s internal organs in their backyard? I sure wouldn’t like that at all. They’re my daughters!

 

 

 

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  • brad

    I do have to admit enjoying the thought of one of those perverts who take their daughters to purity balls facing the cognitive dissonance of wanting to call Trump daddy but not wanting their daughter to. Their poor little ouchy brains.

  • Platypus Prime
    • It’s the “actual” before forest witch that really gets me.

      • njorl

        And my English teacher tried to convince me that all uses of “actual” and “actually” were actually superfluous. Shows what he knows.

        • tsam

          No ackshelly, no sea lioning, ackhelly. Actually not superfluous in any way, shape or form. Also, redundant clichés are cool.

  • Spiny

    Related, Mike Pence’s comments on the matter have been stomach-turning, with his emphasis on how as a Christian, he is called to exhibit grace and forgiveness.

    This motherfucker genuinely wants credit for having dug deep inside and found the heart to forgive Donald Trump for his comments about people who are not Mike Pence, and the assaults he almost certainly inflicted on people who do not have Mike Pence’s genital configuration. Truly a model of Christian character.

    • McAllen

      Now, now. After the Republicans all offered forgiveness and grace to Bill Clinton for his affair with Lewinsky it’s only fair they ask the same for Trump.

      • Spiny

        I remember the way Newt Gingrich walked out to the podium and humbly announced that none of us are without sin, and he who casts the first stone must not live in a glass house and also should wash the feet of prostitutes.

        I may not be remembering correctly, though, I was only 12.

        • (((Hogan)))

          and also should wash the feet of prostitutes.

          Wasn’t that Dick Morris?

      • brad

        Bill tricked Lewinsky into giving consent and wanting it herself, corrupting that poor, lost, downright stupid 23 year old grown woman's virtue. Trump may be a lech, but his predations are unwanted, in their souls these underage young women whose privacy, if not more, he violated are still pure.

        • Tricked Lewinsky? Corrupting her virtue? What the fucking fuck? A 23 year old woman is an adult, fully capable of choosing to have sex with a guy. Her “virtue” isn’t corrupted, given away, or lost when she does so. The terrible things that happened to Lewinsky happened not because she had sex with a noted hound dog and married man but because she wound up in the cross hairs of Republicans and the media.

          • wjts

            The Sarcasm Font is a thing with the kids these days.

          • brad

            As wjts says, that was 100% sarcasm.

            • Oh My Dog. Now I spend all day, twice a week, as the oldest person in the classroom (older even than my professors) and I just CAN’T KEEP UP. My apologies to brad. It did seem rather out of character for you!

              • As long as he stays off your lawn you’ll be fine.

        • cleek

          Bill tricked Lewinsky into giving consent and wanting it herself

          while i’m not saying the GOP handled it correctly… Clinton was her boss and also the President – not exactly an even balance of power. if it was a company, he’d have found himself in an uncomfortable meeting in the HR director’s office with the company’s lawyers all standing in the corner (instead of the mild inconvenience of an impeachment, i know…). every workplace ethics training class warns about boss/subordinate relationships and many places absolutely bar them between executives and subordinates.

          • brad

            I don’t disagree at all. He done wrong, as did Lewinsky to a lesser degree by numerous orders of magnitude. But they chose to do it together, which is the rather key difference with the Trumpstalker.

            • Incontinentia Buttocks

              Also: Bill Clinton is not running for President

              • NonyNony

                This is a key point and is 100% true. The impact of this on the election of Hillary Clinton should be meaningless (though it isn’t).

                It doesn’t make Bill Clinton less of an idiot though.

                • ColBatGuano

                  It doesn’t make Bill Clinton less of an idiot though.

                  To me, Clinton’s inability to keep his dick in his pants is the prominent cause of some of our biggest problems today. Without Lewinsky, doesn’t Gore waltz into the White House with a budget surplus? No huge upper class tax cut and maybe SS gets addressed. And sure, 9/11 still occurs, but he couldn’t possibly have mishandled it worse than W.

                • GeoX

                  I don’t think it’s at all a given that 911 still occurs under President Gore. Do you think he would’ve been as cavalier about security warnings as the Bush admin was?

              • UncleEbeneezer

                Also, also too: the people screeching most loudly about this issue have been suspiciously absent in supporting laws (or even sincere conversations about) protecting women from exploitation by their employers and other people in positions of power. It’s almost like they don’t care at all and are just using the opportunity to attack their political opponents.

                • Who would ever think that Republicans would make attacks purely for political gain and not purely for political gain? *faints*

            • bender

              Some young women in Lewinsky’s position would regard shagging a fairly young, fairly good looking, charming President as a conquest, a notch on their belt, an adventure, or all three. And not as something they needed to do to please the boss. Whether or not that was Lewinsky’s attitude, I do not know. The only people who were definitely harmed by Bill’s infidelity in this instance were his wife and children.

              • q-tip

                his wife and children

                COMMENTER ON PRO-HILARY BLOG CONFIRMS EXISTENCE OF BILL’S BLACK LOVE CHILD

          • NonyNony

            Clinton was her boss and also the President – not exactly an even balance of power.

            And also he was much older than her and should have been less stupid. Even if we set the power imbalance aside and for the sake of the argument assume that she threw herself at him rather than him using his power as leverage – the idea that she might be a bit star struck and thrown herself at him does not excuse him taking advantage of the situation. He should have been able to say “nope – you’re not a groupie, I’m not Mick Jagger, and this is not backstage”.

