If there was any question that a stubborn strain of old-school sexism persists in Obama's America, one has only to look at certain leaders of what the right wing loves to call the "liberal media" but which is sounding and acting, recently, more like the frat-house media.
There, like a virus hiding in the body before, perhaps, staging a comeback, misogyny has found a place to lurk almost undetected, at least by the usually sharp eyes of progressive feminists.
Examine the symptoms of this infection, beginning with David Letterman's comments....
Shouldn't liberals exhibit the same sort of decorous treatment we demand for ourselves? Sexist comments like Letterman's and Cimbalo's also conjure a troublingly insular, clubhouse atmosphere in lieu of an inclusive political party. What's more, the gender-based stereotypes they conjure are as stale and ignorant as any voiced by the old Neanderthal right: Pretty women are de facto stupid, sexually promiscuous and low-class....
And what's the problem with sexy women, anyway? The facile answer is to say that female sexuality is threatening in some visceral, primitive way. But maybe the deeper fact is that pretty women remind us that the world is essentially unfair -- and if the world is unfair, then the progressive quest for fairness may be quixotic and unnatural. There is no more free market economy than your average singles bar. In any case, stern conservative strength in a woman has undone the left for ages: See Margaret Thatcher. Liberals would probably contend that these women present much to argue with, propounding odious views with real-world implications -- they do, they do -- but why not attack their ideas rather than insult them?
Asking why it is that liberal women do not often take liberal men to task for these attitudes is well worthwhile. Maybe we don't want to appear shrill and humorless, unable to take a joke. Or maybe it's thought that conservative women are too ideologically reprehensible to merit a defense. But to challenge this kind of sexist talk is not the same thing as agreeing with a woman's politics. If the left is allowed to remain a refuge for this sort of misogyny, if this virus in the body politic is allowed to flourish, then it is likely only a matter of time before it is once again directed at liberal women who are threatening in some way, as happened to Hillary Clinton....
Well, I'm pleasantly
As a Biblical egalitarian and American feminist in the pattern of Susan B. Anthony, I agree with everything NOW has to say about David Letterman's misogynist jokes at the expense of Sarah Palin and her daughters. See them all here. I even agree with NOW's last paragraph:
If only NOW et al would stick to stuff like this. Tragically, its dogmatic promotion of abortion has the opposite impact on women, exploiting and hurting them in the worst possible ways.
It seems to me if NOW can think with such clarity as it demonstrates in the blurb above, it must know the truth about abortion - particularly as time goes on and consequences (such as the Asian gender imbalance) become more obvious - and is simply in too deep.
Nevertheless, NOW's shot across Letterman's bow is sure to have a quieting effect - finally - on the shameful sexism displayed against Sarah Palin and her daughters by MSM and liberals. And that is good.