And Here I thought Sexism was DEAD or at least MOSTLY dead
You! You're a WIFE! No Freedom of Speech for You Unless Your Husband Approves (Political Wives)
22 October 2014 at 6:43:11 AM
"Did you admonish your wife not to post that?"
I was extremely surprised the other day to hear a prominent male, Andy Lucas, Somervell County Attorney indicate that he believed my husband ought to approve anything I say on an internet blog I created and manage. Along with that, hub was asked whether he was aware of all that I post or sees my thoughts before I post them, as if that is a requisite for any citizen. That is, because of hub's position as an elected official, and I a politician's spouse, he ought to have control and basically censor what I say, on a site that is mine, not his. As a computer nerd with an extensive hardware/software background, I created the blog, I code the blog, I manage the blog, including registration and commenting permissions and until that particular exchange happened, it never occurred to me I would have to prove that a woman could express herself in her own venue, with, of all things, political opinions, as well as subserviate herself to her husband.
Why would this man and some uninformed others be trying to stifle my speech? Because I am an outspoken woman with political opinions, with abilities to do video editing and photoshop. I use these to add facts and illustrate what I think, from attending government meetings, reading news articles, and sometimes watching video or audio of open meetings. No doubt some are uncomfortable with a light being shown on what they say or do, plus there even seems to be an undercurrent that everyone in this community must share the exact same ideas or risk ostracism.
I'm not an elected official. Is there an unwritten code that says once a man is in office, his wife needs to become non-controversial, have no political opinions that she expresses openly, and anything that she does say must be sanctioned first by her husband and completely mirror his? Apparently or why else would some men try so hard to curb what I say?
This is misogynist thinking and relegates any spouse to a second class citizen not entitled to the same freedoms of any other citizen. Doesn't matter if we're talking about a wife or a husband. The wrong idea is that once someone is elected, anyone associated with that person's family must be quiet, or can only express views AFTER approval or censorship. God forbid that any spouse should go online on any site and issue a comment UNTIL she tells her husband she's doing it, tells him to go look and make sure that he approves it.
Now, I understand that this may be the dynamic in a lot of families, for example, where the marital arrangement is that the wife is submissive, doesn't make her own decisions, or must wait for approval to do anything from what essentially would be her master. If those families have such an arrangement, certainly they're entitled to do it, but it's a private matter in that instance, not something that the government itself can regulate or insist upon for elected officials.
It isn't even as if, within this particular environment, the rule is applied evenly to all spouses. Another elected board member's wife regularly speaks her mind on social media, has delivered letters to others without express permission or even knowledge of her husband. Does the rule not apply to her because the males who imagine themselves in charge of free speech have pre-approved anything coming from certain people and apply a different standard to others whose views don't line up?
Let's just say that this is a good assumption, that a wife of an elected official should not ever offer up her own comments until known and approved by the husband. This says that any opinion *must* be the same one as her husband. Although it's not difficult to understand that like-minded people marry each other, having the exact same opinion isn't necessarily the case. I've always thought if you want to know what someone says or believes, ask that particular person. But no, the wife should simply subsume her own opinion and shut the heck up-No Freedom of Speech for her! Shouldn't this be a government board policy, then, to require that ALL spouses of elected officials must not post on any internet site, to include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc, or write a letter to the editor or even speak up in public? Burkas for all! Perhaps there should be an extra line on each comment by the spouse that says "My husband/wife allowed me to make this comment after approval" because, after all, enquiring minds would want to know if some uppity spouse went off on her own to express a viewpoint she thought she had under the first amendment without being allowed to do it first. And certainly that spouse shouldn't be allowed to do a public comment at a meeting unless her husband *vets* it first, because she might express an opinion entirely her own (smelling salts and fainting couch, please!) In fact, let's carry that type of sexist thinking to its logical conclusion and set the constitution back to excluding women from being citizens entitled to the same rights as men. Or is it just the Texas county, Somervell County, I live in that somehow escaped all the advances for women in the last 90 years?
Could it be that actually these men know that I write freely, as a full voting citizen of the US (since 1920!) and instead are attempting a side way to censor and intimidate me from speaking out. Were they actually hoping by asking if my hub would admonish me, that would save them from the trouble of a free speech issue because it would then become a private matter between spouses? These men would not have to attempt to enforce putting me in my place, ie, telling me to , which they actually have no legal or constitutional right to do, but could apply pressure as a family matter. From "Women, Know Your Place", an article about gender discrimination.
"Women who write on issues of state politics are silenced by the same means used to silence men in opposition, though, in practice, even these forms of censorship are affected by gender. But gender-based censorship, as we see it, is much broader and more pervasive than this official, organized suppression. It is embedded in a range of social mechanisms that mute women's voices, deny validity to their experience, and exclude them from the political discourse. Its purpose is to obscure the real conditions of women's lives and the inequity of patriarchal gender relations, and prevent women writers from breaking the silence, by targeting women who don't know their place in order to intimidate the rest.”
Look, there is NO LAW that forbids spouses (or family members) of elected officials to speak openly. What *should* happen is that if voters do not like the spouse of an elected official speaking his or her mind, then those voters can choose NOT to vote that person in again (that's along the same lines that in a DEMOCRACY, we all don't have to have the same opinion and agree) . That seems pretty silly to me, because the person who isn't elected isn't the one making decisions, but certainly should be able to vociferously voice his or her own. But even if a voter did say "Well, I like what the elected person says, but DANG THAT SPOUSE", it still doesn't make it legal, or right, to tell the elected official to basically tell the spouse to shut up. I've seen quite often the silent, supportive spouse that goes on the campaign trail with her husband (or stands behind him when he's proven to be, say, an adulterer) and ONLY says what she is allowed or supposed to say. That's the choice of the couple who is making political calculations to have the wife (or husband) be a blank slate.
I believe and continue to believe that women should be treated equally with men, to include having ALL The same constitutional rights, and that it's, to say the least, inappropriate to insinuate that there is something wrong when a husband doesn't censor his wife. I'm not the elected one, and to try, subtly, through those wrong-headed suggestions to my hub to censor my own comments and opinions on this site is flat wrong.
P.P.S. If you read this and you agree with it, please do share it on social media all over the place. Seems to me the idea that ALL elected official's spouses must shut up NEEDS to be debunked. IF you have your own experience regarding this type of thing, feel free to add a comment, below.