Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Misogyny, not just for women anymore

Zuzu at Feministe is right again. She examined Joe Scarborough's denigration of Obama's "dainty" bowling skills:

Like I said in my earlier post, it’s important to call out misogyny because misogyny hurts all women. Here’s an example of misogyny hurting men — because the ultimate put-down of a man is to equate him to a woman. If we fight the idea that being a woman is not something to be sneered at, we not only raise women, but we deprive bullies of one of the most powerful weapons in their arsenal against men.

The issue of manliness is a perennial one in Presidential politics, particularly for the Democratic candidate. Republicans are presumptively manly, but Democrats, being of the “mommy party,” face an uphill battle on this score. And so you get a lot of photo-ops of Democratic candidates playing sports (Hillary Clinton, it should be noted, has already been deemed Not A Woman Because She’s Trying Too Hard To Be A Man, so she would probably be exempt from this nonsense).

Not to mention, you also get a lot of chest-beating from Democrats who think that the only way the Dems can win is to put up more macho candidates like Jim Webb, ignoring the fact that he’s not all that popular in the party and would never have gotten elected had it not been for George Allen’s “Macaca Moment.”

Be sure to watch the video or at least read the transcript [link] for an example of the kind of anxious masculinity display we can expect in the general election should Obama become the nominee....

Digby itemized a list of mocking Democratic men (and Hillary) by using distorted gender stereotypes:

Al Gore needed to be taught how to be an "alpha male." He doesn't "know who he is."
John Kerry "flip-flops" like a flaccid penis.
John Edwards is "the Breck girl."
Howard Dean was "hysterical."
Barack Obama is "Obambi."
Bill Clinton was "a pervert."
Hillary Clinton is a lesbian.

The underlying premise of the modern conservative movement is that the entire Democratic party consists of a bunch of fags and dykes who are both too effeminate and too masculine to properly lead the nation. Coulter says it out loud. Dowd hints at it broadly....

For further edification, Glenn Greenwald has commented repeatedly on the idealization of warped masculinity--a hyper-masculinity--which, in the mind of sexists is superior to all things feminine, or in Limbaugh-speak, those "feminazis":

Remember Der Arnold's girly men? Or John McCain's manly indifference to the question, “How do we beat the b*tch?”

Explore the archives of The Daily Howler, and you can unearth a ton of misogynistic smears used to attack liberal men and women. Snips from one Bob Somerby post, WIKIDOWDIA! Dowd is a cleaned-up version of Coulter...

On Friday, at a major conservative political gathering in DC, [Ann Coulter] called John Edwards a “f*ggot.”...

Coulter called Al Gore a “total fag” on Hardball. Chris Matthews—an endless Gore-trasher himself—didn’t utter a peep of protest....

...In Dowd’s work, John Edwards is routinely “the Breck Girl”(five times so far—and counting), and Gore is “so feminized that he’s practically lactating.” Indeed, two days before we voted in November 2000, Dowd devoted her entire column, for the sixth time, to an imaginary conversation between Gore and his bald spot. “I feel pretty,” her headline said (pretending to quote Gore’s inner thoughts).That was the image this idiot wanted you carrying off to the voting booth with you!...

And now, in the spirit of fair play and brotherhood, she is extending this type of “analysis” to Barack Obama. In the past few weeks, she has described Obama as “legally blonde” (in her headline); as “Scarlett O’Hara” (in her next column); as a “Dreamboy,” as “Obambi,” and now, in her latest absurd piece, as a “schoolboy” (text below). Do you get the feeling that Dowd may have a few race-and-gender issues floating around in her inane, tortured mind? But this sort of thing is nothing new for the comptesse. Indeed, such imagery almost defines the work of this loathsome, inane Antoinette.

What's also depressing has been the level of misogyny emanating from liberal quarters attacking Hillary:

...Jesse Jackson Jr., ramped up the misogyny, unforgivably mocking Hillary's tears (video)... Then Barry the Magnificent himself disparaged Hillary's emotions...

Obama's foreign policy advisor Gen. Merrill McPeak, who later apologized, clobbered Hillary with an ugly smear saying, Obama "doesn’t go on television and have crying fits; he isn’t discovering his voice at the age of 60." Aren't these acts an anathema to Change We Can Believe In?

Unfortunately, you find sexually-twisted bashing in the form of f*ggot, b*tch, d*ke, sissy, and wussy (derivative of the "p" word) in the wingnutsphere and at A-list blogs.

Misogyny in any form is destructive and it has been infused into our body politic, affecting the attitudes of the electorate.

Shame on conservatives, who have used it as a political weapon, which, perhaps latent or less prevasive, has now reached full-blown usage in the Left blogosphere.

Shame on us all for giving misogyny a pass whether exploited by men or women directed at women or men.