Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Blatant Antifeminism (Woman-hating) in White Male-Dominated Political Zones

[image of Cath Elliott is from here]

From the Guardian.co.uk:

The recent vitriolic attacks on Harriet Harman and Hillary Clinton have a clear message: women cannot be trusted to run the show

The following link was sent to me by Christina: thanks again!!


A portion of Cath Elliott's article,
The 2009 summer of hate
, follows.
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 15 August 2009 12.00 BST

For anyone who thought the backlash against feminism was predicated on nothing more than the fevered imaginings of bitter, man-hating old harridans, the past few weeks must have been quite an eye-opener. From the mainstream media's desperate attempts to convince its audience that feminists don't even exist, to calls for Harriet Harman and Hillary Clinton to shut the fuck up and stop being uppity, the attack on both feminism and feminists this summer has been relentless.

While the Victorians may have thought children should be seen and not heard, it's clear that many in our so-called modern and progressive 21st-century western society would much prefer it if women would slink off to the nursery, or better still the attic, to be called on to speak only when they're prepared to toe the line. The existence in our national parliaments of female politicians may be held up by some as evidence that the last great bastions of male privilege have been breached and gender equality accomplished. But let any one of those stateswomen talk out of turn and she'll be slapped back down again faster than you can say "female window dressing".

This antipathy to women in public office is nothing new of course: Susan Faludi and others have been documenting it since the late 1980s and early 90s. And, experienced public figures as they are, I'm sure both Harman and Clinton are now used to finding themselves on the receiving end of misogynists' ire. So the recent onslaught won't have held any great surprises for them, or indeed for any feminist who's been around for a while: well, apart from the levels of vitriol now being employed, and the ramping up of the hateful rhetoric such successful women are now expected to endure. Rod Liddle's pathetic hissy fit and Dana Milbank's sketch about Obama's beer summit, where he suggested Clinton should drink "Mad Bitch" beer, have been the tip of the iceberg in a summer that has seen both women subjected to the most execrable abuse.

Laurie Penny has expressed the endearingly naive view that Harman should simply take some tips from the younger generation about her presentation and oratory style to avoid invoking the wrath of white men everywhere. But the only lesson to be learned from the demonisation of the most powerful woman in British politics is that no matter how she tries to tell it and no matter what the message is, an outspoken feminist-identified woman will be shot down in flames before the words have left her mouth. Harman could have been talking about the indisputable cuteness of small fluffy kittens and someone, somewhere (although probably at the Daily Mail), would have found a reason to tear her apart.

For the rest, and for the above paragraphs with links in tact, go here.

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