OPINION

Mike Pence won’t eat a meal alone with any woman other than his wife, Karen, whom he occasionally calls Mother 

Karen and Mike Pence. Picture: Getty

The role of Karen Pence is the Trump administration writ large

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By Marisa Bate on

Mike Pence, the Vice President of the United States, won’t eat a meal alone with any woman other than his wife, Karen, whom he occasionally calls Mother. 

This remarkable piece of information resurfaced in a Washington Post profile this week on Karen Pence, Pence’s always there but barely remarked upon wife. The piece suggested, due to a shared devout evangelical faith, Mike and Karen do virtually nothing apart. She is his “prayer warrior” and “gut check”. She accompanies him at home and abroad, in meetings, at events, during speeches, she’s allegedly even been consulted by Trump. And it would seem, she is the only woman on the entire planet that Pence would consider having dinner with alone. 

*If* you had managed to put the homophobic, human rights-dismantling part of Pence to one side and for some small, unchecked moment, thought there was something endearing or maybe even romantic about the couple's devotion to one another, you are an idiot. Because she may well be his “prayer warrior” but she also appears to be the only woman that Pence deems worthy of spending time with/ not afraid of / can look in the eye / believes to worthy of conversation.  That’s no Pacey and Joey fairy light shimmer of butterflies, in my book.  

Wome are there to simply make the life of men easier, more straightforward; to flatter their egos, to fuck their limp, ageing bodies

The internet has other theories; Pence can’t trust himself around other women, so handsome and charming he is, he’ll inevitably be seduced into a trap of lust by any woman who gets more than 10 minutes alone with him. While I quite believe that Pence’s ego is as robust and fortress-like as the shape of his oddly square head, as a woman who has actually talked to, and met with, other women, not to mention having had dinner alone with countless women, I’d swear on Planned Parenthood that this is categorically not the case. 

A more common theory: "Why the fuck would he want to hang out with a dumb bitch, anyway?"

And this, I’d wager, might be a tad closer to the truth. Pence’s Karen-only rule seems to be reflective of a wider Trump administration policy: you don’t actually need any women in the room. Especially if you’re talking about women; like if you happen to be reinstating the Global Gag Rule, or, perhaps, if you’re trying to reverse Obamacare and negotiating with the Freedom Caucus over maternity rights and welfare. But in what appears to be another Trump administration policy, there’s an exception to every rule. So no, you don’t want a woman in the room, unless, perhaps she is your exceptionally ambitious daughter who is married to one of your unofficial chief advisors. And you wouldn’t bother having dinner with women unless she is perhaps, your wife and also seems to be keeping your alcohol level in check. (Pence reportedly won't go to any event where there is alcohol served without Karen. In both the case of Ivanka and Karen, the word “woman" could easily be replace with “minder”.)

But that’s a woman’s job, right? Not to be in the White House or boardrooms or part of the democratic decision making process or in touching distance of any actual power but to simply make the life of men easier, more straightforward – to flatter their egos; to fuck their limp, ageing bodies; to smile at their falsities; to ignore their failings. Karen Pence will only speak to the press about her passion – art therapy. If/when women talk to, or about, the Trump administration in any other tone than a primary school teacher reading an afternoon story to a class of four-year-olds, all hell breaks lose. “Stop shaking your head!” Sean Spicer told April Ryan, a female American journalist this week, when she refused to accept the ridiculous answers Spicer was spouting. Elizabeth Warren was essentially censored when she tried to read a letter by Coretta Scott King on the Senate floor in opposition to Jeff Sessions.  Sally Yates was fired for standing up to Trump’s immigrant ban and leading the block. 

Mike Pence, with his woman-excluding, anti-abortion, homophobic ideals is a serious threat to the democracy of American lives, which will have a spill over effect on many parts of the world. But there is one saving grace. Rest assured, if you’re a woman, you’ll never have to have dinner alone with him. 

@marisajbate

Karen and Mike Pence. Picture: Getty
Tagged in:
women in politics
women in the media

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