Torn Between Two Nutters
Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, allegedly punched a man in the face at the Inaugural Ball.
After this past week I’m thinking she’s gonna need every ounce of that moxie.
Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George Conway III, and her boss, President Donald Trump, are having a Twitterfight. And it’s an ugly one.
George Conway apparently has some concerns about Donald Trump’s mental health, suggesting he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder among some other DIY diagnoses. He has decided for some inexplicable reason that Twitter is a a great place to discuss the subject. And Donald Trump being Donald Trump, has retaliated in kind, calling Mr. Conway a jealous loser, a husband from Hell, and implying he was pretty much everything this side of p-ssywhipped.
Kellyanne stood bravely in the middle of this kerfluffle and was basically like, “Welp.” Millions of American women also said “welp” on her behalf because she is in an unenviable position – stuck between a rock and a hard place, both of whom have super active Twitter accounts and apparently no consideration. I can’t even imagine how difficult and stressful my husband fighting with my boss would be to navigate even out of the public eye, let alone in it. And yet I find that as terrible as it all is, I’m completely unsurprised that this has happened. And not because of Trump, either. Donald Trump is collateral idiocy, at least in this case. It simply doesn’t shock me that some idiot dude decided that airing his grievances was more important than his wife’s Very Important Job or her mental/emotional well being.
Doesn’t shock me at all.
For my day job I run a website with 150,000 members, 99.99% of which are female, and 99.98% of whom are married women. We talk about stuff – our lives, our problems, our hopes and our dreams – and a lot of what we talk about is marriage-related. One complaint comes up again and again, a sentiment I have heard repeatedly expressed by women from six continents, from every walk of life, of every ethnicity and religious background.
Over time I’ve come to encapsulate it this way: “Whenever I really need my husband, he’s not only not there for me, but he suddenly becomes the biggest problem I have.”
A lot of men (not you, of course, Manly Reader, but a lot) seem to have a burning need to make every moment within a marriage entirely about them. If their wife is busy, sick, working super hard, popping out a 9 lb baby, having her episiotomy stitched up after popping out a 9 lb. baby – whenever a woman is facing an extreme challenge in her own life that means her hubby isn’t at the absolute center of her universe for a minute or two – well, that is entirely unacceptable. A lot of men (not you, I know, I know) will decide that that rather than offering to help or even maybe just staying out of the way, they need to immediately bring their wife’s focus back onto themselves where it rightfully belongs. So they throw a massive and ridiculous temper tantrum generally at the worst possible second, leaving women like Kellyanne Conway doing everything they already have to do singlehandedly while simultaneously soothing the bruised ego of a 200 lb manchild.
And that is what I think of George Conway. What a whiny little attention-seeking douche.
Maybe you don’t like Donald Trump. I don’t like him either. Maybe you don’t like Kellyanne Conway. Irrelevant. Love her or hate her, Kellyanne Conway is one of the most powerful women in American history. She wasn’t born into wealth or the right social circles. She didn’t attend Sidwell Friends and she even had to take her own SAT test (the HORROR!) Her dad abandoned the family when she was three and she was raised by her mom, her grandma, and her aunties. (#girlpower!) She picked blueberries for money as a teenager – 8 years of blueberries* – eventually winning both the World Champion Blueberry Picking Competition and the New Jersey Blueberry Princess beauty pageant. She graduated Magna Cum Laude and holds a Juris Doctor with Honors. (I don’t even know what that IS, but it sounds impressive.) Then she started her own successful company, birthed four children, charmed and clevered her way onto television and the rest is history. Kellyanne Conway is AMAZING and is one of the rare examples where you look at a person and think “Yeah wow ok they deserve every success they have.”
Whether you like her or or whether you don’t, she’s real, and she’s spectacular. Kellyanne Conway’s very existence is a beacon for all women, seriously. And yet despite all this, despite her many stunning accomplishments, her husband thinks it is just fine and dandy to undermine her success for his own momentary gratification, instead of keeping his dumb mouth shut (like wives have done to support their husbands since mouths were invented.)
“But Trump is CaRAY-ZEE!!! Someone has to say it!” Yo, there are 123,456,789 people per millisecond saying that Donald Trump has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, dementia, syphillis, Frontotemporal Herpes, Mongolian Barbecued Brain Rot, Atlantic City Drooling Chlamydia, or a host of other mental issues. There is no shortage of people taking any and every opportunity to declare that Trump is nuts. Heck, I’ll say it – Trump. Is. Nuts. But it wasn’t as if George Conway had some secret insider information no one else on Planet Earth had access to. He didn’t know the mysterious dark truth that the rest of the world simply had to hear. He read some stupid psychobabble-y article on the Internet that a zillion people had already read and wanted to mouth off about it probably because he was pissed that Kellyanne had burnt his English muffin that morning or maybe that she’d failed to pick up his balled-up stinky socks from where he’d thrown them on the floor the night before.
And that is really, really, really poopy. That is like, uberpoopy. But apparently it still wasn’t enough for the guy. Apparently Georgie-Boy was still seething in anger over the English Muffin Incident because then, as if what he’d already done to his poor longsuffering wife wasn’t bad enough, he gave an interview. An INTERVIEW, the balls on this schmuck – where he took it even further and said “The tweeting is just the way to get it out of the way, so I can get it off my chest and move on with my life that day.”