            Instead he was an idiot with no self control. Even if the entire thing was consensual it’s still goddamn stupid. And the power imbalance just makes it worse.

      • ThrottleJockey

        +1. Those Republicans. Always so forgiving…to other Republicans.

        • witlesschum

          …who did something that doesn’t really bother Republicans that much. If Trump had voted for a Medicaid expansion or something, he’d be dead to them.

          • Pat

            Priorities, people!

            Free medical care for the poor == bad!

            Groping women without their consent == ick, but IOIYAR!

    • DrDick

      Funny how that “grace and forgiveness” does not extended to women exercising agency, minorities demanding they be treated equally, or people who engage in sex with the wrong sort of people in his view.

      • Spiny

        The best comment about Mike Pence so far has been that every time he officially speaks, he looks like he’s about to announce the Sentinels have been deployed to capture or kill the X-Men.

      • Peterr

        Speaking professionally, Pence has a very twisted understanding of grace and forgiveness. Forgiveness is not something you give because someone said the magic words “I apologized.” It’s something you give because you are tired of allowing that person’s ugly behavior to continue to bother and badger and dominate your life.

        And grace does not mean you get to keep your position and your status and your property without paying any consequences. There is no contradiction between saying that a priest who abused a child may be forgiven and at the same time can no longer serve as a priest.

        Pence’s vision, on the other hand, is what lies behind the injunction given by some on the religious right to battered women to return to their husbands. In fact, the more I think about it, that’s what this whole discussion of Trump’s so-called locker room comments sounds like: “C’mon, you gotta go back to him, even after that . . .”

        • Spiny

          That’s interesting, thanks. I’ve seen a lot of good anti-Trump Catholic and evangelical leaders start to get airtime to explain calmly that his behavior and policies (especially regarding persecution of minorities) ought to be unacceptable to Christians.

        • DrDick

          While I would agree with your reading, Pence very much expresses the prevalent Fundamentalist/Evangelical perspective on this (“much like hate the sin, love the sinner”). I grew up around these folks and hypocrisy and judgmental prejudice are their guiding lights.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

          Pence’s position is basically the “Jesus is a get-out-of-jail-for-free card”, something that Jesus himself spoke against. (Well, technically not the Jesus-worshiping part, because that wasn’t happening while he was alive. But he spoke against the principle that some vague mumbled ‘sorry’ meant that forgiveness had to be given.)

    • Bitter Scribe

      To paraphrase Obama in his last public appearance: You can forgive someone without wanting them to be President of the United States.

      • skate

        That would be “Forgive but don’t forget”?

      • Pat

        It’s pretty pointless to forgive someone for something that they a) think is A-OK and b) plan on continuing to do.

        ‘Cause you’ll be forgiving them over and over and over..

    • njorl

      To err is human.
      To forgive divine.
      To mouth forgiveness when it is in your selfish best interest is Republican.

  • Warren Terra

    Apparently one of the most upsetting aspects of the Access Hollywood tape for many conservatives was Trump’s hitting on a married woman.

    It’s weird, because everything else in the tape is worse. The sexual assaults, obviously, but just generally Donnie and Billy treating women like meat; even the use of vulgar language. At least as Trump pursued Nancy O’Dell he tried to appear suave and to persuade her, tried to interest her in a liaison. Sleazy behavior certainly, and a betrayal of Trump’s commitment to his partner, but easily the least worst part of the tape (that he later punished O’Dell for her refusal is hugely important and too little discussed, but isn’t part of the tape).

    But of course, it’s of a piece with the OP. The problem for many conservatives is less how Trump treats women than how he treats other people’s women. The victim isn’t the woman, it’s some man affiliated with her – her father, husband, or brother.

    • Sly

      But of course, it’s of a piece with the OP. The problem for many conservatives is less how Trump treats women than how he treats other people’s women. The victim isn’t the woman, it’s some man affiliated with her – her father, husband, or brother.

      What I find fascinating is that the people who think Trump preying on a married woman (and failing) is an example of his Alpha Male Superiority are the same people who have a bizarre and creepy obsession with cuckoldry*.

      *Obligatory.

    • UncleEbeneezer

      Apparently one of the most upsetting aspects of the Access Hollywood tape for many conservatives was Trump’s hitting on a married woman.

      They’re outraged now that it is an issue of Property Rights!!

  • tsam

    These are the guys who make constant jokes about cleaning the shotgun when a boy comes around. Super tough guys. Great parents–making sure their daughters know that daddy doesn’t trust them to take care of themselves, so a pre-emptive terrorizing of potential dating partners is required.

    Take it away, Lesley Gore….

    “You don’t own me…”

    • sparks

      One of my friends with a daughter had interesting thoughts on how to control her sex life. Fortunately she didn’t listen to him. The worst part was how casually he talked to me about her birth control travails, which I don’t think she would appreciate if she knew.

      Oh yeah, this is a churchgoing man of course.

      • tsam

        OH MY GOD–I have a Facebook friend, (friend of a friend that we see socially every now and then) who has a 17 year old daughter. She’s a smart, pretty, confident teen who is, by my estimation, doing just fine. Anyway, she had been asked to the dance by a boy, and it was all set, but didn’t work out. You know how I found out about the WHOLE THING? HER MOTHER POSTED EVERY BIT OF IT ON FACEBOOK. This poor girl. I feel so damn sorry for her. Every time she gets in trouble for things like missing homework, undone chores, to getting kicked off the cheer squad for smoking weed goes STRAIGHT TO FACEBOOK. Now, this bad. We can all agree on that. But then all her mom’s fucked up friends (especially my leftier than thou, Kool Kid Bernie Bro friend) start blasting parenting advice at her. The whole thing just gives me chills and makes me nauseous. This poor girl.

