Nel's New Day

June 11, 2014

WaPo Continues Misogynist Rant

The Washington Post has done it again. Just two days after George Will’s op-ed that victims of campus rape want a “coveted status,” W. Bradford Wilcox and Robin Fretwell Wilson urge women to get married because they’ll be safer than single women. The piece was originally titled “Marry Your Baby Daddy to End Violence Against Women” until something (embarrassment?) caused it to be changed to “One Way to End Violence against Women? Stop Taking lovers and Get Married.” Once again, men blame women for male violence and guilt them for not marrying just anyone so that they’ll be safe.

Wilcox and Wilson write, “The bottom line is this: Married women are notably safer than their unmarried peers, and girls raised in a home with their married father are markedly less likely to be abused or assaulted than children living without their own father.” Missing in their argument is the drop in domestic violence rates at the same time that marriage rates are falling.

According to the op-ed, marriage tames men: “But marriage also seems to cause men to behave better. That’s because men tend to settle down after they marry, to be more attentive to the expectations of friends and kin, to be more faithful, and to be more committed to their partners—factors that minimize the risk of violence.”

W & W also promise that married women live in a better neighborhood and have less chances of getting robbed. Omitted from their polemic is the fact that the privileges of many marriages—more education and money, for example—also provide safer neighborhoods.

Part of the op-ed’s explanation that married women are safer is that they tend to stay at home more. So the solution that W & W proposes is that women stay out of public areas.

A serious problem in domestic violence is that victims may believe that they can change an abusive partner into a loving one by doing the right things. W & W do briefly admit that “married men can and do abuse or assault their wives.” Yet they refute their weak statement by giving marriage credit for their belief that “married fathers are much less likely to resort to violence.”

The op-ed is in response to #YesAllWomen, the “dramatic” social media response to the Santa Barbara shooting that drew attention to the fact that “across the United States, millions of girls and women have been abused, assaulted, or raped by men, and even more females fear that they will be subject to such an attack.” W & W claim that the campaign failed to note that married biological fathers “are more likely to protect women, directly and indirectly, from the threat of male violence.”

For Wilcox, however, this isn’t a new message. In a 2006 interview with Christianity Today, he claims:

  • Evangelical women tend to be happier in their marriages than other women, particularly when both the wife and the husband attend church on a regular basis.
  • The biggest predictor of women’s happiness is their husband’s emotional engagement.
  • For the average American marriage, it matters a lot more whether the husband is emotionally in tune with his wife than whether he’s doing, say, half the dishes or half the laundry.
  • Women who have more traditional gender attitudes are significantly happier in their marriages. They’re more likely to embrace the idea that men should take the primary lead in breadwinning and women should take the primary lead in nurturing the children and managing the domestic sphere, managing family life.
  • What’s more predictive of a woman’s happiness is whether or not her husband is the primary breadwinner. The income actually is a more important predictor of her happiness than whether she works outside the home.
  • Women are looking for, in general, husbands who provide them with emotional and financial support, and support to make the choices that they think are important for them and for their children.

As old as his message is, his supporting material is even older. Links go to research published in 1986 and 1990.

According to his bio, Wilcox “directs the Home Economics Project at the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Family Studies.” As a right-wing group, AEI joins other conservatives in pushing marriage as the cure for societal evils. Nowhere, however, have they explained how marriage can end sexual assaults in the military and on campus unless they argue that women don’t belong in these places.

Wilcox had already sullied his reputation with his involvement in a 2012 study by University of Texas Mark Regnerus that claims having LGBT parents harms kids. The fraudulent study was used in Russia’s oppressive laws against LGBT people. Regnerus’ conclusions completely unraveled after it was discovered that his skewed data all came from two respondents. Wilcox had recruited Regnerus to do his study and was then paid to work on the project. He also urged Regnerus to complete his study to influence the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality cases.

Wilson also has a background of opposition to LGBT rights, primarily marriage equality. He was also one of 11 people who sent a letter to Gov. Jan Brewer urging her to sign the bill that would have allowed residents of Arizona to discriminate against anyone based on religious beliefs.

Once again, The Washington Post needs to be educated. Marriage does not guarantee that a man will not abuse his wife. Being a biological father does not mean that he will not abuse his child. Being victimized does not mean that the person will tell a husband or father. Men who are not abusive don’t abuse women and children. Abusive men will abuse others whether they are married or not. The problem is abusive men.

If W & W were right, the marriage rates would go up and the divorce rates would go down. In the meantime, more men engage in shaming women under the guise of journalism. Again it’s just propaganda and should be stopped.

Talking Points said it best: “WaPo Editorial Page Goes Neanderthal For Second Time In A Week.” Women are still considered responsible, this time for not getting married.

1 Comment »

  1. I guess same gender marriage won’t protect us from men…


    Comment by Lee Lynch — June 12, 2014 @ 6:18 PM | Reply

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