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!