Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Put Me On A Pedestal

So that you can look up my skirt more easily?

Mike Huckabee, the former Republican Governor of Arkansas, tells how he has run against female candidates in political races:

“I’ve twice run against women opponents, and it’s a very different kind of approach,” he tells me. Different how? “For those of us who have some chivalry left, there’s a level of respect. ... You treat some things as a special treasure; you treat other things as common.” A male opponent is “common,” a woman requires “a sense of pedestal.”
“I’ll put it this way,” Huckabee says. “I treat my wife very differently than I treat my chums and my pals. I wouldn’t worry about calling them on Valentine’s Day, opening the door for them, or making sure they were OK.”

That's just wonderfully informative.  And funny, given that he seems to equate female political rivals with his wife and male political rivals with his pals (presumably all men).  Or at least he has trouble trying to explain how those female politicians might differ from male politicians, except in some extremely deep and gendered ways  which require chivalry from him, probably Valentine's Day cards, opening doors and making sure that they are OK.  I'd think it would be fairly easy to beat Huckabee if that's how he plans to run any future races against women.

Chivalry, by the way, is an interesting concept.  Many conservatives seem to assume that in the olden days the world was full of chivalrous men, opening doors, even when a woman didn't want to go anywhere, rising when women entered the room and so on, but now chivalry is almost dead and that's because of feminazis.  Indeed, some not-so-nice sites suggest that the price of chivalry is submission, and that the alternative to chivalry (of the imagined type that once ruled everywhere) is not being treated with respect and politeness as a human being but being treated with extra nastiness for overstepping the boundaries of traditional gender roles.

That's not what Huckabee is saying.  His ideas come from his own traditional gender norms, perhaps reflected in his earlier support for wifely submission in marriage.

I can't help feeling a bit sorry for our Mike.  He's trying too hard to make the Republican war on women come out right, but he just doesn't get it, because in his worldview women really cannot take the kinds of roles those uppity women are taking.  Sadly, there are no ready-made answers to the proper way of campaigning against someone who is both supposed to stand on a pedestal and then get that pedestal toppled.