The Continuing Sexism of Matt Walsh

The right-wing blogger’s tendency to enforce so-called traditional gender roles is littered with misogyny and hatred.

Matt Walsh by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To say that politics has become a mess is a massive understatement. For those who repeat such a statement, most would likely respond by saying, “have you been living under a rock?” And rightly so. For the last several years, every prejudice under the sun has resurfaced and has been treated with a level of respect that would make any decent person sick. And nobody embodies that more so than Matt Walsh.

For those who are fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with him, Matt Walsh is a right-wing contributor to Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire and the host of the aptly named Matt Walsh Show. But more than that, Walsh is a notorious sexist and so-called traditional Catholic who regularly endorses the worst elements of machismo politics. Throughout his time as a commentator, his work has been a non-stop exercise in hatred and prejudice.

From the very beginning, Walsh has embraced the worst elements of modern media. In 2013, he wrote a horrendously named article titled Your Husband Doesn’t Have to Earn Your Respect.’ In it, Walsh argues that men have been emasculated by sitcoms, double standards, and the supposed domineering presence of women at home. The evidence he provides is scant and, in the case of an alleged incident of a wife embarrassing her husband publicly, anecdotal. But Walsh doesn’t let the scant evidence stop him. Instead, Walsh argued that women are not giving men their due respect in relationships.

According to the Department of Justice, one-in-four women will suffer domestic abuse from a partner compared to one-in-nine men, so it is peculiar that violence against women is not brought up as a threat to the respectability of marriage in Walsh’s article.

The solution he provides is that men are entitled to respect for the sake of the marriage even when “he doesn’t deserve it.” Of course, Walsh is not so foolish to argue the more blunt “women should defer to their husband” trope, as that would be political suicide. But the underlying theme of women being responsible for respecting the man when he refuses to do the same remains.

Far be it from me to argue that women should not respect their spouses, but respect is a two-way street. Anything less nullifies that actual value of the relationship. A woman in a relationship with an unruly and disrespectful husband should have no more an obligation to accept that than a man should if the roles were reversed.

I am sure Walsh would object to the argument, saying that he never stated such a position. But the fact that he singled out women as being inherently more disrespectful in marriage than their male counterparts when women are subjected to far more intimate-personal violence suggests otherwise. If someone says they don’t have a preference for one gender over the other but simultaneously holds one as more culpable for relationship problems than other when there is clear evidence against that position, then it is not unreasonable to disregard that statement.

In other words, don’t let Walsh tell you who he is; let him show you.

Nor is this article the first example of a bias against women. In a Facebook post from 2014, Walsh complained about a pastor for her participation in a film called Sex Box. Normally, opposition to a pastor being involved in such a film would come from some sense of piety, and while Walsh certainly did object to the film itself, he seemingly couldn’t resist the urge to suggest that women can’t be pastors, even though not all pastors belong to the Catholic Church or its traditions of a male-only priesthood.

Full post linked here

It seems that Walsh can’t help but object to women in any authoritative position. Walsh has also argued that women in the police should not be allowed out on patrol, arguing that they can easily be overpowered, more so than their male colleagues.

This gendered thinking is, like most of his commentary, off-base. Policing, despite its many problems, is not restricted to physical strength. Part of a police officer’s job is handling disputes, de-escalating conflict, and subduing suspects. In some cases, police are also responsible for handling abuse victims, wherever they may be. And on that front, women officers tend to be more receptive to the victim’s concerns than male officers, likely due to gendered norms influencing their attitudes.

Additional studies have shown that women are also less likely to receive complaints than their male officers. Putting physical strength as the sole barometer for success for a patrolling officer is narrow thinking and limits the ability of law enforcement to effectively manage their many duties, all in the name of outdated and prejudiced norms.

Perhaps more bluntly, Walsh has also gone out of his way to attack South Dakota’s Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, saying that Noem was her refusal to stop businesses from enforcing mask mandates on their property before arguing that she was “an attractive woman” and that was the only reason she got support from members of the right for a possible campaign in 2024.

How’s that for mutual respect between the sexes?

None of this is surprising to anyone, but it is important to remember who and what Matt Walsh is. Whether or not we like it, it is critical to remember who and what the right seeks to promote, and so long as Walsh is a part of that package, the right will remain a hostile place for women in society at large and in government.

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