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Via campskunk @ Alegre’s Corner:

O RLY?

O RLY?

Dear Barack:

Which ‘late-term abortions’ do you oppose, exactly? Those caused by “all those irresponsible, fickle, ninny-brained straw-women who decide willy-nilly they want abortions” when they’re “feeling blue”? Those mythical ones that do not exist?

Pregnancy is not physically comfortable, Barack, nor does society often look kindly upon the choice we make, whatever it may be.  Since women (even the dirty, whorey ones!) don’t often subject their bodies to supporting a fetus for seven months or more unless they really want to, the likelihood that a late-term abortion is done for any other reason than the “health and life of the woman” is slim-to-nil.

A piece of advice? After two presidential terms under which the reproductive rights of half the population have been under steady, unrelenting attack, the year you beat out this woman* to become the presumptive nominee? Is not the year to be fucking around with the pro-choice base of your party. People are likely to get awful… bitter.

In short – get it together, dillweed.

– RKMK

(*In theory, anyway.)

Is Katha Pollit’s essay, “Dumb and Dumber: An Essay and Its Editors“, a response to last week’s clusterfuck of mass media misogyny, Charlotte Allen‘s “We Scream, We Swoon: How Dumb Can We Get?” (charmingly followed up by her “Ha ha, yeah wimmin ARE stupid ha ha” chat about the article, which effectively destroyed any defensive claims by the Post that the article was supported to be “ironic” and “tongue-in-cheek.”)

I’ve never watched Oprah Winfrey’s show, bought a Celine Dion CD, read “Eat, Pray, Love,” or fainted at an Obama rally, although he is my preferred candidate. According to Charlotte Allen, that makes me an “outlier,” an exception that proves the rule that women “always fall for the hysterical, the superficial and the gooily sentimental.” But uh-oh: I used to watch “Grey’s Anatomy” from time to time, and I even shed some tears when Denny died. Maybe being female has turned my “pre-frontal cortex into Cream of Wheat” after all. Maybe I’m just another “kind of dim” female, a charter member of “the dumber sex.”

In a casual essay of 1,700 words, Allen manages to stir together a breathtaking mishmash of misogynistic irrelevancies and generalizations. One minute she’s mocking women who bake cookies for their dogs; the next, she’s castigating Hillary Clinton’s campaign as “stupidest” partly because she fired her “daytime-soap-watching” Latina campaign manager too close to the Texas primary. (Note to Allen: Hillary won Texas with a flood of Latino votes.) She wonders why “no man contracts nebulous diseases” of possibly psychosomatic origins. (Note to Allen: Actually, they do.) She asks why women have more driving accidents. (Note to Allen: See below.) Could it be because women are mentally inferior, as proved by men’s greater ability to mentally rotate three-dimensional objects in space? Unless it’s a cute little puppy, that is, or maybe a cookie.

The upshot: we ladies should focus on what we’re really good at — interior decoration and taking care of men and children.

Oh, gag me with a spoon. Sure, girly culture can be silly — but what does that prove? It’s not as though men spend their evenings leafing through the plays of Moliere. Susie whips up doggy treats, Mike surfs porn sites; she curls up with the Friday Night Knitting Club, he watches football. Or maybe the two of them watch “Grey’s Anatomy” together — surprise, surprise, about half the show’s audience is male. If you go by cultural preferences, actually, you could just as well claim that women are obviously smarter than men — look around you at the museum, the theater, the opera house, the ballet, the concert hall. Women read more than men, too, especially fiction, which men tend to avoid. (A story about things that didn’t happen? How does that work?) Women even read fiction by men and about men, further evidence of their imaginative powers — while men, if they do pick up a novel, make sure it’s estrogen-free. Who’s really the dim bulb, the woman who doesn’t see the beauty of “Grand Theft Auto,” or the man who thinks Tom Clancy is a great writer?

For Allen, it’s definitely the woman: her brain is just too puny. She cannot mentally rotate three-dimensional objects in space — and that, as we all know, is the very definition of smarts. Funny how that definition keeps changing, as women conquer field after field that was supposed to be beyond them. In the 19th century, physicians insisted women couldn’t cope with college: studying would send rushing to their brains the blood that was needed for the womb. Back then, nobody credited women with the superior verbal abilities and memories Allen says scientists now find women to possess.

True to form, she dismisses these as minor talents that only helped her “coast” through school and life. But back when the experts were explaining why women couldn’t be lawyers or professors or poets (at least not very good poets), nobody said verbal skills and memory were trivial; they only became trivial when women were found to excel at them. Now the sexists diss women as inferior mental-object-rotators. I have no idea whether this is true, and whether if so it’s unchangeable, but you have to admit this is a very narrow scrap of turf on which to plant the flag of manly superiority.

Oh, but I was forgetting driving, a crucial skill. Allen claims that the misogynist canard is true: thanks to their superior visuospatial abilities, men (although maybe not gay men?) are better drivers, with 5.1 accidents per million miles compared to women’s 5.7. “The only good news,” she adds, is that because they take fewer risks, women’s accidents are only a third as likely to be fatal. That’s a very interesting definition of ability behind the wheel: the better drivers are the ones who take more risks and are three times as likely to end up dead.

Why did Allen, by accounts a good reporter on religion in a previous life, write this silly piece? It’s tempting to say she wrote it because she exemplifies the dimness and illogicality she describes — after all, this is a woman who cheerfully claims not to be able to add much beyond 2+2. But I suspect that Allen, who works for the right-wing anti-feminist Independent Women’s Forum, is just annoyed that so many educated middle-class women are cultural, social and political moderates and liberals. Democrats, in other words.

