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.
Photo Credit: Gwydion M. Williams via Flickr