        • sparks

          If there’s one saving grace, my friend doesn’t put his daughter’s business in the street on Facebook.

          I did have one coworker parent ask me advice when she found her son possessed a porn video (he was 15). I laughed at her and said, “welcome to having a teenager”. She was 16 when she got pregnant with him, so I figured if the kid could do math he’d know his mom was doing plenty when she was his age.

  • tsam

    But what about Beyoncé and 50 Shades of Grey??? There’s a point in there somewhere, isn’t there? Hello? Is this thing on?

    • witlesschum

      Oh, man. I saw a clip of an angry blonde woman trying the “Trump’s okay because Beyonce said fuck and Clinton says she likes Bey and that means that Trump is okay” tack on CNN. The anchors were barely suppressing giggles.

      • tsam

        If you’ve lost CNN because your logic broke the doofus “both sides do it” barrier…

        I just want to impose a permanent ban on using fiction, music and art as some sort of political or ethical shield. It’s dumb.

        By the logic of these chuckleheads, we’re going to give some people a pass on violent murder because millions of people are psychotic enough to entertained by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and other high forms of art like it.

      • rea

        She must not know about Beyonce

        • tsam

          All I know is them fools had best watch what they say about Queen Bey. You get that army after you, you’ll be better off dead.

    • Red Lobster is prohibited by Leviticus 11.

      • tsam

        Leviticus can SUCK IT. I’m gunna have my lobsters and crabs, see?

        • so-in-so

          Ever wonder how many fundamentalists discuss how awful SSM is, while munching shrimp cocktail or clams casino?

          • tsam

            I try not to. Same with calling themselves Christians while having zero clue what the guy after whom the religion was named had to say about rich people, people who make big federal cases about their fucking prayers and rituals, about loving their enemies, about how to treat people they think are beneath them…

            I give up on trying to understand any of it. They’re not Christians, they’re just shitty people who use faith to control other shitty people.

            • so-in-so

              But it’s such fun!

              “Every word of the Bible is literally true! No interpretation is needed.”

              “What about the rich man and the eye of a needle?”

              “No, see, what that means…”

              • tsam

                It’s literal. There’s no way a camel could go through there, see? So that means your money has to equal camel and that’s much more than I have because um OH BOY LOOK AT THE TIME I HAFTA GO NOW

          • Just_Dropping_By

            More sophisticated fundamentalists point to the New Testament verses about man and woman cleaving together, etc., but that’s obviously a much weaker argument since it’s an argument by omission.

            • tsam

              In bible, strong like bull.

              More sophisticated

              Not sure if that’s the word I’d go with…

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    well, god, I hope so, I just got done voting for woman candidates in every office from President down to state representative

    • DrDick

      I do not have that option unfortunately, but I will vote for a woman for president and a openly lesbian Native American woman for my US representative.

    • tsam

      I’ve been sending two women to the Senate for a long time now. One of them knocked off Slade Gorton, who was a candidate for worst person on the planet pretty often. Famed Native American hater and oppressor.

    • cleek

      you voted for a woman for President?!

      don’t you know you cannot vote for a woman President because women are not to have authority over men ?

    • N__B

      I just got done voting for woman candidates in every office from President down to state representative

      Trying to force women into shitty jobs, eh?

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        I’m kind of surprised that Republican haven’t changed the pay for the House and Senate to be less for women.

      • tsam

        At least she won’t be getting a full on meltdown of a war in Iraq and a completely ruined economy. Obama REALLY got fucked over in that deal.

        • Pat

          Yep, she’ll be able to raise taxes on the rich to pay for all kinds of good stuff.

  • There’s a very short and straight line between the thinking behind “wives and daughters” type statements and the way these people constantly vote for abortion and health care restrictions that will only ever fall on poor and brown women. Trump was harassing and assaulting beauty queens and TV hosts, women who cannot be demonized or made into some kind of “other”. These are the kinds of women Republicans think of as being protected, hence “wives and daughters” is a natural part of their reaction. If his tastes ran to frumpy hotel maids and cleaning ladies, I’d bet the reaction would’ve been a lot different.

    • Anna in PDX

      Yes, like Dominique Strauss-Kahn, took me a while and some free association googling to remember his name.

  • McKingford

    I think people are badly missing how important the actual use of the word “pussy” informs the view of this incident.

    When you hear people on the right – both those who defend Trump (“just locker room talk!”) and those appalled by him – they completely miss the forest for the trees, because their focus is almost entirely on the word “pussy” and not the actions described by Trump. That’s why you see his defenders invoke the locker room (because while I can legitimately say I’ve literally never heard anyone boasting about sexual assaults, I have heard various nicknames for women’s genitalia). They honestly think the problem with Trump’s hot mic moment is the vulgar language. That’s why you also see so many of his defenders jumping on rap music (“so crass! Hypocrites!”).

    Similarly, when you boil down the objection of many of his erstwhile supporters, it’s the crassness of the language, rather than the criminal act described, that’s the real problem – just as the coarseness of his previous attacks on women (“pigs”, “blood coming out of her whatever”, etc) was their problem with Trump rather than the misogyny imbued in those attacks.

