Tag: sexist

Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright offend women who support Bernie

AUTHOR’S NOTE: From this point forward in the 2016 race for the Democratic presidential nomination, “Hillary” refers to Hillary Clinton, and “Bernie” refers to Bernie Sanders.


This is really one of those times where, admittedly, I wish I had a female co-blogger to help push back against the offensive remarks by some of Hillary’s supporters towards women who support Bernie.

If you’re wondering what I was referring to in the above paragraph, I’m referring to recent remarks by women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright, both Hillary supporters. In both cases, offensive remarks were made about women who support Bernie.

Steinem went on the HBO show of Bernie backer Bill Maher (YouTube video here, Steinem’s remarks about Bernie supporters begin at the 3:50 mark) and claimed that women who support Bernie are only doing so to meet men:

The feminist icon made an alarmingly sexist remark on “Real Time with Bill Maher” Friday night, suggesting that young, female supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders only support him because dudes do, too.

Steinem was discussing Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sanders. When Maher noted the Vermont senator’s popularity with young women, Steinem responded with her theory that women get more “radical” as they get older.

“When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie,” she said.

I’m not going to comment on Steinem’s theory about men becoming more conservative, and women becoming more liberal, as they get older, since I’ve not seen any scientific study on that matter. However, what I will say is that women who support Bernie are not doing so because they want to meet men. After all, if they did, I’d probably have a girlfriend by now (in reality, I don’t have or want a girlfriend). Women who support Bernie support him because they share and support many of his values and ideas, such as restoring good government, making college truly affordable, raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, and significantly reducing health care costs.

Not to be outdone by Steinem, Albright claimed that women who support Bernie are going to hell:

Former Sec. of State Madeleine Albright attempted to shame young women voters at a Hillary Clinton campaign event on Saturday, repeating her now-famous line: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

[…]

The 78-year-old diplomat, who served in the Bill Clinton White House, complained that some young women “don’t understand the importance of why young women have to support Hillary Clinton.”

In my opinion, Albright’s remarks were even worse than Steinem’s remarks for one reason. To claim that women who don’t support a particular candidate are going to hell and saying that they have to support a particular candidate is basically a way of saying that you don’t believe in democracy, without actually saying that. Democracy is about choosing between political candidates, not forcing someone to support a particular political candidate.

While women make up approximately 56-58% of the Democratic primary and caucus electorate nationwide due to the institutional gender gap in American politics, you cannot completely run on shaming women into supporting a female candidate and win nationally, even in a Democratic primary or caucus. The Democratic Party cannot be seen as being condescending towards women who don’t see eye-to-eye with the party elites, or we’ll end up with a President Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, or some other Republican.

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Hillary supporter Jessica Valenti plays the “vote for someone that looks like you” card

Jessica Valenti, a Hillary Clinton-supporting columnist for the British newspaper The Guardian, effectively called for Democrats to vote for Hillary simply because she’s a woman:

When it comes to women in politics, the United States is pretty much the pits. Women make up half the population in this country but hold less than 20% of congressional seats and comprise less than 25% of state legislators. The numbers for women of color are even more dismal.

On the world stage, the US ranks 72nd in women’s political participation, far worse than most industrialized countries – and with numbers similar to Saudi Arabia’s. A United Nations working group late last year called attention to this disparity in a report that found massive discrimination against women across the board, an “overall picture of women’s missing rights”.

And so it seems strange that at a time when the country has the opportunity to elect the first female president, the idea that gender might be a factor is considered shallow in some circles.

Valenti, for all intents and purposes, effectively said the truth about Hillary’s presidential campaign: many, but not all, of Hillary’s supporters are supporting her because she’s a woman. I think that’s just as sexist as a Bernie Sanders supporter saying that he or she is supporting Bernie because he’s a white male and/or Jewish, something that virtually no Bernie supporter believes. I’m not supporting Bernie because of race, gender, religion, etc. (in fact, I’m a white male atheist), but because my political ideology closely lines up with that of Bernie.

One would only need to look to Wisconsin for a couple of real-life examples of how destructive this style of race and gender-baiting politics truly is. In a 2012 Democratic primary for a seat in the Wisconsin State Senate, Elizabeth Coggs called for voters in a Democratic Wisconsin State Assembly primary that year to “vote for someone who looks like you”, a reference to the fact that Millie Coby, a black woman, was running against Sandy Pasch, a white Jewish woman, in the Assembly primary. Both Coggs and Coby lost their primaries. Additionally, five of the seven members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court are female, yet Wisconsin’s highest bench is probably the most right-wing government institution in the entire country. As a matter of fact, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is ridiculously corrupt (outside political groups have had considerable influence on re-writing ethics rules for Wisconsin Supreme Court justices), hyperpartisan (the Wisconsin Supreme Court has sided with Republican Governor Scott Walker on every major case they’ve ruled on since Walker became governor), and even violent (in one instance, conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser put liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley in a chokehold).

It’s pretty clear to me that Hillary Clinton and her supporters think that it’s a valid crime for a white man like Bernie Sanders to stand up for progressive values and seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

Kirk the Jerk makes offensive remarks once again

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) is, once again, making some downright offensive statements. This time, he (figuratively) put his foot in his mouth while talking about the fact that fellow U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is also a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has no wife:

“I’ve been joking with Lindsey, cuz he doesn’t have—did you see that?—have a rotating first lady. He’s a bro with no ho. That’s what we’d say on the South Side.”

(emphasis mine)

Kirk the Jerk’s remarks were offensive for two reasons. First, he pandered to the black community. Secondly, he said something incredibly sexist about women.

