The reward for being a “good Christian wife”: Being honored and protected as long as it’s convenient
Today in gross people who really need to go away like yesterday: Vance McAllister, standard issue overly entitled good ol’ boy and congressman who isn’t going to let his wife off the hook for doing humiliating campaign ads for him just because he was caught cheating on her.
The ad starts off with Vance McAllister saying “life is filled with ups and downs,” an oddly passive phrasing that makes it sound like the cheating-on-his-wife thing just randomly happened to him and he took no real part in it. He adds that he is “blessed” because of his loyal wife and loving kids. To my mind, that’s a bad move, since the last thing you want to do is rub people’s noses in your undeserving privilege to act like a total lout without running the risk of losing your family, a privilege that most of us do not enjoy. But what do I know, maybe the conservative voters of Louisiana love watching a rather unabashed bit of bragging about unearned male privilege, done in the vicinity of the woman who has to put up with it, no less.
His wife, Kelly McAllister, joins in: “But a man’s character is based on how many times he gets back up and stands again.” Again, somehow the cheating thing just happened to him! Don’t you guys believe men are autonomous beings in Louisiana? If not, somewhat disturbing! I never considered it before, but being able to make decisions seems to me to be a baseline quality in a congressional representative, and I worry about running someone who is on the record seemingly arguing he has no real will of his own.
Or wait, does he….? “I’m blessed to have a husband who owns up to his mistakes, never gives up,” Mrs. McAllister adds. So shit just happened to him, but he also owns up to it? Very confusing.
But let’s be honest, this is not a man who is owning up to his mistakes. He is making his wife do the dirty work of cleaning up after him when he got caught cheating on her. That is a man evading responsibility and foisting it on his wife. There’s a lot of words that come to mind when imagining what it’s like to be married to a man who cheats on you and then gets you to do the hard work in making sure he doesn’t face any consequences for it, but “blessed” is not one of them. “Cursed”, perhaps. “Shitty”, if you’re feeling more down home about it.
Sorry, but the more I see of this Christian wife deal, the more convinced I am that it’s all a con job. The idea is that you give your love and loyalty and even submission to a man, and in return, he takes care of you. While that’s a shit idea on paper—equal partnership between people who share mutual respect is much more my speed—I can sort of see why some women might think that’s a not bad deal.
But what happens when these good Christian husbands are actually asked to hold up their end of the bargain, and actually protect their wives, especially from their own wrongdoings? Do the women actually get that protection?
Your husband cheats on you and gets called out by the media for being a nasty hypocrite who wants to control other people’s sex lives when he can’t control his own? Does he protect his loyal Christian housewife, or does he demand that she protect him? Well, as we see in this case—or in the case of McAllister’s fellow Louisiana politician, Sen. David Vitter—your wife is suddenly your protecter, using her presence and her basic dignity as a shield to protect her cheating husband.
Or worse, with former governor Bob McDonnell, when offered a chance to protect his loyal Christian wife by taking a plea deal for corruption charges, he said hell to the no to that and instead trotted out a legal strategy that involved painting his wife out to be a crazy spendthrift who is too dumb to understand the law, much less follow it. (I mean, a lot of that might have been true, don’t get me wrong. But still, the “deal” is supposed to be that women don’t have to make decisions because their husbands will protect them by handling that for them. But apparently, husbands aren’t on the hook for holding up their end of the deal.) The blame-the-wife strategy didn’t work—both McDonnells were found guilty—but the eagerness to use a wife as a shield is telling all the same.
Ladies, I hate to say it, but the Christian wife thing is clearly a racket. Sure, there are all sorts of promises of protection offered in exchange for submission, but when the day comes that you’re the one needing protection, especially from his own poor choices, then psych! Turns out you’ll be the one protecting him. Sorry about that, but please try to smile through it.
As a note: I don’t generally care if people are cheating, as that’s usually a private matter. But I make exceptions for politicians who want to pass laws regulating other people’s sex lives. Fuck those guys. If they want to nose around in other people’s sex lives, then they have to put up with it when it’s done to them.