The Washington Post’s latest piece proposes a groundbreaking solution to ending violence against women: just get married, you whores. Their original headline was “take less lovers” but you know what they meant. I see you, WaPo. This latest piece has a bunch of goodies: slut-shaming, victim blaming, privilege, heteronormativity assumptions, pushing a conservative family based agenda, you name it – it’s there!
They start by capturing your attention with the extremely successful hashtag #YesAllWomen and proceed to completely miss the point of it and state that “some men pose a real threat to the physical and psychic welfare of women and girls”. Pst, the point of the hashtag is to show that the overwhelming patriarchy rooted in our society encourages a culture of violence against women. But the WaPo article does a great job at being a perfect example of said patriarchy! The article goes on to say that some other men can protect women and that marrying them will save you a lifetime of physical violence. It’s like a Disney movie, right girls? Stop reading feminist trash and come back to us where we’ll guarantee you a life with prince charming full of domesticity!
This article attempts to provide a solution by presenting the men in the “not all men” group. But this is not a solution. How is a solution developed from a system that oppresses everyone? By presenting biological fathers as a guarantee of safety and stability, this article overlooks all kinds of different familial situations that girls and women are in.
Violence against women is not just a national, American issue. It is an international problem. Just last month, a court ruled in India that rape in marriage is not a crime. Stateside, Marissa Alexander is being sentenced to 20 years in prison for defending herself in a domestic dispute. 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime. I personally know, 3 women who have experienced domestic violence. With this much violence brimming in the institution of marriage, this article still insinuates that women are at fault for the violence inflicted on them because they’re not married.
The article also states, “But marriage also seems to cause men to behave better”. Newsflash: It is not a woman’s responsibility or the responsibility of the institution of marriage to make men behave better.
The writers of this article do not recognize the privilege that comes with successful marriages or the privilege that comes with marriage in general.
The end of the article advises: “So, women: if you’re the product of a good marriage, and feel safer as a consequence, lift a glass to dear old dad this Sunday.”
Um. What if I’m the product of a divorce and my dad was not super present? I guess as this article suggests, I’ll have daddy issues and get beat up. But I can also try to get married to my abuser.
No, instead, I’m going to say this: No woman is responsible for the violence enacted against them, married or not, and the solution does not lie in whether or not we choose to get married, but in being able to speak honestly and openly about the male role in violence and working to change our culture so we no longer produce individuals who perpetuate harmful ideals like the ones (bonus!) written in the Washington Post.
This post originally appeared at Revoir.