when the “b” word is as unacceptable in public discourse as a substitute for “woman” as the “n” word

The WA state caucuses left me a bit drained – a mix of happy and dissatisfied faces with how I handled chairing our precinct, the unease I felt at seeing such hatred for Hillary, and so little knowledge of Obama. I was challenging Hillary haters to give positive, fact-based rationale for Obama, even trying to feed them some of the answers, and was sad to see the commitment so melded in race, religion and gender.

So, after reading Frank Rich’s pillory of Hillary, I felt compelled to respond. I was honored to find my comment tagged as an NYT editors’ selection, errors and all. Maybe someone at Obama’s campaign will have a look and make some real change happen.

And just in case the permalink isn’t really permanent, a cleaned up version here:

Everyone is fighting nastily here. It can be a tough choice for an informed voter whose candidate left the stage. I left the WA caucuses today having chaired my precinct to a Obama landslide, but keeping my own vote profoundly uncommitted. A landslide, I’d point out, distinguished in no small part by a remarkable amount of male spokespeople who could barely conceal their contempt of Hillary for reasons they couldn’t quite express, even when pressed.

While on the topic of nasty tactics, I’d like to ask where is the outrage over the consistently sexist treatment of Mrs. Clinton by the media at large and Obama proponents in particular. I’m thinking about the remarks by Jesse Jackson Jr, falsely accusing her of crying over her appearance instead of over Katrina victims. Is he looking for freelance work? Hardly. His position as a spokesperson for the Obama campaign is safe and sound, while remaining as dry eyed on camera over Katrina victims as any other pol, including his boss.

Apparently, sexist behaviour is just part and parcel of American political life, to be questioned only if the women derided aren’t white. (Just look at Imus and Rutgers, and what got him canned, as opposed to what the players found primarily offensive. I wrote about it myself in an ironic copy of Carville, as, “it’s the misogyny, stupid.”)

Massachusetts Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral summarizes it best: “What would never be said about race is the sport of kings when it comes to gender.”

What a world it will be when the “b” word is considered as unacceptable to refer to women, regardless of race, as the N word is today. And how I wish John Edwards stayed in the race.

— janet, outside of Seattle

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3 Comments

Filed under 2008 elections, Feminism, John Edwards, misogyny, Politics, scared men, sexism, Voting, WA, WA Caucuses, WA-08, WA-48, women

3 responses to “when the “b” word is as unacceptable in public discourse as a substitute for “woman” as the “n” word

  1. That’s an interesting post. Thanks.

    Make no doubt about it. Obama is playing into the misogyny about Clinton big time. Every time he or one of his spokespeople talk about her “high negatives” or that she is a “polarizing figure” the fact that much of the source of this negativity is that she is a woman is left unsaid. It’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

    I’ve called an Obama campaigner on this issue when it was brought up to me. I said to her, “Well a large part of that is because Clinton is a woman. Are you saying I shouldn’t vote for Clinton because she’s a female like you?” She said, “I didn’t say that.” I asked, “Why do you think Clinton is so polarizing?” She said, “I’m not going to speculate.” I said, “I’m sure you have your opinions. Tell me.” That was the end of the discussion.

    When the Clinton campaign talks about how negatively Obama plays with Hispanics and Asians, the Obama camp raises the racist flag. As you say, everybody is fighting nastily. I don’t mind. That’s the rough and tumble of politics. But according to the press, the nastiness is only coming from the Clinton side.

    Obama keeps running this holier than thou message and so far the press is lapping it up.

    If Obama really wants to take the high road, he would lay off the coded misogyny and tell his spokespeople to do the same. People and the press aren’t shy about taking Bill and Hillary to the carpet. They need to do the same with Obama. At the very least, he needs some toughening come the general election should he be nominated.

  2. Stuart, thanks for weighing in, and for making the call. I hope for the sake of both campaigns they get the message.

  3. Oh good on you Janet, that was fantastic.

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