You Can’t Complain About Sexism If You Participate In It

One thing that has bothered me throughout this election has been anti-Hillary people referring to Hillary Clinton as “Mrs. Bill”. It was clearly meant to demean her accomplishments and very reminiscent of the Matthews-esque nonsense that Hillary only got where she did because of Monica. (That particularly bothers me because I think Hillary will be much better than Bill was and has done a lot on her own.) When I see commenters on pro-Hillary blogs refer to Andrea Mitchell as “Mrs. Alan Greenspan” or “Mrs. Greenspan”, I get annoyed as well. Not because I like or agree with her, but because I think she has done enough on her own to at least warrant a little respect. And don’t even get me started on those who spell her last name with a “B”. That’s uncalled for and sexist, no matter how wrong she may be.

What bothers me even more are the comments about the tabloid scandals about Michelle Obama and references to her, much along the lines of the smears against Hillary in the 1990s. I don’t know much about Michelle Obama, but from what I do know, she’s a smart, strong and accomplished woman. I may not agree with her or her husband, but she should not be subjected to similar treatment that Hillary has received.

I guess I’m writing this because it bothers me that some of the people I’ve seen complain about the sexist treatment Hillary has received are now doing it themselves. Sexism is sexism, not matter who the target is.

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9 Responses to You Can’t Complain About Sexism If You Participate In It

  1. Janis says:

    I don’t know if I’d put it that way quite — we all participate in sexism, and this sounds a little like “we have no right to complain about global warming if we drive cars.” Everyone drives cars; we can’t avoid it. That’s the problem, actually.

    What we need to do if we’re complaining about global warming is be vigilant about taking advantage of any and all opportunities by which we can lower our carbon load.

    Similarly, I’d say that you can’t criticize sexism unless you are willing to stamp it out in yourself where you find it. A minor nitpick, though.

    I also should say that I’m seeing some criticizm of Obama and Wright that is maknig me uncomfortable racially, as a white woman supporting Hillary. Black liberation theology is a fairly complicated thing, and while racism isn’t wnat it once was, it’s definitely there and definitely a problem. Obama’s campaign has gone WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too far in criticizing two such outstanding advocates for the ZZ community as racists because theya re white and have the temerity to run a hard campaign against a black man — but I am seeing some people going waaaaay to the other side here, saying that racism is all but dead and gone. It’s not.

    Obama’s campaign cried wolf on racism — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a wolf out there. It just wasn’t where they were pointing.

    I’m just a little uncomfortable with the tone of the pile-on I’m seeing from some HRC supporters. At the end of the day, the point isn’t whether black people are justified in the occasional upwelling of bitterness, but whether or not Obama is a qualified candidate. He’s not. Period. That’s where it begins and ends.

  2. Janis says:

    BTW, I find my typo of “ZZ community” instead of “AA community” endlessly amusing for some reason. Perhaps because it makes me think of ZZ Top.

  3. Gilbert Martinez says:

    I don’t know, Janis. It seems to me like some are not just driving cars, but going out and buying Hummers. Just because there is a lot of sexism doesn’t make it OK to jump on in if it’s convenient for what we want to accomplish. Institutionalized sexism will take a long time to minimize, but using sexism as a weapon to achieve ends makes that harder. And some of the stuff I see is almost identical to what I see these same people complaining about when it pertains to Hillary. Fortunately, it’s generally limited.

    Race in this country is so complex. I’ve experienced racism and discrimination and wanted to write about the topic generally, but it takes more time than I have right now. Suffice it to say that one of Obama’s most disappointing features is that in his attempts to run a “post-racial” campaign, he prevented any serious discussion from happening.

  4. Janis says:

    That’s what I was saying, though — it’s not just being sexist that’s the problem. We all have a tinge of that; it’s not being willing to root it out, gleefully going right ahead with it, that’s the problem.

