Time’s Up for “Jokes” about Beating your Wife

Last August, Republican Representative Tim Walberg asked sarcastically, “When did I stop beating my wife?” as a response to what he considered difficult questions during two town hall meetings. The response was immediate on social media with many people both bewildered and offended by this comment. When I read about it, I had a similar reaction. But, when I mentioned it to my husband, who is an attorney, he was nonplussed. He said this is the most common example of a loaded question, and he was surprised I had never heard it before. When I asked him where he first learned the phrase, he recalled that it was at law school. I pointed out to him that law school has until recent decades been a bastion of white male privilege, a place where men had not paused to think about how this phrase represents women as victims of male abuse. This conversation really made me pause and begin to pay more attention to and study how our language shapes our thinking, specifically about women.

I am curious about so many things and love researching and writing about things I find interesting. https://chaiselounge.substack.com

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