I’m not a particular admirer of President Bush, but the leading feminist blog www.feministing.com took a cheap shot at Bush yesterday. It’s one thing to criticize Bush’s policies on the war in Iraq, or immigration, or his head-in-the-sand approach to climate change, but to criticize Bush as a father–particularly in this manner–seems rather low rent.
In People magazine’s end-of-the-year review with George Bush, there is the following exchange:
Q: Tell us about your future son-in-law, Henry Hager. Did he do right and ask for Jenna”s hand?
The President: “He kind of sidled up to me and said, ‘Can I come and see you?” We were sitting outside the presidential cabin here, and he professed his love for Jenna and said, would I mind if he married her? And I said, ‘Got a deal.” [Laughter] And I”m of the school, once you make the sale, move on. But he had some other points he wanted [to make]. He wanted to talk about how he would be financially responsible.’
“How lovely. Nothing like your traditional daughter-for-sale language from the leader of our great nation to get me all warm and fuzzy this holiday season. And shame on the magazine (not like we should expect much from them) to say that ‘asking for a daughter’s hand’ is the ‘right’ thing to do. This isn’t the fucking ’50s, People.”
So a warm, humorous moment where the president relates his future son-in-law’s awkward but sincere attempts to do the right thing, to respect his future in-laws, and to respect his future wife, is, in reality, yet another example of our terrible patriarchy and the way fathers allegedly treat their daughters as property for sale. Bush isn’t a proud dad, he’s an “owner” who just completed a sale.
Whatever men do, it’s always wrong.