The XX Factor

Fox News Just Loves These Rape Joke Cufflinks

In real life, there are a dwindling number of women who are willing to giggle indulgently at men saying appallingly sexist things. On TV, there’s Outnumbered, where the women of Fox News are always there to flatter men who say terrible things about women.

Charles Payne took his turn as the single male guest among four female hosts on Friday, and the show ended with some really old school humor about violence against women when the hosts prodded Payne to show off his cufflinks. 

“This is a caveman dragging a woman by the hair with one club in one hand and the woman in the other hand,” Payne explained of the engravings on his cufflinks to the playful gasps of faux-horror and laughter from the female hosts.

Why would a man wear an accessory that portrays a tired ‘50s-era joke about a caveman dragging a woman by her hair back to the cave, presumable for some forcible sexual intercourse? “All I’m trying to say is that I am intimidated by you guys and I had to overcompensate, and I snuck the cufflinks out of the house without my wife knowing,” Payne said, because it’s not an episode of Outnumbered without the male guest pretending that he’s just so oppressed by all these women. Despite the female hosts pretending to have just noticed the cufflinks, a prepared close-up of them sitting on a table flashed onscreen, meaning that the show’s producers must have thought they were some pretty great cufflinks too. 

I guess those producers must know that the median age of a Fox viewer is 68 years old, meaning that the network’s audience has childhood memories of when the image of a caveman dragging a woman by her hair was basically everywhere. Odds are that most viewers saw that image so much growing up that they probably hadn’t even considered it a rape joke, which it is. What’s a little nostalgic hee-hawing about some previous era that Fox viewers believe had gender politics more to their liking, anyway? That’s just good TV.