  5. kathy s says:

    When Hillary makes commitment to “women’s issues” reminds me of the old story about the man who loved humanity—it was just people he couldn’t stand. To Hillary, women are political “sisters” first and people second. She has crisscrossed the globe talking about empowering this sisterhood and setting women free, but at every stop she advances a liberal agenda that reduces women to yet another interest group seeking yet another government handout. By reducing womanhood to a political platform, Hillary creates the ultimate trap for those who choose to follow her: the trap of groupthink and identity politics. For being a truly liberated woman means being your own person—not a victim whining for special privileges or a mindless soldier of anyone’s political agenda, liberal or conservative. When the Hillarys of the world talk about sisterhood, women who want real equality and power should Just Say No. SEXISM????? is that not what Hillary is using to achieve her goal???

  6. Janis says:

    She’s a POLITICIAN, for pete’s sake. Of course she’s going to think in terms of women’s POLITICAL identity. Just like an oncologist will concentrate on women’s MEDICAL issues.

    And excuse me if I fail to work up too much enthusiasm over your attitude that my thirst to see one of the thickest glass ceilings come down once and for all that I’m a whiny victim. Watch this “victim” vote for Hillary, and eat your damned heart out. It’s a damned funny definition of “victim” as “one who strikes out for her kind.”

    What do YOU call “being your own person?” I mean, aside from platitudes like “be confident” and “take no prisoners” and “live your life on your own terms” and all the rest of those pathetic marketing slogans that actually mean nothing. Could you bullet-point them for me?

    No thanks. you can keep that faux-feminist attitude of pretending we cna all become magically okay by walking down the street with a sassy attitude and a can-do facial expression. I want concrete results, things I can point to that make my life and the lives of other women better.

    You know, al those whiney victimy things like literacy for girls worldwide, abortion rights, equal pay, so I can pay my victim rent and buy my victim car as easily as any non-victim male can. So we can get victim-friendly legislation like the Family Victim’s Medical Leave Act, so we can victimfully take time off from our jobs as victim-whiners and go take care of families without getting fired.

    Groupthink, my ass. What you’ve offered in reply is doublespeak: that somehow victimhood is associated with getting rid of the ways in which the law victimizes us. You can keep that BS feminism for yourself. I’ll take the one with the lady president.

  7. Thank you Janis. I think that was brilliantly phrased.

    You just sent packing some right wing “intellectual” selling the modern version of it’s okay to keep women bare foot and pregnant because that’s the natutal order of things.

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  9. kathy says:

    It’s always so nice to let the ol’ hair down, do away with the cumbersome pretenses of a civilized society, and expose the raw, unapologetic sexist lurking in all of us.

    THE woman in question became a lawyer after some years as a community organizer, married a corporate lawyer and is the mother of two little girls, ages 9 and 6. Herself the daughter of a white American mother and a black African father — in this race-conscious country, she is considered black — she served as a state legislator for eight years, and became an inspirational voice for national unity.

    Be honest: Do you think this is the biography of someone who could be elected to the United States Senate? After less than one term there, do you believe she could be a viable candidate to head the most powerful nation on earth?

    If you answered no to either question, you’re not alone. Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House. This country is way down the list of countries electing women and, according to one study, it polarizes gender roles more than the average democracy.

    Be honest with yourself. Does anyone here think that gender is the disqualifying agent in this scenario, or motherhood? Or wouldn’t most voters be suspicious of handing the reins of power over to someone who had ten years or less in any elective public office? The argument that Republicans could make against any of the top three candidates in the Democratic race, and does so rather effectively.

    There are far more important issues at hand, shall I bullet point them for you, than “Sisterhood”. If we are to place this at the top of our decision making than talk to me about the african americans, hispanics, etc. ….equality.

    Just like the next person I work hard to achieve the nice car, beatuiful home, etc. That is being my own person.Don’t believe I’m ‘sassy’ or carry an attitude, but I do walk into a room with confidence, because I got up off the couch, and provided myself the things I wanted in my life. I just do not believe a women president has the ability to change a woman’s positioning in today ‘s society. There’s only one person who can change what car you drive, or where you live.

    I may vote for Hillary, especially after listening to Part 1 of her interview w/ O’Rielly, but it will be based on far more important issues than Sisterhood and what she can do “FOR ME” rather what she can do for our country as a whole, given the choices available.

    Maybe I’ll pack my bags tommorrow!