At least one well-known online outlet on the right side of the political aisle is enabling rather than condemning the use of sexist rhetoric. That outlet is in fact attempting to demean the direct confrontation of the sexism and demean the calling out of its use against political candidates, even while Fox News’ Megyn Kelly respectful treatment of this topic legitimizes how wrong such attacks are and the courage required (and demonstrated by Krsytal Ball) to stand up to the attacks and the attackers, and Meg Whitman is calling out Jerry Brown.
Stopping the use of sexism against women in general but political candidates in this particular case has nothing to do with a person’s political ideology. It has to do with being reasonable and being human and being a positive example. It has to do with not raising our sons to be men who will humiliate women over their gender just because they think they can (and then double-down on the sexism when women stand up to it). And it has to do with not raising our daughters to think that they must accept this kind of bullying. With all the news of bullying out right now, you’d really think that people would finally get it.
Using language that equals a put-down of a political candidate because it relies on voters to see him or her as a gendered stereotype like “whore” is sexist because it relies on the sex as a tool for putting them down. And no, it doesn’t work the same way with men – men are then considered to be players and the stereotype of that is rewarded (just ask U.S. Senator Scott Brown who has said repeatedly that his full nude spread in a national magazine helped his political career and pundits all along the spectrum have agree that there is a double standard).
We combat this by 1) confronting it exactly as Krystal Ball has and 2) calling it out no matter who is the object of the attack. The Name It. Change It. effort is focused on just that.
I left a comment, which you can see below, at the post that prompted me to write about this topic and is just one example of how some conservatives (the same ones who have no problem with Rich Iott’s interest in dressing up as a Waffen soldier) really want to preserve sexism as a way to keep women like Krsytal Ball and Meg Whitman from getting where they want to go. They still may not get there – but they deserve to be judged by what matters, not by what gender stereotypes opponents hope we’ll apply to them.
Please. Use your voice and do the same. The fear these folks have of women being in places of power is itself frightening and sad.
Nice try at trying to shame women from standing up for themselves – something Meg Whitman very appropriately did just last night against Jerry Brown and his campaign’s use of the word “whore.” But this tactic doesn’t work anymore – it doesn’t work on women who make a difference in the world or who entire politics. It doesn’t make a difference to the voters who are sick of this kind of minimizing which allows those of you have a limited vocabulary and lack of skill at critiquing people on policy. Even Krystal Ball’s GOP opponent demanded that the photos be taken down – perhaps he’s the father of girls whom he hopes will follow him into a happy life where they enjoy being with their spouse at a holiday event AND they hope to run for office. Those things are not mutually exclusive and your attempt to make them that way lacks influence over the people who know what really matters.