The Submissive Woman’s Gotcha Question

The Submissive Woman’s Gotcha Question August 18, 2011

The religious right is throwing a hissy fit over Michele Bachmann being asked a question during last week’s GOP presidential debate about being a submissive wife.

Penny Nance, president of the conservative group Concerned Women for America, expressed her dismay at the question in a statement: “Byron York’s question to Michele Bachmann about her relationship with her husband was incredibly inappropriate and downright ignorant.” …

Given that both men and women are called to give of themselves in marriage, Nance lamented that the male presidential candidates were not asked the same or a similar question.

As soon as one of them claims to be submissive to their wives and do whatever they’re told to do by their wives, as Bachmann said quite clearly about her husband, then the question will be relevant to them. Until then, it’s not. The notion that this is some kind of “gotcha” question is ridiculous. Bachmann herself opened up this line of inquiry when she said that she became a tax attorney even though she didn’t want to because her husband told her to do it.

That isn’t “respect” and it sure as hell isn’t mutual, no matter how much she plays pretend now. That’s just plain doing what you’re told.

And this is all the more amusing given who asked that question: Byron York, a prominent conservative and former National Review editor.

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  • dingojack

    Where are all those exhortations in the bible about men being submissive to their wives again? Oh yeah that’s right…

    there isn’t any!

    Dingo

  • ld

    Dingledorfer, the men weren’t asked because they are not told to submit themselves to women – only to God. See how that works? Get it? See how that might make you as a WOMAN candidate for president if she’s going to submit her decisions to her husband, but not the other way round?

  • The appropriate question for male candidates would be, “do you dominate your wife? do you make sure she obeys you and keeps her mouth shut?”

    It’s an entirely appropriate question because it’s ultimately “do you live according to your public ideals?”

    Echoes of Henry Rollins’ letter to Ann Coulter…

  • Granny Weatherwax

    If a BDSM couple were talking about submission and respect, I’d find that reasonable, because I’m familiar with the dynamics of consent and negotiation in such a relationship. In this kind of Christian marriage, there’s no limits, no safeword, no negotiation since they’re not the husband’s rules but God’s, and no recourse because divorce is forbidden by the Bible. In other words, BDSM is much healthier than Christian marriage!

  • So, if by some miracle she was elected president, who would be the real president?

    Would she ignore the people of the US and do what her husband tells her to do? We wouldn’t have elected him, but he’s the one who would be in charge.

    Talk about a bought and paid for politician… she’s owned, paid for by a tiny little circle of gold, with a tiny little mineral in it. Wrapped around your finger indeed.

  • In this kind of Christian marriage, there’s no limits, no safeword, no negotiation since they’re not the husband’s rules but God’s

    That’s because they’re both submissives. One is a bit more submissive than the other but they’re both trapped in a non-consensual scenario that’d make being a deranged meth-smoking gorean’s kajira pleasant in comparison.

  • Phillip IV

    Penny Nance, president of the conservative group Concerned Women for America, expressed her dismay at the question

    …after asking her husband for permission to speak in public.

  • Michael Heath

    This issue is incredibly relevant when it comes to understanding a politician’s positions for at least two reasons:

    1) Will the female political candidate be taking orders from her husband in how she handles elected office?

    2) Will the male or female candidate advocate for policies where public policy favors submissive wives and therefore denies them the exercise and protection of their equal rights?

    Some of the most mainstream appearing evangelical churches do not allow women to be leaders or even preach when adult men are present. Rep. Bachmann knows this is true in the inerrantist Christian sects. “Respect” is a demand of men towards their wives which quickly follows the part of the sermon or lesson demanding women submit to their husbands; but it in no way is a synonym for “submission” in these sects. The word means the very same thing there that it does in the dictionary.

    Re # 2 – our MSM would be handling this issue far better if they’d been reporting on how far conservative Christian politicians distinguish the dogma they promote as Christians relative to their public policy advocacy when the latter is clearly anti-biblical (Paul’s rationale for why women shouldn’t be equal to men in the church demands the same application beyond the church or else the argument falls apart as a logical fallacy). Mike Huckabee in ’08 and Mitt Romney back then as well should have been targets of such scrutiny.

  • Herod the Freemason

    Didn’t Bill Clinton have to field a few questions about whether he or his spouse was in charge?

  • How is this a “gotcha” question? Because the truthful answer makes her look like an idiot, and her husband look like a thug?

    This is standard right-wing defensiveness though: “Wahhh! It isn’t fair that you tell the truth, quote us accurately, or ask us questions that aren’t approved ahead of time!”

  • I think it’s a “gotcha” question because Bachmann gave a crappy answer. I ‘betcha’ if Palin or Bachmann had answered their “gotcha” questions with some degree of wit and sophistication, then the questions would be seen in a different light?

  • Remember the “Billary” coinage? Ie. that wimpy Bill Clinton was unduly influenced by his ball-breaking wife? Seems to me that the intra-marital power dynamics of politicians was already on the table — put there by the conservatives (though I’m willing to bet it goes waaaaay back in history).

  • D. C. Sessions

    And this is all the more amusing given who asked that question: Byron York, a prominent conservative and former National Review editor.

    Nonsense, he’s a RINO. If he were a Real Conservative™ he would never violate St. Ronnie’s Eleventh Commandment: never make another conservative look bad [1].

    Since there’s no question of Representative Bachmann’s conservative credentials, this just proves that he’s a poser.

    [1] The Twelfth is John McCain’s “never pass up an opportunity to make a Democrat look bad.” Never mind collateral damage to your putative State or country.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Would she ignore the peopleConstitution of the US and do what her husband tells her to do?

    FTFY — and BTW that is a far more telling question to ask someone who has already taken an oath on the subject and is campaigning to take another.

  • Dennis N

    I think it’s a “gotcha” question because Bachmann gave a crappy answer.

    Unfortunately, I have read and heard that she handled the question very well. I watched it happen and I think she looked like a weasel. But then again, 85% of Americans proclaim to follow her same religion and yet most aren’t in dominant-submissive relationships with their spouses, so I guess the cognitive dissonance appealed to them?

  • freemage

    Michael Heath: As always, an excellent analysis, and to your first issue, it’s pretty clear that, if this really is how their marriage works, a vote for Michelle is actually a vote for “Marcus Bachmann with tits and a veejay”.

  • daniel rotter

    “…when she said that she became a tax attorney even though she didn’t want to because her husband told her to do it.”

    Just out of curiosity, why did Bachmann mention this in the first place? Did someone ask her why she became a tax attorney?

  • @Granny Weatherwax I wonder what Bachmann would think of this site? http://www.christiandd.com/