    • I think that’s wrong. They don’t honestly think the issue is about “locker room talk”–they know perfectly well that he is talking about assaulting women and there is and was plenty of evidence that he was that kind of guy and had hired Roger Ailes after Roger Ailes was found to be exactly that sort of sexual harrasser. But they prefer to pretend because the “locker room” excuse plays to the permanent sense of injured innocence of their base. Its the same as playing the political correctness card. Its just whwat they think of as a very clever jui jitsu style move, like howling at liberals “you said you were so tolerant! why won’t you tolerate my intolerance!”

      • McKingford

        I think you give them too much credit – the cognitive dissonance is pretty strong. I mean, the fact that SO MANY of his defenders are doubling down on the “locker room” talk only makes sense to the extent that they are referencing his vulgar words; and it’s why so many of his defenders are trying to label progressives as hypocrites, because they’ve obviously heard and used such language themselves. Hell – the most widely mocked video clip of the last 72 hours was Betsy McCaughey quoting Beyonce lyrics on Don Lemon as something that’s equally offensive, and all that Beyonce was talking about was rewarding her man with some Red Lobster after a good fuck.

        Being from Toronto, the Trump phenomenon is something we’ve seen mirrored almost exactly with our infamous crack mayor, Rob Ford. The implausibility of his rise, the clownishness, the unseriousness of his policies, the divisiveness of his rhetoric, the utter lack of shame (which is an incredibly useful political weapon – if you have no shame you can endure a LOT in politics), right down to the racism and misogyny coupled with outlandish scandals. And it’s worth noting that the single incident that became a tipping point against him – where, for instance, Council voted to revoke most of his powers and turn him into a figurehead mayor, was not the crack tape or his admission. It was when he went on a rant about the contents of affidavits to obtain search warrants, where he used the word “pussy” and said he had enough to eat at home.

        So, much like Trump, it wasn’t his drug use, consorting with drug dealers and gang members, drunk driving, racism, homophobia or abuse of power: it was the use of the word “pussy”. I guess it’s a pretty powerful word…

        • so-in-so

          Maybe the defenders are focusing on the words because that part is plausibly defensible. Otherwise they are left with explaining why actual assault is fine because as a powerful man Trump is, in fact, allowed to do that.

        • postmodulator

          Hell – the most widely mocked video clip of the last 72 hours was Betsy McCaughey quoting Beyonce lyrics…

          “Don, we think we can pull this out. We’re going to float a trial balloon — going to come out strongly against mutually enjoyable sex and those cheddar Bay biscuits.”

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            going to come out strongly against mutually enjoyable sex

            You’re assuming they endorse, or have even heard of, the idea that a woman can enjoy sex (besides ho’s, of course.)

    • Matt McIrvin

      I remember hearing somewhere that, during Nixon’s Watergate slide to oblivion, he lost a lot of core support when people learned how much profanity he had used on the White House tapes. The image of Nixon swearing a blue streak was the thing that finally broke through some people’s image of him as the straight-arrow defender of conservative tradition.

      • petesh

        Anti-semitism, racism and general bigotry had a lot to do with it, too; also, boozing. But, yes, he went for the buttoned-up image (unlike LBJ) so the tapes were a Big Reveal.

        • postmodulator

          It had been a significant part of Nixon’s public image that he did not smoke and was a teetotaler — Hunter Thompson even printed it. It probably made it slightly more wounding that he was half in the bag every night.

          Per Rick Perlstein, LBJ apparently showed up at some campaign appearances in 1964 drunk and nobody even thought to report it.

          • Emily68

            When Nixon released transcripts of all the tapes with the expletives deleted, some reporter dug up a quote from him back in the 1950s, saying how much better it was for Eisenhower to be in the White House than Truman because of Truman’s salty language.

      • thebewilderness

        Self righteous people pretended, then as now, that it was the vulgarity of the sentiments rather than the sentiments themselves that caused them to repudiate the comments by the self righteous president. They were being just as dishonest about it then as they are now.

    • Origami Isopod

      The vulgar language is a sticking point for the “principled conservatives” who have backed off on their support for him. But I agree with Aimai that those who continue to support Trump know he’s sexually assaulted women. At best, they don’t care. At worst, they admire him for being an “alpha male.”

      Related, I think:

      A 17-year-old who has been volunteering for the Trump campaign, and who also didn’t want his name used, was explaining to a bystander that Trump’s comments weren’t predatory because they let him do it because he’s a star, and that is a form of consent.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        “a form of consent”? I wonder how this 17 year old would feel if Trump’s attentions were focused on *him*. Obligated to do (whatever) because of Trump’s “stardom”?

        • tsam

          Well, this is a bit unfair–a 17 year old should do better, but this 17 year old is taking cues from someone. While he deserves some blame, whoever taught him this bullshit or hamstringed his logical abilities deserves most of the blame.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            well, I fucked up if you’re getting the idea I’m trying to blame the 17 year old. The thing I’m trying to get at, and none too well it seems, is that guys in particular are having a hard time seeing themselves as objects- the way a predator like Trump sees them. We can only think about it as something that’s happening to someone else. I’ve *tried* to think about in terms of *being* backed into a corner and grabbed, being in a position where I know something is going wrong but not how to get out of it. It’s unpleasant to say the least, but for me anyway it’s where an attempt at empathy led. But maybe I don’t have this right

            (edited for directness)

            • tsam

              No, I fucked up because I know you better than to read that you’re looking to torch the kid over it.

