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Archive for May 2016

This morning I read the following headline from MSNBC: “Male voters debate if Hillary Enabled Bill Clinton.” Yes, ladies. A man–Tony Dokoupil of MSNBC–talked to a group of male voters in NC about whether Hillary enabled Bill Clinton’s past infidelity.

If you cannot already see why this is OUTRAGEOUSLY SEXIST and totally irrelevant, please allow me to help you along in your understanding. Please put aside whatever your feelings may be about Hillary Rodham Clinton, the candidate, and just think this through as a rational, intelligent, and decent human being.

First: Why are you asking MEN about a woman’s relationship troubles from 20 years ago? A bunch of random men from North Carolina are going to have some kind of sage-like wisdom about whether a person they do not know personally “enabled” the infidelities of a man they do not know personally? Are we really this stupid?

Second: Why are you asking ANYONE about a woman’s relationship troubles from 20 years ago? Really. Please think back to any stupid, mean or hurtful things you may have done 20 years ago. Now please imagine someone asking YOUR WIFE to defend herself about them today, and to assure people that she is not herself responsible. It is nonsensical and moronic.

Third: Why are you asking this question as if it is at all relevant to a woman’s ability to do a job–any job? We have already established through 200+ years of American history that men cheating on their wives are still capable of holding the office of the President. We have a rich and fabulous history of men who couldn’t keep their dicks dry inhabiting the Oval Office. But a woman whose husband cheated on HER? Yeah, we’re gonna need to really vet her suitability for the office.

Fourth: If MSNBC has determined that a couples’ marital issues are relevant to either spouse’s ability to perform a job, when why are we not asking this question of the previous Mrs. Joe Scarborough? If it is indeed relevant to whether one’s spouse can do a job, we must absolutely inquire as to whether Mr. Scarborough’s infidelities and his wife’s “enabling” of those infidelities at all impacts his ability to report on the marital problems of other people. Let us also involve Mr. John King and Ms. Dana Bash over at CNN. Tell us, poppets, what happened to break up your marriage? We must know so that we can determine appropriately whether you are qualified to conduct your professional lives.

If the media really wants to open this door, then I say let’s open it ALL THE WAY. Every man on that NC panel? We’re going to need to know your marital situation. Any troubles at home that might impact your judgment here today? Mika Brzezinski: are the rumors that your married self and Joe S bump uglies now and again true? If not, how can you assure us that they are not true? Can we ask if your husband engages in any behavior that would enable your desire for these trysts with your co-anchor? Does your husband cheat on you? We need to know so we can vet your suitability for the job. ┬áNo big deal.

While we are at it, let’s interview Ivana Trump and Marla Maples. Ladies, what on earth did you do to make your husband trade you in for a younger model? Did you enable this behavior in any way? Ivana, you have walked back claims that Donald Trump maritally raped you. Are you doing this to enable his behavior? And Melania: we need to vet your suitability for the First Lady of these United States. You are married to a man who has had two wives before you. Are you certain you will be the last Mrs. Trump? If you are certain, how are you certain? We need to know if you have the judgment in your marriage to make you successful in the White House.

All of these questions are ludicrous because they have absolutely no bearing on a person’s suitability for a job. Asking a woman to defend herself from her husband’s 20-year-past infidelity is total sexism. How do we know? Because you can always spot a sexist trope by the fact that no matter which way to look at it, the woman is at fault:

He cheated on her: Wow, she must not be taking care of things at home for him to go looking elsewhere. She can’t satisfy her man.

He cheated on her and she refused to believe it at first, and attacked the messenger: Wow, she’s so stupid.

Her cheated on her and she believed it right away: Wow, she must have known something was up to just show no trust like that.

He cheated on her and she didn’t leave him: Wow, she’s a stupid enabler.

He cheated on her and she left him: Wow, she did not think about her kids’ best interests.

He cheated on her and she forgave him: She’s so stupid. A stupid enabler. (Unless you are a conservative Christian politician’s wife, in which case staying and forgiving are signs that you are being Christ-like and a good person). No such dispensations for non-right wingers.

Do you get my point? There is no resolution in this scenario that does not put the responsibility for an unfaithful man right back onto the woman. It’s something we have always known about our society, but it is no less disturbing to now see it playing out on the national stage–with the bonus that MEN are debating it.

So whatever you think of Hillary Clinton, whatever your decision to vote or not vote for her, or your decision to like or not like her–just be aware of the sexist, unspoken tropes in our society that inform those decisions. So feel free to not like her or her policies, but if those decisions have anything to do in your mind with her husband’s infidelity twenty years ago? Ask yourself why, and then ask yourself to rise to a higher standard than old school sexism.






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