Monday, 18 April 2011

Anybody but a Woman?

By M Catharine Evans

Sarah Palin recently told the media "It's time for a woman to be president." A few weeks before the governor's declaration, HBO'S Bill Maher called Palin a "dumb (expletive deleted)" as part of his comedy routine. After weeks of protest from all sides the National Organization for Women who ignored the hate speech finally issued this statement: "We're on to you, right-wingers. You're trying to take up our time getting us to defend your friend Sarah Palin." And so it goes.

By now it must be clear to most Americans how difficult it will be for a woman to get elected. Hearing the words "Madame President" may still be a long way off, and for proof we only need to look back at Clinton's run in '08 and now Palin's or Michele Bachmann's possible candidacy in 2012. Maybe it's time to take Eric Holder's advice and stop being "a nation of cowards" when it comes to discussing old-fashioned witch-hunting sexism right out of the Malleus Maleficarum playbook.

In a 2008 pre-election appearance Michelle Obama spoke to a crowd of her husband's supporters, the future first lady delighted the group with her malicious attack on Hillary Clinton. Referencing the Senator's inability to keep Bill from straying when he was president Mrs. Obama bitingly suggested that if she can't take care of her own house how can she take care of a country.

Tearing up Clinton became a bipartisan blood sport in 2008. When a female audience member asked Republican Senator John McCain "How do we beat the bitch?" he responded, "That's an excellent question." The exchange received more than a million online hits. Obama adviser Samantha Power told a Scottish newspaper that Hillary was "a monster...she is stooping to anything."

A Facebook group with more than 44,000 members called itself "Hillary Clinton: Stop Running for President and Make Me a Sandwich." Tucker Carlson MSNBC host stated that "there was just something about her [Clinton] that feels castrating, overbearing and scary."

When Clinton tried to cite sexism as the elephant in the room she was chastised by none other than fellow Yalie Camille Paglia and pundit Peggy Noonan. After Senator Clinton told a Washington Post reporter that the "mean-spiritedness and terrible insults" stemmed from "sexist" attitudes and misogyny the two women declared war on the former first lady.

Noonan admitted that the '08 election was quite a conundrum for Democrats. Being labeled "racist" was far worse than being tagged "sexist" with Hillary caught in the middle. Still Peggy couldn't resist pummeling Clinton for playing the sexism card calling it "insulting" and "manipulative." She advised Mrs. Clinton to stop "complaining" as her constant bellyaching would "only reinforce what your supporters already think" and fail to win over any converts.

Paglia went even further in her verbal attacks against Clinton:

Hillary has tried to have it both ways: to batten on her husband's nostalgic popularity while simultaneously claiming to be a victim of sexism....Hillary is positioning herself as the Crucified One, betrayed, mocked, flogged and shunted aside for the cause of ultimate womanhood.

The message from women like Paglia and others? You want to play with the big boys? Then learn to take it like a man. Stop whining, don't talk back, and don't dare play the misogyny card. These Gaddafi-esque female bodyguards who jealously guard the patriarchy they pretend to despise relished the opportunity to claw away at Clinton. On the political correctness scale overt sexism not only scores very low, some of its worst perpetrators are women.

For those worried about academic credentials, it doesn't matter if you have a degree from Yale, University of Idaho, or Oxford the bottom line for both the left and the right is gender. Secretary of State Clinton, Governor Palin, and Congresswoman Bachmann have been called "stupid," "crazy," "cold-hearted," "incompetent," and "whiny" in addition to the more unprintable pornographic terms seen on t-shirts in 2008.

As more and more women battle it out in political contests, the power elites will employ all kinds of special ops to maintain the status quo. Most of all, they must hide their aversion to having a woman in the White House. That takes a lot of pollsters, verbal engineers, and a complicit media. Both parties have demonstrated their willingness to stop a female candidate by any means necessary.

In an online 2009 interview Mark Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher's son, recalled his mother told him a woman would never lead the Conservative Party. It was only due to her right-hand man Airey Neave's "subtle psychological techniques and disinformation" that helped "convince the traditionally chauvinistic Tory MPs to dump the batchelor Heath in favour of a woman." In the end when asked how "his mother had managed, against all the odds, to reach the very top," he said, "She was the best man for the job."

That was the 1970's. Here we are in 2011 and a woman has not been even been nominated for the presidency. Within this political climate as soon as a female tries to get near the highest office, leaders in either party find a way to stop her. Politico reported in October 2010 that top Republican Party leaders "are fixated on the topic" of Sarah Palin, "especially on how to keep her from running or how to deny her the nomination if she does run."

In the past a woman who dared to step out of her strictly enforced social role and challenge the existing order might be burned, hanged, stoned, drowned, or killed in any number of ways. Heck, some still are. But politics requires a bit more finesse.

The political hating is often blanketed in light-hearted "fun" polls, comedy skits, photo-shopped pics, and double entendres. Other times the gloves come off and violent, vicious, sexualized images and slogans appear. The perpetrators cross gender, media, and party lines spewing vile rape, stoning, and incest jokes. With women vying for the top position nothing is off limits.

This kind of female-bashing is not a new phenomenon. Aristotle claimed women were "inferior," Augustine deemed them temptresses, and others questioned whether we just weren't "human." Slugging it out through the witch trials of the Middle Ages right up through the early 20th century we are only 91 years out from getting the vote. Unabashed sexism is still around: pervasive, insidious, and a national shame.

If a woman candidate gets media coverage, it's usually in a polarizing light. In this week's issue of Time Magazine, a constituent in Michele Bachmann's district is quoted as saying she's the equivalent of a "cheerleader -- she can whip up a frenzy but has nothing substantial to say..." He went on to say she would be an "embarrassment" to millions of Republicans.

For a strong woman candidate there appears to be no in-between; either she's castrating and scary or a bimbo. Even Thatcher the Iron Lady had the opposition yelling "Ditch the Bitch." Old misogyny dies hard and the Oval office won't become the ovum office without a fight.



misterfox said...

Thats an interesting point about a woman(Mrs.Thatcher) replacing the bachelor Heath. Private Eye ran a cover of a naked woman with Heath's head superimposed and a bubble saying:" If its a woman you want I'm your man." Heath was a well-known bender and cruiser of public lavatories for trade.

Anonymous said...

As often as it's said, I believe that U.S. presidents are "selected" long before the actual so-called "election" takes place.

However, if I was an eligible American voter, this is the woman who would get my vote for U.S. president.

Vanishing American said...

With all due respect, the column sounds very much as if it were written by a leftist, what with the identity politics slant.
There are few women in prominent positions for various reasons, most of them not ascribable to 'misogyny' or prejudice. The idea that any disparity among groups, whether by race or gender, is attributable to 'bigotry' or bias is quintessentially PC, and it's exactly the same mantra recited by the people who elected our current president. It was 'time' to have a black president, now we are hearing it's 'time' for a woman.
As a woman myself, I say it's ''time'' only if and when the most qualified candidate is a woman.
Crying out for more women in political high positions may be unwise in that most women tend to have liberal to ultra-liberal politics, exceptions here and there notwithstanding.

eduard said...

Before Clinton got elected as president, he had an affair with a black woman and fathered akid with. After the scumbag became president he had her conveniently "removed". Now with a wife like Hilarious one cannot be surprised.

Anonymous said...

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Rollory said...

Feminism is leftism. Women are, on average and in general, not suited to be leaders of nations.

Palin is inspiring but she is a feminist. A right-liberal feminist, but a feminist none the less. She is not any sort of answer to the problems the USA is facing.

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