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Why Steven Crowder’s Marriage Matters

Treating your wife like an indentured servant is not conservative, writes Bethany Mandel. It’s abusive.

You know you’ve had a bad week when the video of you cackling at individuals with Down syndrome isn’t the video you’re getting canceled for. No, Steven Crowder—a self-proclaimed pro-life, Christian, conservative commentator—managed to one-up himself.

Two weeks ago on his show, Louder with Crowder, he bemoaned to his 1.3 million Rumble followers that his wife, Hilary, was legally allowed to file for divorce despite the fact that he wasn’t on board. “In the state of Texas,” he repeated incredulously, “that is completely permitted.” 

Giving women the right to file for divorce. What will they ask for next? The right to vote? 

Three days after Crowder announced his divorce, a Ring video was leaked that captured the couple fighting. The argument centered around the fact that Hilary—eight months pregnant with his twins—wouldn’t perform her “wifely duties,” namely, administering potentially toxic drugs to “his dogs.” After insisting she don gloves in order to do so, Crowder then demanded she go grocery shopping to buy him steaks—in an Uber, of course, in case he wanted to take their one car to see friends while she was gone. When Hilary objected, Crowder menacingly growled, “Watch it.” 

I don’t believe in trigger warnings, but this video made me ill:

According to reports, moments later, Crowder, by his admission, screamed “I will fuck you up.” 

Some have insisted that more context is needed. I wonder in what context treating your wife like an indentured servant—and threatening her with violence—is permissible.  

Perhaps that’s the pro-lifer in me talking: in this video, Crowder’s not just a physical danger to his wife, but to the twins inside her as well. And as a woman who constantly talks about the physical differences between men and women in the context of sports, I will also point out that a physical altercation between Crowder and his wife wouldn’t resemble a bar fight between two jocks. It’s a mismatch to the extreme—a man in his physical prime and a pregnant, vulnerable woman.

A former producer who used to work with Crowder told me: “Any time I saw them together, she always seemed afraid of him.” Why wouldn’t the producer go on the record? Fear. “He’s not mentally stable, in my opinion.” 

I’d probably feel close to this way if I saw this video about any man and any woman. But the Crowder affair hits close to home because he is, like me, a conservative. And not just a conservative. Crowder crowned himself The Christian Authority on marriage. He famously boasted about going into his wedding as a virgin.  

“For someone who calls himself a Christian, you’d think he would step up and defend the mother of his children. But instead, he did the opposite,” the former producer told me.

Back in 2015, I read a wonderful column on Fox News from a Christian man about his marriage—about how he’d always honor his wife. Here’s part of what he said: “[T]here may be some people out there who actually believe their wife to merely be the ‘old ball and chain.’ To you I say. . . you are a loser. Not only are you a loser for dishonoring the woman who is now an extension of yourself, but you’re a loser for picking someone who you hate having to come home to every night. What kind of an idiot are you to marry a person that you think is an absolute moron?”

Who was that insightful commentator? Steven Crowder. 

In addition to claiming that we need to know the context behind the video, many of Crowder’s fans and defenders insist that Crowder’s divorce is a private matter, and we should all butt out. 

But even Crowder himself apparently doesn’t believe that this matter should be private. He was the person who announced the split. Then, the day after after the Ring video was released, he put out another video threatening his ex, declaring that he had filed a motion to unseal all of the records pertaining to their divorce, including medical and mental health records. Screw the kids if it means taking down his ex-wife. Whatever it takes. 

Crowder claimed in his second video that “broken marriages are ugly and in them people do ugly things, of course myself included. I would never claim otherwise.” Which isn’t really an admission of abuse so much as an admission that he doesn’t know the line between ugliness and evil.

For all of this, his wife’s lawyer should send Crowder’s producers a fruit basket. But for those of us who consider ourselves promoters of family values, this whole episode serves only as fuel for those who portray all conservative men to be like Crowder.

When I first married my husband Seth, a political conservative, I had friends and family worried. They told me that he’d try to isolate me and control me under the guise of traditional values. Their worries were based on the worst stereotypes of conservative men: retrograde at best, abusive at worst. In other words: they worried he’d be like Steven Crowder.

What we’ve witnessed from Crowder isn’t what a conservative husband looks like; it’s what an abusive one does. Hilary Crowder knows it. It’s why she left.

Other conservative women need to know it too, which is why this isn’t just a private matter between two warring parties in the middle of a divorce. This is an important message about conservative marriage. If Steven Crowder is going to portray himself as an expert on such matters, it behooves those of us in healthy conservative marriages to set the record straight.

Bethany Mandel’s last piece was about her decision to have six kids. You can follow her on Twitter here.

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