A contributor to the Huffington Post and noted male feminist has claimed Sen. Ted Cruz ‘s awkward effort to hug and kiss his uninterested daughter isn’t simply an odd campaign moment, but actually an example of “rape culture.”
Cruz suffered some embarrassment Sunday when video surfaced of him attempting to hug and kiss his 7-year-old daughter Caroline while out on the Iowa campaign trail. Caroline was not terribly interested, creating a strange scene.
Sen. Cruz forcing his daughter to kiss and hug him is a prime example of "benign" rape culture: https://t.co/z43dyQpvHz
— Charlotte Clymer????️???? (@cmclymer) February 1, 2016
The Daily Caller News Foundation contacted Clymer, and he responded with a longer explanation of what he meant. While Clymer said he doesn’t believe Cruz would do anything violent to his daughter, he argued that by kissing and hugging Caroline when she didn’t want to be kissed, Cruz was making it more likely that she would be raped in the future:
As you probably know, rape culture is the way in which our society enables sexual violence against women (and men). This spans everything from the portrayal of women as sex objects in media to how consent is taught, expressed, and honored.
When you look at the gif I posted, you see that his daughter clearly does not want to be kissed. Were this a playful moment, perhaps our perception would be different, but it’s not. It is obvious she doesn’t want that attention from her father.
When I cite this as one example of “benign” rape culture, I mean that it’s one of those seemingly meaningless moments that enables violent acts. No, I don’t think Ted Cruz would ever hurt his daughter nor do I believe anything he’s doing here is remotely sexual, but I think it’s important to discuss the role of consent in this situation. If her father doesn’t respect her boundaries, wouldn’t this make it harder for her to understand she’s able to assert boundaries to unwanted attention down the road?
A request for comment from the Cruz campaign was not immediately returned.
This report, by Blake Neff, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.