Uncle Joe Biden Will Win Lady Vote With A Foot In His Mouth & A Finger In Their Face
It's no secret that Joe Biden is known for his gaffe-making. That's one of the many things we're told to love about him. But some of what Biden's said and done recently isn't just a blunder. It's intentionally who he is. Today, he was palling around with voters in Iowa, and this happened.
So, what in the ever-loving fuck is that? There's quite a lot wrong here, but the most egregious is the idea that it's the job of a young girl's brothers to make sure she never has sex. They are not nor will ever be in charge of her body. It's not an Edith Wharton novel. We also loathe the hypocrisy. Young straight boys want to have sex with young girls. They'll Rapunzel their sisters while trying to get in the pants of girls whose paternal bodyguards are presumably sleeping on the job. This creates a "good, protected girl/bad, loose girl" dichotomy that's just gross.
But this is more than just a tired old joke from a tired old man. It's patriarchal thinking that's completely out of step with modern feminist thought. That's sort of important because the Democratic party is supposedly the feminist one.
We get that Biden wasn't trying to be an ass, but we have multiple women candidates who understand all this without someone on their staff explaining it to them. It just makes sense for a woman to take the lead when our party is on the front lines in the battle for women's rights. Biden disagrees, however, and he'll do so in the most condescending, paternalistic way you could imagine.
Why do white dude liberals do this? "NOBODY has supported your rights more than I have." At least possess the humility to put yourself second or even third behind actual Woman-Americans. Yes, as everyone likes to remind us, Biden co-sponsored the Violence Against Women Act, but the "co" there was Louise Slaughter. The late congresswoman devoted her life to women's empowerment and equality. It's admirable when any of us can use whatever privilege we enjoy to advance a vital cause, but we shouldn't co-opt it, either. And we should never fail to listen to those directly affected by these issues. Mansplaining is very 2018... and 2019... and probably 2020 (there's sadly no end in sight).
The young woman Biden's lecturing tweeted that she considered the fussy finger-wagging an "intimidation tactic." Biden apparently "leaned forward, raised his voice," and tried to grab her arm with his free hand. He might've thought this was just part of his natural charm offensive, but she feared he was going to hit her. If you're a man who dismisses her concern as hyperbole -- a former vice president isn't going to assault someone in a public place -- you are quite frankly part of the problem. A woman shouldn't have to consider how much a man might stand to lose if he hurts her. That's not comforting. Also, men aren't known for their rationality. A lot of them voted for Donald Trump. This includes Biden's own brother, who did so because he "felt slighted" by Hillary Clinton. Oh boo fucking hoo.
The entire rationale for Biden's candidacy is his "electability," but it's exclusively defined. Working-class Joe from Scranton will convince the broke-ass Archie Bunkers out there to vote for a Democrat like they used to never. Elizabeth Warren can't do this because her voice makes their penises shrivel up and die. We can't elect presidents who'll promote erectile dysfunction. That's just reality. We're so focused on these "ideal" voters we risk forgetting that the Democratic nominee will also need to successfully connect with women. It's not enough to just be less sexist than Trump, even significantly so. That only establishes a baseline level of acceptable sexism, and women don't appreciate feeling "slighted," either.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."