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Who actually represents women in this administration?

Interacting with members of the opposite sex is a part of life.  Dining alone with a woman other than your own wife or being at a function where alcohol is served without your wife is only a threat to your marriage if there are trust issues and insecurities to begin with. If you don’t want to cheat on your spouse, don’t cheat on your spouse. That’s it. It’s so basic it shouldn’t even have to be a religious mandate.

How many women have worked for or with Mike Pence? He’s never had so much as a coffee meeting alone with any of them? Sometimes you have to work late and get dinner. What does it say that he’s willing to do this with his male staffers but not his female employees or coworkers? It says that he fears women as sexual objects and does not value them as equals in the workplace.

Attitudes like this strengthen the belief among religious conservatives that sex is a woman’s fault and men are helpless beings. She was raped because she wore attractive clothing. She was raped even though she wore a burka because a man found her to be tempting. She was raped because a man was threatened by her making more money than he does. Women can’t be in the military because the strongest, most disciplined manliest of men will lose all control of themselves if a female body is anywhere near them and it will be the woman’s fault for simply being present.

Some conservative op-ed writers are saying liberals are blowing this out of proportion. That liberals defend this kind of practice among Muslims because we care more about Muslims than Christians. Um, no. The fact that in several Muslim societies women are not allowed to be out of the house unless they are accompanied by their husband or a male family member is pretty frickin’ abhorrent to this liberal. Before I read that sort of criticism of liberals I was thinking about how much fundamental Christians and Muslims have in common with that view of not being alone with women or allowing women to be in the company of other men.

I’ve also read that he should be commended for making this decision to protect his marriage. It’s true that this could be a private decision between Mr. and Mrs. Pence. But Mike Pence also made a decision to be a politician, and politicians have to attend social functions, where alcohol might be served, and, see my example above about working with women. If protecting his marriage is that important maybe he’s chosen the wrong line of work.

The Billy Graham rule that Pence’s personal decision is based on also only acknowledges heterosexual intercourse, as if male members of the church and male politicians have never been caught sexually assaulting boys or having affairs with men.

I also wonder, if Mike Pence has made this decision for himself, does the same hold true for Karen Pence? If she feels that she can safely have a meal with a man without sleeping with him is she allowed to do so? Is she sheltered from furthering any of her own goals, or simply having male friends, without bringing a chaperone along?

I have a problem with the vice president being afraid to be in the same room as half of his constituents, especially when so many of those constituents are terrified to be in a room alone with the president. Who actually represents women in this administration?

For further reading:
The Religious Reasons Mike Pence Won't Eat Alone with Other Women Don't Add Up

Comments

Brenda said…
Ivanka Trump is representing women and I think she’s doing a pretty good job of it so far.Time will tell, of course and time is often required in the slow-moving world of political change.

As a moderate, I don’t take any issue with Mike Pence’s viewpoint. My husband and I had a similar discussion before we got married and have similar guidelines (not rules) in our own relationship. He’s a high-level executive and has had many female bosses as well as female direct reports. Working to minimize any need to meet alone over coffee has never been an issue. This doesn’t mean he isn’t working with women,getting feedback from women, or promoting women. Meetings that absolutely need to be one on one can be handled at the office. When he wants to celebrate a birthday of a boss or colleague, he takes a group. If he absolutely has to go out with someone one on one, its at lunch, in a public place and those situations are exceedingly rare because most high-level discussions involve a team.

Constantly meeting alone in a social setting like dinner or a party can provide a lot of temptation - that’s true for women as well as men. Why not minimize those risks? It isn’t about not trusting each other. It’s about recognizing that temptation comes in many forms and we are all susceptible to it. It’s also about recognizing that what others observe can be misconstrued and then used as justification for their own bad choices. Quite honestly, I think we both feel much more free this way although it was certainly an adjustment from our single days.

I recognize that you may not agree, and that’s your choice and that’s OK, but I hope that you’ll at least hear this point of view and consider the positive aspects of a different choice.

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