Contradictions: Who’s the Visual-est of Them All?

Fundamentalists argue that women should dress conservatively because men are visual. This is supposedly something women can’t possibly understand, because women are emotional, not visual. Women become attracted to men through flirtation and flattery; indeed, male visuality is like a foreign language to them. Men are not obliged to cover up for women for this reason.

However, Libby Anne has brought up the following argument that a fundamentalist father made against women’s right to vote:

The first impact of women voters was really felt after the televised Nixon / Kennedy debates.  Nixon, the superior statesman without question, looked “old” and “sweaty”.  But Kennedy?  He was “cute”! The same thing was true for Clinton.

Incidentally, this guy didn’t make this up himself. He may not realize it, but he’s part of a tradition. William Branham made the exact same argument in 1960:

It shall–also has been an evil thing done in this country; they have permitted women to vote. This is a woman’s nation, and she will pollute this nation as Eve did Eden. Women, given the right to vote, elected President-elect Kennedy–by the woman’s vote, the wrong man, which will finally be to full control of the Catholic church in the United States; then the bomb comes that explodes her.*** … Did you notice the rallies on the television? Nixon to be pretty near all men. All of them wanted to kiss Kennedy (the women), jumping astraddle the cars and everything like that, jumping up and down.

So women can’t possibly understand men’s visual sexuality because they don’t have it, but they also shouldn’t vote because they’ll make decisions based on their visual sexuality?

Ladies and gentlemen, need I say more?

***The strange references to the Catholic church and a bomb are part of Message eschatology. Branham claimed that the End of the World would be ushered in by a one-world government, headed by the pope (the antichrist) and that the United States would be “burnt from coast to coast” in a nuclear holocaust.

Sexism, Judgment Day and Forgetting as a Survival Skill
Activism fatigue and the work of changing minds
Daughter of the Patriarchy, epilogue: What does leaving fundamentalism look like?
Blogging update
  • katedarlenerose

    I know, it’s ridiculous…..contradiction after contradiction!! The further I get away from it, the more ludicrous it becomes. I’ve never been so happy to be UN-identified with something in my life! Keep the posts coming! I enjoy every one!

    • Sierra

      Thank you! Your comments always make me smile. :)

  • lena

    Ugh, thank you so much for shedding some light on the ridiculousness of this idea that women can’t understand because they aren’t visual creatures. New Flash, humans are visual creatures! I am a extremely visually aroused in my sexuality. And, women who are dressed more “exposed” actually can be tempting for me to lust after because I am very sexually fluid in my attractions (actually more so with women then men, maybe just because they are more aesthetically beautiful). BUT I would never DARE blame that on a woman. It is my responsibility to not use my visual sensitivity to objectify women. And, not to fall prey to gender stereotypes, but it is not because I am lacking in my own ‘femininity’ that this can be an issue for me. And honestly, I don’t think I am the only one. People think they can gauge a person just from a quick glance. There are visual women everywhere! This got a little rant-ish, haha but this just got me thinking. Great blog!