Thursday, June 05, 2008

Well Worth Reading

Is this post by Shakespeare's Sister on the misogyny in the primaries, if you want to understand why many women have been hurt by the campaign, including women who never supported Hillary Clinton at all. I know that I was hurt when I saw Bill Kristol chuckling so companionably with the other guy pundits inside my television set over the problem that is white women, for example, and it wasn't because Bill was being a Big Meanie. It was because I suddenly realized that the "woman problem" for these guys really is something to guffaw about. Women are hilarious! Though of course not as comedians but as the butt of the jokes.

Remember when Mike Barnicle told us that Hillary Clinton reminds all men of their ex-wives at the probate court? That was funny, too! So many memories of laughing pundits! And that Hillary Nutcracker? And the C.U.N.T. t-shirt? Smart marketing moves and so funny, because you have to think for a second or two before you get that the joke is not really about Hillary but about women.

Why did this revelation (that us wimmenfolk are cute when we're unintentionally funny) affect me so? Because I realized that women are just not taken seriously. Would you laugh at the first realistic presidential candidate of an ethnic group which is still banned from combat roles in the military, still banned from being priests in the Catholic Church, still overrepresented among the poor and the low earners? But you laugh at women, or at least the pundits do.

Now, none of this is a defense of Hillary Clinton's campaign which was badly run or a defense of her policies or her campaign statements, some of which came across as racist. Neither is it an argument that she lost because of sexism. And it is certainly not an attempt to ignore the nasty racism in this campaign or to compare the two.

But I'm wondering why I have unearthed misogyny (or something at least equal to contempt towards women) under so many stones, yes, even under liberal-looking stones. Is this just part of the campaign battle, part of using every possible weapon in the arsenal? Or is the cause of gender equality really something of a joke to many?