The War on Women and Dick Black

In case you hadn’t noticed there is a war going on.

No I’m not talking about the war(s) in the Middle East (although those are sorely underreported on in my opinion). I’m talking about the war on women that appears to still be going on in America, despite the fact that it is 2014 and we represent over half the population.

Earlier today this article by Amanda Marcotte on Slate caught my eye. At first I rolled my eyes slightly and opened it. And then I read the whole thing and about fell out of my chair.

Dick Black, the man who is running for Congress in Virgina’s 10th congressional district does indeed think it is alright for a husband to rape his wife because “they’re living together, sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nightie, and so forth”. I think my brain seriously exploded when I read that sentence. It is one of the most deplorable statements I’ve read in a long time, but sadly it is not surprising coming from a man in the Republican party these days.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I fully recognize that there are many Republicans or conservatives or even Tea Party members, who would have the same reaction as I had. Unfortunately there seem to be more and more extremists in the conservative camp. The very idea that anyone would vote for this man is beyond me.

However, looking past the first deplorable statement the readers are soon treated to another gem. Black seems to think that gay people should not be allowed to enter the military because of the danger of rape. Particularly he states: “I recall one particularly terrible situation, where, this was in basic training, there was a young fellow who went to the showers at night, and there were two homosexuals lurking—they were also basic trainees—and they strangled him with a towel and forced him to submit to, you know, things that we won’t talk about on the air.”

ARG! So let’s recap. This man who, again, is running for Congress thinks that a man should not be prosecuted for raping his wife because she is sleeping in the same bed as him (and presumably wearing a nightie, because all women do that). But, judging from the above quote, he thinks that a man getting raped by other men is something that we should seriously consider as a reason to keep gay individuals out of the military.

There are all sorts of things that are wrong with this line of thinking but the first and foremost is that Black seems to think that women have a much lower place on the totem plot of society than men do. I find this plain disgusting but also horribly ironic because his opponent in the congressional race is in fact a woman.

All of this leads us back to my earlier point. The Republican party has more and more extremists like Black that are running under their banners. How a party can allow itself to be associated with people such as Black is beyond me from a moral standpoint but surely this man has some sort of negative effect on their image? Or are they subscribing to the idea of ‘even bad press is good press’?

If Republicans want to recapture the women vote that they did not have in 2008 and 2012 they need to eliminate these misogynists from their ranks. Instead they close ranks around these man, claiming that they are merely speaking their opinions, that their speech is protected, and so on. Unless the Republican party is willing to truly take responsibility for people like Black they will be forever stuck and they will continue to lose votes from women and men alike.

If your hand is full of disease wouldn’t you rather cut it off than let that disease spread and corrupt the rest of your body?

Furthermore, it completely baffles me how people can see people like this spouting their hate and nonsense and not come to the conclusion that women are under attack in this country. Even people who are not right wing conservatives disagree with me. Even liberals disagree with me. NBC News posted this article about how to close the gender gap at work. Mildly curious, I opened it and felt my heart sink with every word. The gist of the  article is that a way to help women be seen as more authoritative is for them to assume ‘power stances’. Or for them to stand like men.

The article also claims that “Today, workplace sexism is subtle — and oftentimes, it’s not overt sexism at all”. Hopefully this is true, but just take a quick glance at EverydaySexism’s ‘confession page‘ and it quickly becomes apparent that sexism, both in and out of the workplace, is alive and well. In order for women to move forward in American society we have to stop pretending that these complex issues that have been ingrained in us since the moment we were born can be solved so simply. Perhaps this is not the claim that the author is making but it seems offensive to me that I should have to stand any particular way, especially like a man, to be taken seriously. Can we not simply treat all other people with the respect we want to be treated with?

Dick Black needs to be reminded of the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have done to you.” Of course this doesn’t apply to women, minorities, gay or lesbians, or really anyone who isn’t a white man.

I leave you with another article that goes into more detail about Black and his…questionable beliefs.

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