              And your point stands, regardless of my misguided response.

          • Origami Isopod

            I was linking to the quote more as an example of the attitude than anything else; I more or less agree with you. That said, the 17-year-old is more than old enough to behave in a predatory fashion himself, so I would not blame women for not wanting to be around him.

  • Srsly Dad Y

    As some of us were saying in a thread last week, before this particular thing erupted, one of the strongest conservative impulses — stated in the most charitable form — is, “I deeply love my family and I only want what’s best for them.” It actually sounds OK until you realize they mean it stone-cold literally.

    • guthrie

      Surely the issue is rather that they believe the only person who can decide what is actually best for the family is the adult male in it. Not the adult woman. Definitely not the children, even if they are 18.

  • AS someone pointed out over at Balloon Juice the real reason these guys start invoking their own families is that to object to Donald Trump’s language on the basis merely of your own prudery or your own sense of its impropriety–without reference to the sensibilities of the weaker sex–runs the risk of having Donald attack you for being a pussy yourself. Its a problem for all male convservatives–how do you push back against a guy like Trump without being attacked for being so weak, female, politically correct? You do it by saying you are doing it on behalf of your property (the women in your life) and you are not offended yourself but on their behalf. Its also a problem specifically for Christianists who have been at war, internally, over the “feminization” of Christianity (and of Christ himself) by a largely female and family oriented population. They don’t like being called out for being weak and female or caring about things from the point of view of women. They are willing to push back on the basis that they are carrying out an essential masculine duty, in a manly kind of way.

    • Peterr

      Trump: “I like running my car key down the side of strangers’ cars in the parking lot.”

      Other Guy: “As a car owner, I wouldn’t like it if someone did that to my car. No one should treat someone else’s car like that.”

      We could be talking about cars or about wives and daughters, but the discussion from the GOP is clearly about property, not people.

      “As the owner of female property, I object!” is no way to mount a serious complaint against what Trump and others like him do.

      • N__B

        That's why you should rent, never buy.

  • JohnT

    The only way in which my family configuration affected my response to that tape is that it reminded me again to teach my sons that that sort of shit is never, ever OK.

    I didn’t need to be father to my daughter or brother to my sisters to know that. But clearly some men struggle with the idea.

  • Pete

    Scott — I understand and agree with the criticism that even people without mothers, spouses, sisters or daughters should have long ago recognized that Trump is just about every bad thing that has been said about him. I also agree that everyone should condemn Trump’s remarks whether or not they have women in their immediate families.

    But Scott — I think the criticisms in this post – and particularly the headline — are somewhat off-base. Were I in a position to issue a condemnation of Trump (and have anyone care beyond my Facebook “friends”) I would certainly refer to my mother and aunts, my sister, my wife and my daughters. Like it or not, they ARE part of the reason his comments horrify me.

    And yes, like almost every other human being, I do care more about people I know than about people I do not know (and more than I care about abstract principles, no matter how important). It is also a simple truth that becoming a parent, for many people, helps draw them out of their own heads — to be less selfish and to think about the feelings and concerns of others more than they had before. I was never anything close to a Trump, but after my girls were born I realized that many things I had just ignored — or thought were kind of funny — when I was younger actually are not funny at all.

    Also I sure as hell do try to “champion” and “protect” my daughters as much as I can — within our society and against people as needed — and I did with my sister, and I do with my wife. (All in different ways fitting the situation.) There is nothing wrong with that. So, if you’re calling these guys out for hypocrisy based on their previous conduct, that’s fine. But please do not imply that feeling this way about the women in your life means that you doubt they are independent people with value.

    • Pete

      In further response to comments above, I guess I just disagree with the idea that referring to your female family members in this context is somehow treating them as my “property” or signalling that to other men.

      • XTPD

        The problem that Scott (and pretty much the entire left) have with the Republican use of the Daughter Clause isn’t that they’re publicly factoring in how Trump’s attitudes would affect their female relatives/friends — it’s that the Daughter Clause is the absolute lowest threshold for treating women considerately, and the Republican empathy towards women hasn’t advanced beyond that. (Also, the fact that even the Daughter Clause hadn’t been evoked until Friday shows their current use of it as blantant opportunism).

      • Ok. #notallmen. Now that we’ve got that out of the way my point upthread stands. The reason that Christianists refer to their wives/daughters as the cause of their outrage with Trump is that that is a socially defensible position from which to attack the Republican Nominee. They are saying that they are literally forced to break with him because of a higher duty towards their wives and daughters. What is that duty? It is a duty of protection, a duty that combines ownership with care taking. That’s embedded in the cultural model of father/husband. Its not up to your feelings to redefine it. It pre-exists your statements and your feelings.

        None of these guys was willing to simply step forward and say what ANY woman or liberal man could say which is that “this kind of language is unacceptable, it is inhumane, it is degrading to all women.” They can’t say that because they don’t think that language that is merely degrading to all women/other women is actually a serious issue. They only think the language is a problem when it causes them to have to worry about their own relationships with their own women. But in addition they don’t feel strong enough as moral actors to simply say “this is what I believe even when it doesn’t affect the people around me–when it simply affects other women.”

      • thebewilderness

        Just so you know Pete, most women hear you talking about your female family members like property and think you are talking about your female family members like property. You are, of course, free to disagree with the women who think you talk about your female family members like they are your chattel.

