April 2, 2008

Sexist framing hurts women AND men

In Why calling out misogyny matters zuzu at Feministe talks about why it is NOT okay to use misogynistic framing when discussing any woman (whether they are on our side or not) and features the same WSJ article I discussed a few days ago.

This is why I continue to call out the use of misogyny and sexist insults in this campaign. It’s not so much that I’m defending Clinton (though I think she’s getting an unfair shake in the media and in the blogosphere, and that annoys me), but that I’m calling this shit out because this shit hurts women. Women like me. Women like many of you. Women like your daughters, your sisters, your mothers, your friends, your spouses, your SOs. If it’s okay to dehumanize a US Senator and presidential candidate as “that thing” or dismiss her as “that bitch,” or set up a 527 called “Citizens United Not Timid” (aka C.U.N.T.) to “educate the American public about what Hillary Clinton really is,” then we now have an environment in which it’s okay to dehumanize, demean and diminish ordinary women because they’re women.


What I’ve been most disturbed by recently is the number of feminists and feminist allies who are willing to overlook misogynist framing and attacks on Clinton because they don’t want her to win, or are willing to dismiss such framing and attacks because “Clinton’s a racist,” or “She went negative first,” or what have you.

That doesn’t fly when someone dismisses Michelle Malkin in racist, sexist terms rather than engage her ideas — even though she herself has made a living off racist, sexist and xenophobic commentary. It doesn’t fly when someone makes tranny jokes about Ann Coulter rather than engage the substance of her ideas, even though she makes a living spewing eliminationist rhetoric. And it doesn’t fly when someone dismisses Jonah Goldberg for being fat rather than attacking his really, truly, breathtakingly idiotic positions.

So why should it fly just because you don’t want Hillary Clinton to get the nomination?

Do you want to be contributing to this kind of marginalization?
Exactly! But you know, this sort of attitude hurts men too. Let's see, how did they put down John Edwards? They called him "the Breck girl," made fun of his $400 haircut, ran that YouTube of him over and over. John Kerry was dinked for windsurfing (anyone have any idea the strength and agility that sport takes?) And yesterday, I saw something else that made me squirm: Joe Scarborough et al making fun of Barack Obama's bowling and saying things like this (from Media Matters):
Deriding Obama’s score, he said: “You know Willie, the thing is, Americans want their president, if it’s a man, to be a real man.” Scarborough added, “You get 150, you’re a man, or a good woman,” to which Geist replied, “Out of my president, I want a 150, at least.”

Later in the show, after NBC political analyst Harold Ford Jr. said that Obama’s bowling showed a “humble” and “human” side to him, Scarborough replied, “A very human side? A prissy side.”
And anti-Obama folks were eating it up. Hey, I really, really don't want to see Obama be our nominee, but this sort of thing makes me cringe.

zuzu reinforces my feelings with this post: Why calling out misogyny matters, part 2: When misogyny is used against men
Here’s an example of misogyny hurting men — because the ultimate put-down of a man is to equate him to a woman. If we fight the idea that being a woman is not something to be sneered at, we not only raise women, but we deprive bullies of one of the most powerful weapons in their arsenal against men.
The Red Queen wrote about the negative stereotypes used against men a few weeks ago.

It's obvious to us girls, and has been for a long time, that society hates us. We are told we are to dumb to be in charge of anything important, so we might as well stay home and have babies. We are told we are too shallow for caring about our appearance, but then we risk losing jobs, money and social status if we don't play the beauty game. We are kill joys if we are smart and bimbos if we are not. We are empty vessels, but we are in charge of making sure none but the right kind of man fill us up.

But society hates you boys too. I know, you get a lot of privileges from this society, but you have to be willing to be stereotyped as an asshole. If we went by what society tells us a man is, then you are all sex crazed mad men who can't think of anything but pussy when a woman is around. You are stupid, lazy buffoons when it comes to children or houses or even dressing yourself, yet you're supposed to shoulder all of the economic burden on a family despite this. You are an emotionless machine except for anger and lust. You can't put a sentence together to save your life because of your paltry verbal skills. If left to your own devices, you and all the other men would spend your days in brutal fighting competitions over fertile females. You don't really care about children, but you do get to own them. You can't be trusted with food processors or ovens, but you can be trusted with firearms and barbques. Your taste buds only register red meat and beer. You can engineer a vacuum but you can't use one. You don't parent your own children, you babysit them. You cannot be trusted not to cheat on your partner.

Feminists don't hate men. We hate that you have been as stupidly stereotyped as we have.

1 comment:

The Red Queen said...

I don't want my son to grow up thinking these stereotypes should apply to him anymore than I want them applied to women.

Whadda know- feminism is good for everybody