So, a 17-year-old boy writes in to Maxim magazine complaining that his father never pays any attention to his mother.
“I’m 17 years old and I’ve noticed that there has been a change in my father’s behavior,” he wrote. “He spends too much time at the computer playing a war game. I’ve noticed how alone my mom feels. I just want my father to spend more time with my mom. What should I do? How can I talk to my father? I feel shame for him. Please help.”
Luckily for this perceptive 17 year old, Christian conservative Pat Robertson is on the case — and his answer is, well, exactly what you’d expect from this radical Christian televangelist.
He starts off with the suggestion that the boy try to get his parents out of the house on some type of romantic weekend getaway.
“The romance is obviously going out of the marriage,” he said.
But then — BAM! Robertson draws the woman-hating card, throws it on the flower-decorated glass table in the 700 Club’s studio and suddenly it’s the mother’s fault.
“You know, it may be your mom isn’t as sweet as you think she is; she may be kind of hard-nosed. And so, you say, it’s my father, he’s not paying attention to mom, but you know mom …” he trails off and offers a spiteful little chuckle.
All great advice for a 17-year-old boy growing up in the United States’ enduringly patriarchal society. But wait — there’s more: Now it’s not only mom’s fault for being “hard-nosed,” it’s also her fault for being God-forsakenly ugly.
He launches into another story: “A woman came to a preacher I know — it’s so funny. She was awful looking. Her hair was all torn up, she was overweight and looked terrible …”
So far, this story sounds hilarious Pat, Please continue.
“And she said, ‘Oh, Reverend, what can I do? My husband has started to drink.’”
The hateful punchline is coming. I can feel it. I’m on the edge of my seat.
“And the preacher looked at her and he said, ‘Madam, if I were married to you, I’d start to drink too.’”
Yes! Of course! Because the woman is so ugly — not to mention hard-nosed, we can’t forget that problem — the man has turned to drinking, or playing computer games all day, or doing any number of marriage-killing activities that are not really his fault because, God, how could he help himself? I mean, seriously, with a woman like this, who needs enemies?
Can I get an amen and a Hallelujah?
So, obviously this is a classic example of Pat Robertson saying something that sounds absurdly misogynistic when it’s on television but is something that millions of men across the nation secretly think every day. Those women, with their nagging and ragged hair, are ruining marriages.
In fact, you don’t need to always turn to fringe male misogynists like Robertson to find examples of these women-blaming credos. As Alternet’s Lynn Parramore recently wrote, “The Huffington Post ran a front-page piece just this week with a headline that would make any old-school patriarch proud: “Women: Five Reasons Your Divorce Is Your Fault.”
But if you look at the data (instead of the Bible or silly self-help books), socio-economic factors, sexual violence and lack of access to education are the main reasons for divorce — not a bad haircut.
As Parramore writes:
Finger-wagging at women usually comes along with the oft-cited statistic that women file for divorce twice as often as men. What we hear less often is straight talk about the social and economic factors that drive the engine of divorce. The fact is that college-educated people are more likely to stay together, and there’s a higher risk of divorce for people with lower incomes and less education. When people are struggling to pay the rent and keep a roof over their heads, the marriage problem isn’t likely to be some kind of deficiency in managing intimacy. Given the fact that divorce is expensive and often leaves women financially insecure, the stressors would have to be pretty severe to lead women of few resources to divorce.
Back to Robertson, one of his few data points to back up his insane claims is that his advice “comes with 58 years of marriage, so I know what I’m talking about.”
Then again, considering that he gets paid heftily to espouse this women-hating b*llsh*t, at least we know that economic stress hasn’t been a problem in his relationship.