Cynthia: I “Spose” you might wonder why I think Susan Dench should be appointed to the University of Maine Board of Trustees?
Mike: I love it when we can agree! Do tell.
Cynthia: Well, I should say at the outset that I disagree with Dench about a lot of things. Especially her suggestion that feminism is the reason men behave badly.
I cringed when I read her blog about a so-called “traditional world, where women brought out the best in their men, who subsumed their more base instincts as they fought hard to earn and win the respect of the women they loved.”
And when she wrote, “before the sexual revolution, the woman was put on a pedestal, and both sexes expected the man to court her, woo her, fight for her hand, solicit her hard-won affection,” I was stunned, thinking, in the “good old days” Susan, women weren’t put on a pedestal, they were the pedestal!
But then it occurred to me: a man used to own a wife as “chattel,” like his skidder. Maybe a pedestal was a good place for her. You know, up high and out of the way.
What do you think?
Mike: I think men would be wise to put their wives on pedestals, even if it’s just from pure self-interest. There is truth in that whole “happy wife, happy life” thing.
But, to paraphrase Keith Urban, I believe a good woman should stand beside her man, not behind him, and he should stand beside her. I’d be willing to wager that Susan believes it as well; she is a published author, her husband is an attorney, and I know they make a great team.
The quotes you pulled speak to Susan’s concern about the sexualization of our culture and its impact on both women and men. She is far fromthe only commentator expressing those views. Her points are even echoed by a “Bring Back the Date” series at my alma mater. And it’s not like her concern is unfounded; campaigning aside, when did it become okay to make oral sex jokes about a female United States senator?
Cynthia: Please promise me, Mike, that we’ll never use the words “oral” or “sex” in the same sentence as “Senator Collins” in our column. (Except for this time.)
My goodness! I sound like Susan Dench.
Apparently you don’t need to be conservative to have good manners. And vice-versa.
In fact, this year’s bad-boy behavior is being committed mostly by reckless young Republican hacks making surreptitious recordings and false accusations — most recently that the Michaud-for-governor campaign created the video containing that sexual slur you reference.
My view is that since we’re stuck with ultra-conservatives, it’s better to have people like Dench representing their views than these ankle-biting punks who flout basic notions of ethical behavior to get ahead.
I may disagree with her on where we should stand vis-a-vis our man, and everything else for that matter, but I sense Susan Dench can be trusted to act honestly and with dignity on the Board of Trustees.
Mike: On surreptitious recordings and false accusations, methinks your party doth protest too much. What about when a Democratic activist secretly recorded Gov. LePage at a private event two years ago, with Emily Cain accusing the governor of “plan[ning] to spend taxpayer dollars for political purposes”? That plan was paying off Maine’s hospital debt. The horror! But it is called the silly season for a reason and, apparently, consistency remains the hobgoblin of small minds.
As for Susan, I think you’re correct. You can disagree with someone and simultaneously trust them. Besides, the ultimate question for the Legislature is a simple one: can she do the job?
I think I can guess your answer, but will your party feel the same? Or are they going to pillory a woman for having the gall to express her views publicly, simply because they do not share those views?
Cynthia: I hope the committee does its job and excoriates her before recommending her appointment. There should be a healthy and spirited discussion about Dench’s views on gender and how they might impact her role as trustee. It will be refreshing to hear a woman defend stereotypes for a change. Let’s leave the brats from both sides of the aisle at home.
The cost of undergraduate tuition for both men and women at the University of Maine is $23,000 per year, and yet Mainebiz reports the median earnings in 2012 was $50,600 for men with a bachelor’s degree and $34,493 for women with a bachelor’s degree. The wage gap was around in the “traditional world” Dench reminisces about, and it survived the so-called sexual revolution.
Let’s hear it, Susan. Is this “standing by your man,” or standing behind him?
Mike: I’m sure Susan will answer loud and clear and go on to serve Maine well. Thank goodness for Republican women!