A star from the feminist reality TV show “Real Housewives of New Jersey”, Melissa Gorga, has written a book about the secrets she’s learned to make her marriage work.
Tracie Egan Morrissey at Jezebel says it better than I ever could (especially since I haven’t read the book), but here’s my take on it. Her article’s title says that the New Book Advocates Marital Rape. I was expecting a run-of-the-mill account of rape culture through a single anecdote about how to please your man in bed. Instead we get an insiders view of an abusive relationship. As Morrissey put it:
The amount of sexism, gender essentialism, and caveman logic within its pages is so appalling that it’s difficult to believe that her book is anything but a cry for help.
It’s so bad in fact that her husband interjects his opinions throughout the book, including his rape advocacy/rationalization [emphasis mine]:
Men, I know you think your woman isn’t the type who wants to be taken. But trust me, she is. Every girl wants to get her hair pulled once in a while. If your wife says “no,” turn her around, and rip her clothes off. She wants to be dominated.
Women don’t realize how easy men are. Just give us what we want.
We are regaled with stories of how she uses sex to stave off his wrath and prevent him from cheating. How he as taught her and corrected her from the earliest days of her marriage exactly how he envisions her behaving. How he gets angry (justified as “he doesn’t feel respected”) if she’s not home and dinner’s not on the table when he arrives home from work. How they raise their boys with their own separate entrances to the house, but their daughter is going to be coddled and controlled until she’s safely married*. How he controls her dress and her weight. How she doesn’t even defecate if he’s in the house, lest he be reminded that women are human beings with bodily functions, too (one can only imagine the lengths she has to go to when she’s menstruating).
And of course there’s the sinister knife metaphor:
Joe always says, “You got to teach someone to walk straight on the knife. If you slip, you’re going to get cut.”
Top it all off with a healthy dose of domestic violence**:
If he gets one ounce of flack from me, he flips a switch and goes off.
…and you’ve got yourself the perfect marriage.
What has the world come to that books like this are sold as relationship advice?
* Married to her second boyfriend. Of course. Who else could it be? Not boyfriend number 3. You know what they say– 2’s company, 3’s a slut. And certainly not a woman, either. Can someone call social services for Antonia?
** It seems that in the book, her husband’s (physical) violence is limited to breaking things like highchairs, but that a friend has said in an interview that he has “smacked her on the face”.