      • royko

        Scott’s addressing a pretty common and pretty specific trope: “As a father of daughters….” You sometimes see other female family members thrown in, but it almost always includes daughters specifically, which is the “tell.”

        And yes, it’s certainly possible to invoke female family members in a discussion on women’s rights that is relevant, and that doesn’t fall into this trope. But Scott is referencing this specific trope.

        When it’s only possible to support women’s rights in the context of paternalism, there is a problem. It’s along the lines of, “I’m against rape (when it comes to my daughter), that’s why I take my daughter to purity balls!”

    • Origami Isopod

      So it’s all about your feelings, then, and not about how this sort of rhetoric reinforces women’s second-class status in society. Okay then.

      • Randy

        A personalized argument is always stronger. Perhaps it shouldn’t be, but that’s how most of us are programmed to think (“How would you like it if they did that to you?”).

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          “how would you like it if they did that to you?”

          right, I agree- except that isn’t the question those guys are answering- there’s a degree of separation even yet. Is that the thing that’s going on here, that say someone like Paul Ryan is personally frightened by Donald Trump but can’t come right out and say so because that isn’t manly?

        • tsam

          Which is fine, except that’s generally a refuge for “well, they didn’t do it to me because I don’t wear slutty dresses and get drunk at parties” rationalizing. If it happens to any woman, anywhere, it’s wrong–just as wrong as if it were a family member. We ARE all one big family, saith science and saith coolness.

          • Randy

            My Mother always framed it in terms of a person being someone’s family (“You know, that pole dancer is someone’s little girl.”). It made one think.

            • tsam

              Your mother is smart.

            • Pete

              Yes, it does.

        • alex284

          The “as a father of daughters, as a brother of a sister, as a second cousin twice removed of a second cousin twice removed, etc.” argument is the opposite of a personalized argument. The argument is literally putting a degree of separation between the issue and the speaker when there doesn’t need to be one.

          A personalized argument here would be: “I would hate to be sexually assaulted! Fuck Trump! No one should be treated like that!”

          • Origami Isopod

            Nail, hit, head.

            The argument is only “personalized” if you can’t imagine yourself in a woman’s place.

            • N__B

              Given that we’re talking about people who believe that “gay panic” is a defense against charges of assault, they damned well can imaging themselves in a woman’s place. They refuse to do so.

              • so-in-so

                No, see, if they really imagined themselves in a woman’s place they’ed REALLY panic.

      • Pete

        Not what I said at all. And its unwise to ignore or de-legitimize what I said. I’m the kind of voter progressive candidates need support from when they aren’t running against Donald Trump.

        Plus — to hit a theme Scott and others here have pointed out — folks who think like me can pull votes from the right to win office and be pressured from the left when in office.

        I guess what I’m saying is that the context of the statements matter. You obviously think so as well, but you aren’t focusing on individual context — just societal context. If it made you feel better I suppose that I could promise never to say that I support, champion, or would try to protect any woman ever again — within or outside my family. After all, such comments suggest they may need such support.

        I could also promise that if I saw my young daughters or wife being assaulted, I would refrain from threats or primitive displays of physical violence — like some alpha male gorilla. Instead, I could promise to simply dial 911 and await the response of proper authorities while politely suggesting that the perpetrator show more respect for the rights and personhood of those females because these uncivilized activities are just plain inappropriate. That way, I would avoid implying that my wife or young daughters are my property, are weaker in any way, or ever in need of allies or protection.

        But if I made those promises I would be lying, and that’s a good thing.

        • I could also promise that if I saw my young daughters or wife being assaulted, I would refrain from threats or primitive displays of physical violence — like some alpha male gorilla. Instead, I could promise to simply dial 911 and await the response of proper authorities while politely suggesting that the perpetrator show more respect for the rights and personhood of those females because these uncivilized activities are just plain inappropriate. That way, I would avoid implying that my wife or young daughters are my property, are weaker in any way, or ever in need of allies or protection.

          Because the only two options are total violence and complete capitulation. Funny thing is, I know people who have literally been in this situation, and they managed to find a middle-ground.

        • bender

          Pete, I’m glad to hear that you are ready to physically defend members of your family. I hope you are also supporting and encouraging the other members of your family to learn how to recognize when they are in situations that endanger them, learn how to defend themselves, and learn how to defend you or other civilians from physical harm when you need defending.

          The fact that men are expected to defend women and children and women aren’t taught how to defend themselves has a good deal more to do with cultural expectations than with women’s physical capacities. No matter how big, tough, strong and well trained anyone may be, all of us may find ourselves in situations where we are outnumbered or outweaponed.

          When I was younger, I spend some time living alone in some sketchy neighborhoods. I did not study martial arts, but I did learn a few moves that anyone can do when grabbed or threatened. I mentally rehearsed how I would deal with various kinds of stranger danger and what I would do if a sexual encounter wasn’t going the way I wanted it to. I learned how to load and fire handguns.

          I am not a large or athletic person and I’m getting on in years, but when I am out
          with members of my family, one corner of my mind is occupied with how I will defend them. I regard it as my duty as a woman and a more or less able bodied adult to be able to take care of myself and those weaker than me in emergencies, and that includes fighting, blowing a whistle, acting scary crazy or picking up the barstool and whacking somebody on the knees.

        • Not what I said at all. And its unwise to ignore or de-legitimize what I said. I’m the kind of voter progressive candidates need support from when they aren’t running against Donald Trump.

