Joe Biden, What Are You Even Doing?

[Content Note: Toxic masculinity; victim-blaming; rape culture; fat hatred. Video may autoplay at link.]

Joe Biden was never my favorite politician, to put it politely. But Maude Almighty is the former veep working overtime to make me loathe him even more than I already did.

To wit, via Karma Allen at ABC News: Biden Says He Would Have 'Beat the Hell out' of Trump in High School for Disrespecting Women.


Leaving aside the cringe-inducing absurdity of a 75-year-old man talking about beating up a 71-year-old man when they were in high school six decades ago, this is toxic masculinity in its chivalrous iteration: Using violence to defend women's "honor" is not feminist and it's not heroic. It's chauvinist trash.
Former Vice President Joe Biden took fresh jabs at [Donald] Trump on Tuesday while speaking at an anti-sexual assault rally, telling students at the University of Miami that he probably would have "beat the hell out" of Trump if they'd attended school together.

"A guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, 'I can grab a woman anywhere and she likes it,'" Biden said. "They asked me if I'd like to debate this gentleman, and I said 'no.' I said, 'If we were in high school, I'd take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.'"
First of all, the solution to abuse is never more abuse. Secondly, Joe Biden was once face-to-face with a man who abused multiple women, and not only did he not "beat the hell out of" Clarence Thomas, but he was shitty to Anita Hill and refused to call three other witnesses who were prepared to make their own allegations against Thomas.

Women don't need men to beat up other men to defend us. We do, however, need powerful legislators to hold abusive men to account and ensure they don't, for instance, get a lifetime appointment to a court which empowers them to make decisions about our lives.

Biden failed that test. Big time. And he doesn't appear to have learned any lessons from that spectacular failure.

He went on to make what appears to be a defense of the narrative that popular guys beating up creepy losers is a workable rape prevention strategy, as if attractive athletes don't abuse women, and naturally threw in some fat hatred to boot:
"I've been in a lot of locker rooms my whole life," Biden continued. "I'm a pretty damn good athlete. Any guy that talked that way was usually the fattest, ugliest S.O.B. in the room."

And if that weren't enough, Biden went on to admonish survivors that we have a responsibility to report being raped, as part of rape prevention:
"It's not just on the men. It's on you women, as well, on campus," Biden said. "All the studies show that 95 percent of young women who are abused — the first person they tell is their roommate, their friend, someone on campus. You've got to inform yourself as to what facilities are available, what help is available, not just empathize, hug and say, 'I'm so sorry.' You have an obligation to be informed."
Nope. Let me say that again: NOOOOOOOOOPE.

There are a lot of things that discourage survivors from reporting. Among them is men publicly fantasizing about violent retribution against rapists, which can leave survivors reluctant to report for fear of furthering a cycle of violence. Many, many survivors neither appreciate nor value men threatening other men ostensibly on our behalf.

That Biden doesn't understand that makes him untrustworthy. That he failed to hold a sexual harasser accountable when it mattered makes him unreliable. And that he thinks it's hip to wax tough about traveling back in time to beat up Donald Trump in high school makes him a fucking joke.

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