Girls swooning for Obama, Elizabeth Gilbert leaving her “perfectly okay husband” to eat, pray, love and write a huge best-seller, Meredith Grey and Dr. McDreamy smooching between surgeries, Hillary Clinton running for president instead of spending the rest of her life apologizing for her marriage — it does indeed make a picture. But it isn’t one of women’s unique “stupidity” — raise your hand if you think Hillary Clinton has a lower I.Q. than George W. Bush. What bothers Allen about this picture is that these women reject, with every fiber of their latte-loving beings, the abstinence-only, father-knows-best, slut-shaming crabbed misogyny of the Republican right.

I believe the term is “Boo-ya-SNAP.” (And I am totally shamelessly appropriating “with every fiber of my latte-loving being” into my everyday lexicon.) To continue:

A far more important question is this: Why did The Post publish this nonsense? I can’t imagine a great newspaper airing comparable trash talk about any other group. “Asians Really Do Just Copy.” “No Wonder Africa’s Such a Mess: It’s Full of Black People!” Misogyny is the last acceptable prejudice, and nowhere more so than in our nation’s clueless and overwhelmingly white-male-controlled media. I can just picture the edit meeting: This time, let’s get a woman to say women are dumb and silly! If readers raise too big a ruckus, Outlook editor John Pomfret can say it was all “tongue in cheek.” Women are dingbats! Get it? Ha. Ha. Ha.

Here’s a thought. Maybe there’s another thing women can do besides fluff up their husbands’ pillows: Fill more important jobs at The Washington Post. We should be half the assigning editors, half the writers, and half the regular columnists too (current roster of op-ed columnists: 16 men, two women). We’ve got those superior verbal skills, remember? Drastically increasing the presence of women isn’t a foolproof recipe for gender fairness — Allen is far from alone in her dislike of her sex — but I have to believe a gender-balanced paper would reflect a broader view of women than The Post does at present.

A male editor with a lot of women colleagues on his level might think twice before proposing a sweeping denunciation, humorous or not, of “women.” Ideally he would have come to respect women as equals from working with them — but if he were just afraid of being seen as a total caveman, that would be okay too. And maybe this kind of editor would have flagged as tired cliches references to Oprah and Celine Dion; would have looked up the studies Allen claims prove women have the I.Q. of a bowl of cereal and found they don’t say anything like that; would have wondered if more women bake doggy treats than subscribe to Scientific American or run marathons, and how does the treat-baker come to stand for all women?

And then, after all this, and seeing that Allen’s piece still didn’t ring even vaguely-kinda-sorta true, our imaginary editor would have asked a question. “You know what I think of this article?” a good editor would have said. “I think it’s really stupid.”

(Of course, the point may be moot after tonite, as early reports indicated not-fabulous support for Clinton in New Hampshire. Nonetheless.)

So, like, did you guys know that Hillary Clinton is a stone-cold bitch, a manipulative harpy, and an emotional wreck? Did you know that she is both too serious and that her laugh is a shrill, nerve-grating cackle? (Not unlike a witch! OMG coincidence!)

And did you hear about how she CRIED? She cried! Like a big girl, with a breastesses and a vagina and everything! (Except that she didn’t.) (And when she doesn’t cry, she’s “screechy.” VAGINA.)

Know what didn’t make the news? How she handled a stunt from two shock jock flunkies:

On a day when no one can stop talking what a huge, hysterical girl Hillary Clinton is, because she got choked up talking about her passion for this country and what she believes is best for it, Hillary Clinton also had to stand there while a misogynist fuckwit chanted “Iron my shirt!” at her, and then she had to laugh if off like it didn’t matter, didn’t affect her, didn’t trip her stride in the slightest; she had to keep on doing her job in spite of some insignificant piece of shit trying to humiliate her just for being a woman, and she gracefully turned that vicious attempt to demean her into a chance to note something she ‘loves’ about campaigning.

That, friends, is a tough fucking lady.

Of course, after the event, there were the inevitable rumours that she had staged the entire incident. Because, manipulative! Witch!

And, today when confronting Chris Matthews (who, if you’re not aware, nearly wets his pants every time they discuss the possibility of Hillary in the White House in an executive capacity):

During a press availability on the campaign trail in New Hampshire this weekend, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was pressing Sen. Hillary Clinton about how her plan to bring U.S troops home from Iraq differs from her competitors. Then it got weird(er):

Matthews: “Please come on the show.”

Clinton: “Yeah, right.”

Matthews: “Is that an answer?”

Clinton: “You know, I don’t know what to do with men who are obsessed with me. Honestly, I’ve never understood it.”

Later, Sen. Clinton walked over to Matthews. He pinched her cheek. She grazed his with her hand and said in a mother-to-child tone, “Oh, Christopher. Baby.” Matthews mumbled, “It’s not an obsession.”

[Video]

As a commenter at Shakesville marveled: “I love the way she treated him like a little boy and then moved on as if he were a nobody…which he is.”

For fucking serious.

Look, I’m not thrilled with everything HRC has said or done, or what she’s voted for, etc. But 80% is fucking close enough, and if I add in bonus points for sheer grit and overwhelming evidence of the fucking ovaries of steel this woman has had to have to get through 30-odd years of sexist bullshit in the public eye? I am so fucking down with the idea of her as president. That woman is badass.

More on why fighting this sexist bullshit matters, from Melissa McEwan. (Hint: It’s not just about Hillary. Which is why I’m writing about it regardless of her performance in the New Hampshire primary.)

Edit: 10:52 pm – Fuck that noise, they’re calling it for Hillary! This is what I get for passing by the blog of some asshole liberal white dude who was crowing about how Hillary hadn’t any votes as of noon. Lesson: never listen to liberal white dudes on political blogs, at least when it comes to HRC.

Solidarity, sister.