by Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check
December 10, 2012
The horrific misogyny underlying social conservatism has really come out in the aftermath of the tragic murder of Kasandra Perkins at the hands of her boyfriend (and the father of her infant daughter) Jovan Belcher. In midst of the usual defend-guns-at-all-costs excuse-mongering that conservatives engage in after every national news story about a gun death, Dana Perino latched on to the favorite strategy of anti-feminists everywhere: Blame victims of domestic violence for hitting and murdering themselves.
PERINO: I think it skirts the issue that women are victims of violence all the time –
CO-HOST: They should have guns!
PERINO: Well, maybe, or make better decisions.
The gross willingness to simply accept these kinds of crimes on display here is breathtaking in its cruelty. Fox News has been hitting hard the notion that Perkins could have somehow saved herself if she owned her own guns, and the fact that she did own her own guns and died anyway is being ignored. But Perino’s comment just laid bare how conservatives will defend male privilege in all circumstances, even those where it leads to women being raped, beaten, and murdered.
Charles Cooke at National Review doubled down, ‘splaining that the problem isn’t that men hit women, it’s that women are so easy to hit.
Dana Perino — who, despite being a Republican, is a woman — was not “blaming” women who are the victims of abuse. She was accepting both that men who mistreat women are villains and should be prosecuted for their abuse to the fullest extent of the law and that women who choose to go back to men who abuse them are making a mistake. After all, it wouldn’t be a mistake if the man wasn’t a problem would it? If you choose to go into a war zone, do you not carry some of the blame if you get hurt? Sure, you didn’t start the war. And, yes, it would be much better if the people who did start the war were not choosing to run around killing anybody who gets in their way. But if you know that there is a war going on and you still choose to walk right into it, is this not a bad decision?
Note: Outside of trying to blame Perkins for practically murdering herself, conservatives actually tend to see men who go to fight in wars as heroes, not as idiots who can be accused of having no understanding of autonomy or personal responsibility. But then again, they are men, so their choices are interpreted in a more forgiving light than women who struggle to escape abusive relationships. Note: Perino’s female identity is not a preventive against either misogyny or victim-blaming. Indeed, women often are more eager to blame other women for being easy to hit/rape/murder, because by blaming victims, they can convince themselves they are immune to being victimized by male violence.