Crack That Whip


One throwaway question from the last Republican presidential debate that’s been getting some attention is what woman the candidates would put on the ten-dollar bill. Seems like it would have been easy enough to answer, but some of them named non-Americans, Carly Fiorina refused to answer, and three couldn’t come up with anything better than family members. Notably, Mike Huckabee, pretty much the epitome of the Southern conservative Christian, chose his wife. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but this really strikes me as a “my wife has me whipped” joke that’s all too common in that culture. It’s like, if he DIDN’T choose his wife, she’d make his life a living hell.

It’s a form of praise that’s not-so-secretly an insult as well. I think most indecisive straight guys have had whipped husband/boyfriend jokes directed at them. I know I have, which I have to say just comes across as mean to my wife. If your partner is really as nasty as these jokes imply, then she’s probably incredibly insecure, and possibly even downright abusive. It seems much more likely to me that it’s a case of being easier to see when you make a sacrifice for someone else than when they do the same for you. As far as Huckabee’s culture goes, Beth and I have listened to conservative radio preachers, and they’re constantly talking about how wives should submit to their husbands, but also telling jokes about how their wives always get their way. I think there’s a general sense that this contradiction is supposed to be funny, because a woman is taking charge when that’s supposed to be a man’s role.

Personally, I believe that such relationships should ideally be equal, but don’t try to tell that to those preachers or their congregations. Aren’t the meek supposed to inherit the Earth? While these jokes can be at the men’s expense on their face, there’s the added implication that some bitchy woman is emasculating the poor guy.

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