I have no words to describe the relief of discovering that 6-year-old Falcon Heene is safe after watching in horror Thursday afternoon as the homemade aircraft he was said to be inside hurtled over Colorado farmland and crashed into a dirt field. I’ll tell you what I do have words for, though, especially now that we know the boy is safe: The misogyny exhibited by the boy’s storm-chasing father, Richard Heene, during the family’s two appearances on “Wife Swap” and in his numerous YouTube videos.
Women are the subject of a handful of videos on the family’s YouTube page. In one clip, the Heene patriarch shouts at the camera: “One thing that gets me is women and makeup. You don’t see men wearing makeup! To me, it’s a kind of clown face. It’s just so fake. Why would a good-looking woman want to put on makeup? Wouldn’t, like, some ugly chick wanna put on makeup to look like the good-lucking woman?” He continues: “The other complaint I have is women take, like, an hour, two hours, to put on make up!” This pet peeve got him thinking about a solution: “Why don’t they invent a sheet, like, some wax paper you stick on your face?” What do you know, Heene came up with a prototype, a sheet of wax paper with blush, lipstick and eyeliner heavily painted on it, which he proceeds to press to his face. Voila! The mask is removed and he looks made up like a clown.
In another video, he addresses the issue of whether Britney Spears’ breasts are fake or real. His feelings on the matter are summarized in his description of the video: ”I like real boobs, not fake ones. She was already sexy. Britney looks like she got into a fight with an air hose.” He dons a padded bra over his shirt, ostensibly to illustrate his point. Another video calls for YouTubers to send him video proof of Hilary Clinton’s shape-shifting abilities. And, finally, as we mentioned earlier, a homemade rap video starring the Heene boys begins with the following on-screen message:
Pussification [poo-si-fi-ca-shun]: The modern day teachings of human beings living a superficial lifestyle of consumerism, obesity, and over protectiveness [sic] for themselves and their children (put them in a corner for “Time Out”) in an effort gain [sic] as many supporters as possible to believe that they are better than everyone else around them. The females are typically referred to as “Soccer Moms” while the males are referred to as “Pussies.”
However, the misogyny found on Heene’s YouTube channel is easily eclipsed by his first “Wife Swap” appearance. Heene was paired with his parental opposite, a highly cautious, safety-focused mother. It was the kind of odd-couple that defines popular reality television: The Safety-First Mom vs. The Storm-Chasing Dad. As no doubt intended by central casting, the resulting episode was explosive. According to an episode recap by Reality TV Magazine, Heene blew his lid over his fake wife’s nagging, made her a “bitchmeter out of a paper plate,” threatened to shoot himself at being made to do the dishes and ultimately declared: “You’re a man’s nightmare. I’m so glad my wife was born in Japan” — presumably because Japanese women like his wife, Mayumi, know how to be appropriately obedient to their husbands.
Obviously, Heene’s sexism is only one of many troubling elements to the story of “The Boy in The Balloon (Who Wasn’t Really In The Balloon)” — but as cable news’ talking heads dissect the family’s issues in the coming days, let’s not forget it.