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Is There Anything We Won’t Blame on Women?

Is There Anything We Won’t Blame on Women?

Ladies, you know we hold all the power, right? We totally run the world. Beyonce wrote a song about it, and she’s basically flawless in every way, in my humble opinion. But beware. With great power comes great responsibility, and that responsibility is taking responsibility for everyone else’s bad behavior.

This is especially true when it comes to domestic issues. (Don’t worry your little head about policy issues like health care or the minimum wage. Let the men-folk take care of that for you.) For instance, if your jerk of a husband decided to run off with someone else, South Carolina Republican Senate primary candidate Det Bowers thinks — nay, he knows — you’re probably at fault.

Bowers, is one of six Republicans vying for Sen. Lindsey Graham’s seat in South Carolina. Since deciding to run, a particular sermon he once gave at Christ Church of the Carolinas where he is the pastor have troubled many. The sermon was given sometime in either 2005 or 2011, and, even if your default assumption is that any GOP candidate is bad for women, this sermon is still illuminating. He used his sermon to basically shame women who have been divorced and tell other women that, should their marriage ever end, they only have one person to blame:

“I find that in about 95 percent of broken marriages, though the husband’s the one that ran out on his wife, the wife loves her children more than she does her husband,” Bowers said. “That is an abominable idolatry.”

“Abominable idolatry.” Props for that turn of phrase, sir. Lesser men may have stopped at that, but Bowers is no namby pamby. He goes on:

“Do you hear me, ladies?” Bowers said. “It is an abominable idolatry to love your children more than you love your husband, and it will ruin your marriage. And yet you blame it on him because he ran off with some other woman! He did run off with some other woman, and you packed his bags. All of his emotional bags, you packed for him. Is that true in every case? No, but it’s true in the vast preponderance of them.”

Do you hear him, ladies? It’s because you’re all frigid from working all day, then working a second shift when you get home. And because you don’t let your kids starve or stay up until all hours of the night, you must be ignoring your husband because you love the kids more than him. And because you love your kids more than your husband, he’s free to go out and get a little booty on the side. It’s the way of the world!

Maybe it’s because I’m a woman, or maybe it’s because I’m just a human being who lives in the real world, but I always thought marriage was supposed to be a partnership with copious amounts of give and take. Apparently, the give and the take are not equally distributed.

It’s curious, though, the idea that women are almost universally responsible for their marriages ending. We’re also responsible if our kids don’t succeed (it’s probably because the kid was/wasn’t breastfed or because she drank that one glass of wine that one time before she new she was pregnant); we’re responsible if we don’t get promotions (it’s just that women aren’t as aggressive when asking for that type of thing); and we’re responsible for being sexually assaulted (why did you even let him walk you home to begin with?). Why not add the downfall of the American family to the list?

It’s weird how that works. Any power that would give women any agency over our lives — reproductive rights, economic justice, etc. — is totally off limits. But if it’s something that the broader society can shame us for, then it’s all ours. Yup. Funny how that works.

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Photo Credit: Gwydion M. Williams via Flickr

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363 comments

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9:31AM PDT on Jun 3, 2014

And people wonder why the Rethuglicans have a bad name... .

9:25AM PDT on May 10, 2014

@Mauvette, good thinking,

I wanted to explore for a moment the differences in intimacy that may play a part in the ascendancy of one form over another.

I can imagine, being male in this life, that the level of intimacy that many women may have in regard to their children has a lot to do with the fact that these human beings came from inside their bodies, they nurse them, and often spend far more time and effort in raising them and teaching them all kinds of things from going to the bathroom to you name it more so than the male or father does.

Granted sex is extremely intimate. But is it as intimate as the relationship many women have with their children? Perhaps it isn't something that should be rated or compared. But it must play a role in how this works out.

I am not advocating that women are to blame for loving their children more, or even that they do love their children more than their husbands.Both experiences of intimacy are very very different.

9:18AM PDT on May 10, 2014

@Karen, I agree,

I would love to see all the trolls come back as the things they hate in their next lives. It would make more sense than an eternity in hell. At least that way the lousy antagonistic, hateful soul would learn something useful about how to treat and behave toward others. This would mean of course that there are souls posting comments here from all stages of evolution on that path of reincarnation. Which is why some of us appear far more evolved than others in regard to the comments made.

Anyway, just a thought.

1:35AM PDT on May 10, 2014

It's natural to love your children more than anyone else in the world. (People always recover from death of lovers, friends and family members easier than loss of children.)
The men need to get used to that!
Of course, if you have a spouse, LOVE that person.

8:37PM PDT on May 7, 2014

Nothing wrong with loving your spouse and your children equally. Just a thought. In different ways obviously, but in equal amounts.

2:32PM PDT on May 6, 2014

ty

12:02PM PDT on May 6, 2014

Men who feel denied proper attention because their wives place their shared children first when they become parents are immature and incomplete and far from ready to be either husbands or fathers.

11:50AM PDT on May 6, 2014

John O: “Oh, Religion is not about control as, some feminazis think. They are about creating a social structured order.” By “structured order”, I presume you mean putting women in their place. The church has always been about control. Like Michael Corleone said to Fredo in The Godfather: “…don't ever take sides with anyone against the Family...” That’s exactly how the church behaves. Follow “the Family” rules and you’ll be fine. Step outside and… Well, you know the rest.
Michael T, if there is reincarnation, it would be fun to see John O come back as a female!
Marriage is a PARTNERSHIP that requires communication. Without it, one spouse blames the other and things fall apart.

11:28AM PDT on May 4, 2014

What's new here? these dynamics have been around for a long time, perhaps made worse by a society that adheres to a superficial value system and that teaches crap. Parenting is a tough job. It requires the parents of both genders to be psychologically functional or their children will bear the blunt of it and carry on the "tradition" to their marriages/partnerships.
It isn't solely a woman's job, but scapegoating has become common place among males in this society today. Must have learned it from their parents.

6:32AM PDT on May 4, 2014

ty

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