Hillary and sexism
May 16, 2008 Leave a comment
love it when readers actually request that I blog on a particular topic (in part, because it means people actually read this), so here's my thoughts on this absurd op-ed by Marie Cocco in today's Post. First, a sampling:
As the Democratic nomination contest slouches toward a close, it's time to take stock of what I will not miss.
I will not miss seeing advertisements for T-shirts that bear the slogan
“Bros before Hos.” The shirts depict Barack Obama (the Bro) and Hillary
Clinton (the Ho) and are widely sold on the Internet.
I will not miss walking past airport concessions selling the Hillary
Nutcracker, a device in which a pantsuit-clad Clinton doll opens her
legs to reveal stainless-steel thighs that, well, bust nuts. I won't
miss television and newspaper stories that make light of the novelty
I won't miss episodes like the one in which liberal radio personality Randi Rhodes called
Clinton a “big [expletive] whore” and said the same about former vice
presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro. Rhodes was appearing at an
event sponsored by a San Francisco radio station, before an audience of
appreciative Obama supporters — one of whom had promoted the evening
on the presumptive Democratic nominee's official campaign Web site.
I won't miss Citizens United Not Timid (no acronym, please), an anti-Clinton group founded by Republican guru Roger Stone.
Political discourse will at last be free of jokes like this one,
told last week by magician Penn Jillette on MSNBC: “Obama did great in
February, and that's because that was Black History Month. And now
Hillary's doing much better 'cause it's White Bitch Month, right?”
Co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski rebuked Jillette…
Would the silence prevail if Obama's likeness were put on a tap-dancing
doll that was sold at airports? Would the media figures who dole out
precious face time to these politicians be such pals if they'd compared
Obama with a character in a blaxploitation film? And how would crude
references to Obama's sex organs play?
There are many reasons Clinton is losing the nomination contest,
some having to do with her strategic mistakes, others with the
groundswell for “change.” But for all Clinton's political blemishes,
the darker stain that has been exposed is the hatred of women that is
accepted as a part of our culture.
You know what, I'm no big fan of misogyny, and Hillary has certainly been a victim of such, but I did not find this column in the least bit persuasive. T-shirts “widely sold on the internet” which I've never seen in real life, Republican nuts forming a obviously non-serious political group for the purposes of its acronym, and a magician making sexist comments and getting rebuked for it are not exactly the hallmarks of a pervasive culture of misogyny in my book. The truth is, when people have negative things to say about a woman, the term b*tch is quite commonly used (probably even by many a feminist). That does not inherently imply misogyny. It seems to me, the terms for a disliked male, are often far cruder and generally, one just does not use those terms with women. The fact that we use different negative words to describe men and women does not mean its sexist.
Anyway, Cocoo probably has some very fair points. Many of the things that fly under the radar as gender-based offenses would not if they were race-based. And certainly, a fair share of animosity towards Hillary Clinton is based on her gender (and in fairness, a fair share of her support is likewise based on her gender). But to come up with these generally weak examples to suggest we are a hopelessly misogynistic society does not impress me.