Kirk the Jerk pandered to black Illinoisans in a absolutely ridiculous way. Not all black people in Illinois refer to men as “bros” and women as “hoes”. In fact, most black Illinoisans would find Kirk talking in that manner to be downright offensive. Additionally, Kirk the Jerk also implied that all women are prostitutes (“ho” is a slang term for a prostitute), which is flagrantly sexist.

Keep in mind that Kirk the Jerk is about as much of a South Sider as I am. (“South Side” refers to the predominantly-black South Side of the Chicago). Kirk is from Highland Park, a mostly upper middle class/wealthy suburban community in Lake County (I’m not sure where he currently lives), and I’m from Westville, a mostly poor/working class former coal mining town in Vermilion County, neither of which come even close to being like the South Side of Chicago.

Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard treated in a sexist manner by the Australian media once again

Note to Seven Network Tennis ReportersAfter easily winning her second-round match of the women’s singles tournament at tennis’s Australian Open, Eugenie Bouchard of Canada was asked to do a twirl by a male reporter for the Seven Network, an Australian television network:

An unusual request greeted 20-year-old Canadian tennis phenom Eugenie Bouchard after she breezed her way into the third round of the Australian Open with an easy 6-0, 6-3 win over Kiki Bertens.

When Bouchard met the on-court interviewer — a man — to talk about the match, which lasted a mere 54 minutes, he asked her to “give us a twirl.”

[…]

Bouchard obliged, “somewhat uncomfortably” showing off her bright pink and yellow outfit, as the Associated Press reported…

Since virtually nobody would ask a male tennis player to do a twirl in a post-match interview, the Seven Network reporter acted in a sexist manner toward Eugenie Bouchard. Sadly, this isn’t the first time that Bouchard has been subject to sexism by a Seven Network reporter at an Australian Open. Last year, a female Seven Network reporter asked Bouchard who she would want to date if she could date anyone she wanted to, which is the type of question that virtually nobody would ask a male tennis player.

While I’m not a fan of tennis (in fact, I’ve never watched a tennis match before), I’m getting tired of the rampant sexism in the sports media. Sports journalists should stick to asking tennis players questions about their tennis game.

Penn State Professor Sophia McClennen delivers brilliant response to Rush Limbaugh smear attack

Sophia McClennen, a professor at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), wrote this piece for Salon magazine, in which Professor McClennen talked about how Steven Colbert’s style of comedy during his tenure as host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report brilliantly mocked conservatives who (figuratively) wrap themselves in the American flag by constantly talking about their patriotism.

Obviously, Rush Limbaugh, a right-wing misogynistic talk radio shock jock who is best-known for his infamous remarks in which he called attorney and women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke a “slut” on his nationally-syndicated radio program The Rush Limbaugh Show, was not happy after reading Professor McClennen’s column, so he called her a “professorette” on his radio program and whined about how he couldn’t “escape these professors and these lies and all this crap that’s in the media about everything that’s so-called wrong with America”.

Professor McClennen wrote a pair of responses to Limbaugh’s sexist smear attack against her at Salon magazine and at the progressive website DailyKos. In her DailyKos diary, Professor McClennen called out Limbaugh for claiming to love America but hate a majority of American citizens:

This leads to another persistent flaw in Limbaugh logic: How can you claim to love your country, yet hate so many of its citizens? It turns out that people of color, women and folks who vote with the “Democrat Party” are all part of the very same nation that Limbaugh professes to love. And yet, he seems to have a never-ending ability to spit bile at his fellow citizens, constantly hurling invectives at those with whom he disagrees. Professorette? (His term for me.) Infobabe? Feminazi? And we can’t forget Limbaugh’s treatment of Sandra Fluke. […]

I want to make three points about this.

First, Professor McClennen’s piece about Colbert’s character on The Colbert Report is certainly not a pack of lies and crap about everything that’s wrong with America. It’s a factual and very informative piece about how Colbert parodied right-wing talking heads like Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and others in the corporate media in order to gain a large following among the left in this country and how Colbert fought to redefine what patriotism means in this country.

Second, for Limbaugh to publicly call Professor McClennen a “professorette” is flagrantly sexist. “Professor” is a gender-neutral term, and for Limbaugh to use the term “professorette” to describe a female college professor implies that female college professors are somehow inferior to male college professors, which, at least in my experience, is certainly not the case. I attended a small junior college in the east central part of Illinois on a part-time basis for a few years before dropping out, and, even though my college experience was horrible (mostly because I wasn’t interested in attending college at all), every professor who taught one or more courses I took, regardless of whether it was taught by a man or a woman, taught their courses exceptionally well.

Third, as someone who is a left-wing nationalist and damn proud of both America and my progressive political views, I believe in a different kind of patriotism than right-wing talking heads like Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, and so on do. Right-wingers in this country believe in the “wrap-self-in-the-flag” kind of patriotism, in which they talk about how great America is while they support policies that are turning America into a third-world country, such as free trade agreements like NAFTA, deregulation of the banking industry, and cuts in government spending on things like education and social safety net programs. On the other hand, I believe in a kind of patriotism simply known as making America exceptional. I believe in raising taxes on the wealthy, protecting and expanding the social safety net, providing affordable health care to the American people, providing a better public education system for future generations, repealing free trade agreements, protecting the American economy, protecting and enacting regulations to protect workers, consumers, and the environment, raising the minimum wage, granting equal rights to all Americans, ensuring that all American citizens who are of age are able to vote in free and fair elections, and protecting the civil liberties of the American people, among other things. I don’t believe in all of that because I hate America, I believe in that because I love America and want to make this country an exceptional place to live!