          Now THIS is a tell.

    • alex284

      It is also a simple truth that becoming a parent, for many people, helps draw them out of their own heads — to be less selfish and to think about the feelings and concerns of others more than they had before.

      Um… facts not in evidence.

      • Origami Isopod

        I completely glossed over that. Thank you.

        Yeah, parents are uniquely selfless and compassionate. Must explain all the kids in foster care.

        • Pete

          Again, not what I said at all. I guess the right-wing websites don’t have a monopoly on sloppy thinking and insults.

          • Origami Isopod

            Right, multiple people found your comment eyerolly, so it must be them, not you.

            • John F

              I’m gonna side with Pete here, you CLEARLY distorted what he wrote into something entirely different and then eyerolled at your own distortion.

      • JMP

        I think he’s just telling all of us who don’t (and won’t) have children that he think we’re just completely worthless.

  • anonymous

    The only reason that Clinton is winning overall is that women vote independently of men.

    A 538 article showed that in a men’s only election, Trump leads Clinton 350 to 188 in the EC!

    Let that sink in.

    • Peterr

      Funny, but I thought that article said that the only reason Trump is even close is that men vote independently of women.

      538 said that in a women’s only election, Clinton leads Trump 458 to 80 in the EC!

      Let that sink in, while you check out the side by side maps here.

      • CD

        It may be time to ask whether men are temperamentally equipped to exercise the franchise.

        • (((Hogan)))

          Should we consider epistemomephistocracy?

          • tsam

            I don’t know what that is. Will there be ice cream? Cuz I like ice cream.

    • so-in-so

      Are you complaining? Pointing out that men are assholes?

      • Gabriel Ratchet

        I think Mr anonymous is pointing out that if only men were allowed to vote, as God Himself intended, Trump would win handily, as God also would intend. An election in which only women voted is too much of a crazy alternate dogs-and-cats-living-together universe scenario to take seriously.

    • tsam

      Let that sink in.

      You do it.

  • Peterr

    Hillary should send Claire McCaskill out more as her surrogate on this. When it comes to dealing with harassment in the political sphere, Claire’s dealt with it a lot. From her memoir “Plenty Ladylike”:

    McCaskill writes that she felt uncomfortable as a legislative intern there. Two male lawmakers in an elevator once asked her if she liked “to party” and invited her to one of their offices for drinks, she recalled. “I felt trapped,” she writes. “For the rest of the internship, I took the stairs.”

    Later, as a state representative, she says she asked then-Speaker Bob Griffin for help on a bill she was trying to advance. “Well, did you bring your knee pads?” he asked.

    “I knew he was joking; the problem was that he didn’t realize it was an offensive joke,” she writes.

    The title of her memoir comes from a criticism leveled at her by Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, when he said that she didn’t run a ladylike campaign against incumbent Jim Talent when she first won her senate seat. Using the title of her book that includes such descriptions of mild sexism and not-at-all-mild harassment to constantly poke at Akin and his ilk was a stroke of genius.

    • bender

      I heard the “knee pads” remark frequently when I worked in a mostly male train repair shop. It wasn’t directed at me. It was men talking to other men. I took it as homophobia.

  • encephalopath

    Every time conservatives talk about women I hear Homer Stokes:

    “And our women, let’s not forget those ladies, y’all. Looking to us for protection! From darkies, from Jews, from papists, and from all those smart-ass folks say we come descended from monkeys!”

  • John F

    Before I had daughters — Stimothy and Atalanta are truly the apples of my eye — I would follow women into voting booths and knock their hands away from the lever whenever they tried to engage in the democratic process. Who knew having daughters would change all that? Not I.

    There was a study out that having daughters does in fact have some impact on male behavior/beliefs vis as vis “traditional gender roles”- a man is less likely to believe in/support “traditional gender roles” if they have daughter(s) especially if they have no sons.

    Having sisters OTOH tends to lead to slightly stronger support for traditional gender roles (for obvious reasons- siblings are rivals and traditional gender roles could force your sister into the kitchen to help mom while you get to do something more pleasant.

    The effect is not super strong, but it does exist, some men do in fact become less misogynistic after they have a daughter.

    • Cash & Cable

      I generally agree, but even when men value independence for their daughters, they still prefer that their wives conform to traditional gender stereotypes.

      And like Mr. Trump praising his daughter’s business acumen, men want different things in their wives than in their daughters. Changing gender roles look less threatening when it’s their children who benefit. According to a survey published by Maria Shriver’s Shriver Report, American men listed “intelligence” as the top quality they valued in both a wife and a daughter, but then the responses split: More men said they wanted their wives to be attractive and sweet than said the same about their female children. For daughters, men ranked being independent, strong and principled as more important qualities than those same characteristics in wives. Two-thirds of men want an independent daughter, but only one in three wants an independent wife. Fourteen percent of men said they wanted a wife who was a homemaker; just 5 percent said the same about their daughters.

      If you only give your daughter more opportunities because you see her as an extension of yourself, is that really a reduction in misogyny?

      • John F

        men want different things in their wives than in their daughters.

        I would hope so

        • so-in-so

          Well, we aren’t sure with Trump…

      • Just_Dropping_By

        More men said they wanted their wives to be attractive and sweet than said the same about their female children.

        And I would predict that more women would say they wanted their husbands to be “attractive and sweet” (or substitute stereotypical masculine characteristic for “sweet”) than would say the same about their male children. Is it really shocking or deeply revealing that people place a higher value on “attractiveness” in their sex partner than in other categories of individuals?

