Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Gimme That Old Time Feminsim

Do you remember the Clinton political rally when someone yelled: "Iron my shirt!" How much outrage did that engender? More like chuckles.

What would've happened if someone shouted: "Shine my shoes" to Barack Obama?

John McCain was asked: "How are we going to beat that bitch?" He replied: "Good question."

Indeed. Waddya think of: "How are we going to beat that black bastard?"

These observations aren't mine. Find them here, in a perfect essay by Robin Morgan.

The Morgan article made me think about the righteous and justified broohaha over racial slurs directed at Tiger Woods. A radio DJ suggested Woods be lynched. That cost her a chunk of change, nearly her job, and generated lots of press.

The magazine Golfweek reported the event and (you have to wonder just what they're thinking sometimes?) decided to put a noose on the cover of their magazine, sort of to really drive home the whole Ku Klux Klan lynching atmosphere. Like a fine wine with dinner.

The editor got fired. Big Mess. Big Press. Outrage.

And totally justified. Hooray for outrage. Overt racism on cover of national magazine. Heads fall!! As they should

But reading Morgan's article, I can't wonder why those guys at Golfweek and beyond aren't up in arms over this:


Amy the Mom said...

I read the article last week, and I was left with the same questions.

If you haven't yet seen it, the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue is much more risque than the Hustler cover you display.

Lisa Milton said...

And I heard about a ref today that was barred from boys' basketball games because she was exercising authority over men at the religious school.

I don't even know where to begin with that one...

I need to go ponder for awhile.

Laura said...

It's about Power. Racism makes a victim of those it puts down, diminishes them.

On the Hustler magazine covers and the like, the women are complicit, don't see themselves as victims. Sexuality has been about Power and control for so long that some women see it as a means of possessing power, of gaining control. They do not see themselves as victims. It's difficult to imagine a victim of overt racism on the cover of a magazine benefiting in some way from it -- seeing it as a means of gaining some power or control. But overt sexism, objectifying women, IS seen as a means to these things, and there are plenty of women eager to be exploited this way in exchange for what they see it yields.

In her article, Robin Morgan writes "Harriet Tubman ... when asked how she managed to save hundreds of enslaved African Americans via the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, replied bitterly, 'I could have saved thousands—if only I’d been able to convince them they were slaves.'

Women aren't convinced they are victims of sexism.

Discuss. :/

Anonymous said...


Thank you for posting the link to this article, which I've no time to read now - heading off to class - but will certainly read later.

Most men I meet I measure against the ultimate barometer: "Would it I trust this man with my daughter? With any other young girl?"

And the most circumspect, the ones that fail are invariably those who drool sexism from every breathing pore.

There is one such at work, preys on every young, lovely teacher, regals her in private discussions with talk of sexual prowess, asks about her sexual preferences, gauges her degree of experimentation, posts sexist jokes on the school's computer program. It's so common knowledge, and yet nothing is done. He is married with a child.

A gay friend at work finds him just as appaling. Of course, oppression cannot be contained. When someone is victimized, another feels the oppression. My professor used to refer to it as "intelocking systems of oppression."

I wish I had the confidence, the knowledge in my teens, in my twenties, and even on, into my thirties to take action, to speak up, to flip someone the bird. Now, as a teacher, as a mother, I can only speak in my little corner of the world against these overwhelming forces, tell girls their value lies in their minds, their hearts, the strength and health of their bodies, that they are more than individual parts, far more than what any man can reduce them to.

Sadly, many, especially when young, foolishly buy in. But that power, I tell tem, is build on dangerously shifting sands.

I love your blog, your posts, your ideas.

Thanks for everything, Mary.

Midwest said...

Well, the women make money from objectifying themselves. Probably the ONLY way they make more than men.

I totally agree that people can make sexist comments and it's accepted but racist comments are reviled.

Melissa said...

It makes me think of the report I heard the other morning on Morning Edition about the way the abolitionist movement and the women's suffrage movement were linked together at the beginning... you know the rest of the story.

Professor J said...

Isn't it the truth? Misogyny is still acceptable. How are we going to beat the bitch, indeed.

I am so glad Morgan is still out there making noise. And I'm glad you're making some, yourself.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm totally struck by Laura's comment.

"Women aren't convinced they are victims of sexism.

Sojourner said...

WOW! Where can I put this rage to do the most good with it?! "How are we gonna beat this bitch?" ???!!! Holy Cow! And "iron my shirt" ??!! Why didn't the women in those crowds up and riot?!! Are we still really that oppressed? I guess I didn't see it coming.

Anonymous said...

from Another Mary,

Thank you, Mary, for the Robin Morgan article - so much truth!

Hillary voted for the war - and if she would have been one of the brave voices (like P. Wellstone) who said NO! to Bush and his war, I would have no doubts about her.

I want my side to win - this election is tying me up in knots sometimes, it's exciting but it goes deep for some of us - these candidates, Barrack and Hillary, touch a part of us that could feel freed from so much - if one of them wins.

Cheri said...

I have three daughters, so I am perpetually chilled to the third power by the unchecked sexism in our culture. And we know all too well that it doesn't just hurt women . . .

Minnesota Matron said...

Laura: your comment resonates so much. Most women, especially young women, don't see themselves as 'victims' or as vulnerable to any social ills. If we're in the postmodern, post-structuralist era, then it seems that often extends to other 'isms' like feminism. There's also a current sense of individual power, of utter uniqueness, that makes young people unable to see themselves as part of larger trends, issues, social structures.

I remember being 25 and understanding that the same cultural current that made a man offer to pump my gas or open a door rendered this same man more valuable at work or less capable with the laundry and iron.


And thanks to everyone for the nice words about the blog. I'm enjoying the process and community.

Nora Bee said...

Thanks for the link to that great essay. It is amazing what Hillary Clinton has accomplished, in the face of so much blatant, and still more hidden, sexism. The world is lucky to have her, for sure.

Kimberly said...

Whew. Good issue. I'm on the fly now, so I'll have to read Morgan's article later. With two daughters, I worry a lot about this. Women are objectified, harassed all the time and it seems to be totally accepted for the most part. It sickens and saddens me.

Mike Golch said...

I kinda wonder if the dummies that control the "news" media are going out of their way to try to incite raceism for profits sake.Do not get me wrong My Father God rest his sole taught me a valeable lesson when I was still a child so long ago(I turned 56 this year)When Dad needed money for medications for 2 of his children none ot the White guys would help him the Black gentilmen he worked did.They helped a white man because he helped them when they needed it.This is the way things ought to be.not as they are.That is what The reverned Dr.King was talking about that is what the kennendy's believed in and that is why they were murdered.

Optimist said...

MM- great post as usual. Ms. Morgan really speaks to me as well.
Interesting that so many women don't realize how pervasive sexism really is. I find I need to "keep up" by reading http://feministing.com/
and Twisty at

Enjoy Ladies!

xoxo Bon

Karen said...

This is why I ended up voting for Clinton in the primaries--I can't STAND this crap! Where is the outrage?

supertiff said...

i wrote a (rather lengthy, sorry) response to the whole 'iron my shirt' incident, and to some other hillary 'jokes' that were going around the internet that week, and if anyone here is surprised that we still face this much blatant sexism (although, i'm sure you're not surprised), you should check out some of the comments that were left.

just really unbelievable disgusting stuff.