Thursday, March 30, 2017

not everything is about sex

These two tid-bits are from the Washington Post's article about the Second Lady, Karen Pence:

In 2002, Mike Pence told the Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either.
In 1991, Karen Pence, then an elementary-school teacher, penned a letter to the editor in the Indianapolis Star, complaining that the paper’s “Children’s Express” section had featured an article that “encourages children to think they’re gay or lesbian if they have a close relationship with a child of the same sex” or admire a teacher of the same gender.

The two bits appear a few paragraphs apart in the piece, but they both share the same core issue: the assumption that a relationship with another person must necessarily be sexual. Karen was offended when she thought an article assumed a sexual relationship when they have a close same-sex friend or admire a teacher. I have not seen the article she was reacting to or her letter, but it is true that people can have all kinds of relationships with other people. They don't all have to be defined in terms of sex or sexual attraction.

But the same logic undermines her husband's stupid policy of not eating alone with a woman. Just as not all relationships with the same sex are homosexual, not all relationships with the opposite sex are heterosexual. By refusing to have a one-on-one dinner meeting with a woman, Pence is cutting women out from a potential area they might have influence, all because of his own insecurity. Actually that is what strikes me most about Pence's policy. Does he really think he has so little self-control that he can't handle time alone with anyone of the opposite sex?