Digby writes about Pat Robertson, that old-style wingnut and patriarch:
So a kid writes a letter to Maxim Magazine:
“I’m 17 years old and I’ve noticed that there has been a change in my father’s behavior. 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.”
And Pat Robertson, apparently a big reader of the Lad Mags, replied to the poor boy on his show:
“The romance is obviously going out of the marriage ...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…..”
Robertson then tells a joke about a woman whose husband drank because she had let herself go.
But of course Robertson knows nothing about this married couple, except for the teenager's letter. To attribute any additional cause for the possible marital problems means digging it out of Robertson's .... head. Thus, what we learn is that dear old Pat views women as the ones responsible for how well a marriage fares. Perhaps she isn't sweet enough, perhaps she has grown fat or hasn't had her hair styled. Whatever, she better shape up.
And neither do I know anything about that particular marriage. It might not even be in trouble. The letter might not be real. And so on and so on.
Still, the idea that women alone are responsible for not only marriage but sex has cropped up quite a bit recently. This responsibility is not of the type where someone, say a therapist, has actually studied a couple seeking help and has decided that the blame in that particular case lies more with the woman than with the man.
This is something much more nebulous, having to do with deeply entrenched views that relationships are women's work, that they in some way get paid for that work, even if they do not, and that they are ultimately responsible for the outcome. And sure, these views are most entrenched in older people such as our Pat who may regard marriage as women's work.
Does any of this share something with the victim-blaming in recent rape cases? I'm not sure if the two are relatives to each other or not. What do you think?