        • Cash & Cable

          Shocking? No. But misogyny itself isn’t very shocking. And “attractiveness” can be partially excused (mostly because the term isn’t defined and allows room for non-stereotypical definitions of beauty). But “sweet” reeks of conventional gender norms, as does the devaluation of “independence,” “strength,” and “principle” when it comes to evaluating a possible wife.

      • Colin Day

        What if you also give your sons more opportunities only because you see them as an extension of yourself?

    • Rob in CT

      I think having two daughters reinforced my already feminist-friendly tendencies.

      It wasn’t like I had some epiphany because I was holding a female infant in my arms. But the fact that I have daughters who I love dearly and work to raise every day reinforces, every day, things I already believed. It’s visceral now.

      Before I had daughters I was pro-choice, in favor of gender equality and didn’t much like constrained gender roles. I can’t think of any particular issue position that changed for me since my kids entered the world. But I think the urgency may have shifted.

      There are other possibilities for this, though: I’m more into politics now, more liberal now generally. Also, my wife is awesome and it pisses me off on her behalf is she’s not getting what she deserves at work (I think she is, probably, but you never know).

      • Pete

        “It wasn’t like I had some epiphany because I was holding a female infant in my arms. But the fact that I have daughters who I love dearly and work to raise every day reinforces, every day, things I already believed. It’s visceral now.

        “Before I had daughters I was pro-choice, in favor of gender equality and didn’t much like constrained gender roles. I can’t think of any particular issue position that changed for me since my kids entered the world. But I think the urgency may have shifted.”

        Exactly.

      • Randy

        Nailed it.

  • libarbarian

    WAIT!!

    Someone else builds backyard Liver Pyramids? I thought I was the only one!!!!!!

    Is there a reddit too?

    • Liver Pyramids is my second cousin once removed. We don’t talk about that part of the family.

      • tsam

        I think I met Inverted Pyramids when I was drunk once.

  • Calming Influence

    Yes, it didn’t occur to me earlier, but now that I recall that I’m a husband and father, and I remember that I have friends who are of the woman persuasion, I’m suddenly mortified and stupified, shocked and chagrined, to recognize that Donald Trump is a huge fucking asshole.

    My bad. Vote for me.

  • Mike47

    OK, I have been saying this for years and years:
    She deserves respect, NOT because she is someone’s sister, or someone’s wife, or someone’s mother. She deserves respect because she is someone.

    • Calming Influence

      Sorry Mike, I should have paid attention to your comments years and years ago. It would have saved me from this agonizing realignment of my moral compass. ;). If I were a girl…

  • Calming Influence

    Liver pyramids are stupid. Adrenal glands is what you want when your building body-parts pyramids.

    ETA: Maybe the moderators could delete this comment? I didn’t think it though…

    • Origami Isopod

      Liver pyramids are stupid.

      IDK why but this is giving me Timecube flashbacks. Maybe the liver pyramids were EDUCATED STUPID.

      • Calming Influence

        Timecube is stupid.

        (The ‘stupid’ comes from an inside joke with friends who live on the west side of Puget Sound: “Seattle is stupid” because it requires a ferry ride to get there. You probably had to be there.)

    • While the edit window is open, if you edit the comment and remove all of the text, it will delete it instead.

  • Calming Influence

    Here’s a thought that I hope doesn’t start a thread revolution, but when I was maybe 9 or 10, and it was about this time of year because we were playing in the leaves we had raked up, there were a bunch of kids in our yard, and we were doing a sort of wrestling contest, and Sherry D. kicked my ass.

    Now, as an adult, and maybe because of this, I can honestly say that I’ve never felt that women were inferior to men. Physically, maybe, but only on average. I’m pretty fit, but Venus Williams could take me out on her way to the restroom and not even remember it the next day. But it apparently it really stuck with me, this notion that “girls and boys were the same except for a few details”. And through high school and college, real life examples reinforced the idea.

    So here’s the question: should little girls be taught to beat up little boys, so they don’t have to go through this gender shit in their future?

    • (((Hogan)))

      Or little boys should be taught that the ability to win a fight is not an important measure of personal worth. One or the other.

      • Lester Freamon’s Tweedy Impertinence

        Can’t we do both?

    • geniecoefficient

      OF COURSE if allowed girls entree into boys’ provinces, “fighting” or a billion others, a vast improvement in gender attitudes would follow. I’m not even sure what to say…do you really have to ask?

      But improvement in attitudes is an effect rather than a justification. The real reason to throw gender training on the trash bin and burn the fucking thing is that everyone deserves access to *every* domain of human activity and every personality trait, irrespective of whether we currently code them “male” or female”. Social “engenderment” is a civil rights, or perhaps a human rights, issue.

  • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

    To broaden the discussion a bit, from what I can tell from brief genealogical research I’m pretty pure Caucasian at least back to the 1600s, though I haven’t traced all of the branches of the family tree, which when you go back that many generations is a lot of people.

    Nevertheless, I have no problem supporting the rights of all people, regardless of “race” (which is primarily a social/cultural construct rather than a biological one, but I digress). According to Republican meme I shouldn’t care about anyone who’s not white since it doesn’t affect my “tribe”.

    Likewise, although I never had any children, I still support taxes to pay for public education. Again, this isn’t supposed to happen because I don’t have any children who benefit from it.

    God, these are hard-hearted, selfish people.

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