I think I may have posted about this before, but I’m too lazy to look. I was, however, talking about this this weekend and still thinking about it on the way home.
I have not watched that many episodes of this show and never a whole one all the way through. But when flipping by, I would stop to watch the kids be cute and do cute things.
I mention this because it is possible that I managed to watch on the small handful of very rare occassions when Kate slapped Jon, but I tend to believe she slapped him almost every time I saw the show because she slapped him quite frequently.
And one show I watched, she was talking about how Jon used to make fun of how her belly looked after she had all those kids.
I’ve been thinking about that, because when I first heard it, I was like “god, what a fucknut. Who says that about your wife after she’s had eight kids with you?”
But I’ve been thinking, what if Jon were Jonna and Kate were Karl. Would I buy that because Jonna made fun of Karl’s body, Karl deserved to be able to slap her? I’m not saying that that’s the argument Kate was making, of course, but it seems kind of how the show is set up, for Kate to be the put-upon drill sergeant who has to keep an army of kids and inadequate husbands together through discipline.
I also think that there’s the whole, “Well, she isn’t hitting him hard enough to hurt him,” thing.
But again, if Karl were slapping Jonna on tv regularly, would I buy that? That it’s okay because he’s not slapping her hard enough to hurt her?
We know well how male abusers work–how they and the people around them excuse their behavior because the victim deserves it in some way.
But it seems to me that here’s a classic example of how female abusers practice–wide out in the open because the kids are a handful, so who can blame her for losing it occassionally?, and because it’s kind of a joke that she hits her husband. After all, you’d have to be a real wimp to not be able to take a few slaps.
You can see how our societal stereotypes about what it means to be a real man keep a lot of folks, even a lot of feminists, from recognizing what she does to him as abuse. After all, we expect him to take it. For him not to take it would be unmanly. (We call this “The Patriarchy Hurts Men, too” and then the men all laugh and say “Whatever” but I’m still right.)
But it still teaches the same thing to the kids–that problems are solved and frustrations resolved through violence and that you should be willing to tolerate some level of violence from your spouse.
But more than that what bugs me is that these two have behaved that way on television and then gone all over putting themselves out there as a good Christian example of a family. I don’t blame them for trying to make a buck. I even understand the motivations behind two people in a really fucked up marriage wanting continual outside validation that their fucked up situation is blessed by God.
But folks, if your church leaders watched that show and still had those folks into your church to talk to you or recommended their books for you to read, you might should ask yourself what kinds of shepherds are leading your flock.