Oh, no, it was on his chest?? Gosh how terribly sad for him. He had something on his chest. Owie! So to remedy this crushing sensation in his chestical region, rather than taking an aspirin and dialing 911 like sensible people do, he took it off his chest and put it right onto his wife’s back. That’s right – knowing FULL WELL it would create massive problems and tons of work for his wife, he just had to share some stupid article that a kaboodle of people had already shared, accomplishing precisely nothing other than to make his wife’s life more difficult. He wanted to “move on with his life that day” so he left a flaming sack of dog crap on the front porch of the White House knowing that Kellyanne would have to go rushing out there to stamp it out in her Manolo Blahniks while the White House Press Corps looked on.
I don’t see how George Conway’s chosen course of recent action can be interpreted in any way other than “the most fleeting urge, whim, discomfort, or momentary inconvenience of a male individual should be considered more important than the lifelong desire, pleasure, joy, hope, dream, or unbelievably successful career of his wife.” That’s what George Conway has just told the world, in so many words. He felt some mild frustration regarding Donald Trump. Rather than maybe punch a pillow or scream silently or weep in the shower like most of us do when we think about the Trump presidency, he thought it was not only ok, but totally JUSTIFIED for him to publicly insult his wife’s boss, undermine her career, publicly humiliate her, and possibly destroy their marriage in the process. All so he could say a thing that’s already been said by lots of people and maybe make a little bit of his mild frustration go away (at least for a minute or two, until Trump sends his next Tweet.) If Mr. Conway hadn’t felt totally justified in doing what he did, he wouldn’t have gone on to give an interview reiterating how totally justified it was.
HE THOUGHT HUMILIATING HIS WIFE AND UNDERMINING HER CAREER WAS JUSTIFIED BECAUSE HE WAS MILDLY FRUSTRATED. And again I say – it doesn’t surprise me AT ALL. A lot of married women around the world deal with it every day – whenever they really need their husbands, not only is he not there for them, but he’s the biggest problem they have. A husband’s wishes (even when they are stupid and petty wishes, like a wish to send a Tweet) are always supposed to take precedence over everything else, even things that are massively important to a wife. It’s like that sexist jerk Mr. Spock always says, “The needs of the manly outweigh the needs of you, hon. Now fetch me that Romulan Ale and would it kill you to lose a couple pounds?”
But wait, there’s more. Because during his interview George Conway went on to relay this little nugget. “Frankly, I do it so I don’t end up screaming at her about it.”
Is there not a huge threat implied in that statement? “Either I am going to tweet about your boss whenever I get a hankering to and you are going to have to put up with it, or else I’m going to scream at you.” Best interpretation, that’s hugely controlling, worst interpretation, it’s downright abusive. No matter how you slice it, George Conway is punishing his wife for having a job. He will humiliate her or he will scream at her unless she resigns. On a fundamental level there seems very little difference between punishing one’s wife for the particular job she’s doing and punishing a woman for having or wanting a job at all. Denying a woman the right to work outside the home, most would agree, is the grossest sort of sexism. Mr. Conway is clearly one of those men who believes that his rights, even his smallest and silliest little rights like “the right to vent” outweighs his wife’s right to have the career that she wants without having to put up with crap like that.
Can you imagine screaming at the person you ostensibly love because you don’t like their boss??? Can you imagine continuing to publicly humiliate them unless they quit their job – not just any job, but a job they’d worked a lifetime for? Is that even sane? If a woman screamed at her husband because she didn’t like his boss or because she wanted him to quit, we would all think that was the act of an unbalanced person. I mean if you want to go down the road of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, George, you may want to look a little closer to home before you start pointing fingers.
This pisses me off so exquisitely, I think, because this is George Conway giving the big middle finger not only to Kellyanne, but to all women. The accomplishments of Kellyanne Conway MATTER to women, in a sisterhood sense. She broke barriers, being the first woman to run a successful presidential campaign and is one of a handful of women to serve as Counselor to the President. Some of us even look up to her, admire her. If the most powerful women in America are incapable of doing their freaking jobs without having to constantly tiptoe around their hubby’s sensitive feelings, if husbands can dangle threats of public humiliation and screaming over their wives’ heads even in the moment of their greatest professional triumph, seemingly without consequence, then how can women really, REALLY be expected to excel in the workforce? The way George Conway is treating Kellyanne right now feels like a bucket of cold water over the heads of all women. Equal pay is irrelevant if our husbands, at least some of them (and I do NOT think this is just or even mostly a conservative issue) think it is their God-given right to interfere with our ability to do our jobs.
Forget Kellyanne Conway for the moment and think about the many women out there whose husbands interfere with their ability to work – not only actively forbidding their wives to work, but keeping them from pursuing education, pressuring them to turn down opportunities for advancement, failing to help around the house, refusing to help with child care or birth control, and as George Conway is presently doing, passive-aggressively demanding attention when their wife is already spread very thin. This matters in a feminist sense, and it’s too bad that a lot of feminists have turned their back on the challenges that face married women in favor of worrying about pressing issues such as the gender makeup of the cast of Ghostbusters. Because it’s pretty obvious women still have a long way to go towards equality within the boundaries of marriage.
Kellyanne Conway says she won’t resign, and I hope she doesn’t. I think were Kellyanne Conway to resign, it would send a toxic message of discouragement to women everywhere, working or not, about how much we actually count in a marriage. And it would encourage the mindset of controlling men who think that they have the right to prioritize their wife’s needs far, far behind their own whims.
Hang in there, girl.
*When she had to pick a Secret Service code name, she allegedly selected “Blueberry”.
Photo by Gage Skidmore
Photo by Gage Skidmore