Tag: misogyny

Angela and Hillary, Sitting in a Tree

Normally, I say “look beyond the personalities; look at the issues,” but given Trump’s instinctual style, this newly invented feud with Germany looks an awful lot like an attempt to go after Angela Merkel—an experienced female political centrist with a global outlook who sometimes wears a familiar-looking blue pantsuit. I think there’s some misogynist transferrence going on, and I don’t think it’s mine.

Would not be surprised if Trump starts saying “crooked Germany” out of nostalgia.

By the way, you’ve probably missed this (well done, you), but the idea that Hillary and Angela are lesbian lovers running a sinister liberal conspiracy has been much explored by both Breitbart and Russian propaganda mills (explicit propaganda, not state-run news) over the last few years, so I’m guessing that will turn up again, too. Because women can’t be friends, or admire each other, apparently. Women and men can’t be friends, but also women can’t be friends. Too catty. Lock them in towers is what I say.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing

Maria says: For reals. He’s got a beef with women in power. Let’s not forget his bizarre reception of Merkel after his inauguration. Nevermind that she’s held her tongue about him for four months. He’s made it clear that our U.S. allies are his enemies.

Rebecca says: Jesus Howard Christ. The same Breitbart that claimed Colbert was being homophobic? You don’t get to have it both ways.

Rosi says: Yep, and powerful women are always lesbians… *eye roll*

Maria: I’d tap that.

Romie: Yeah, it is kind of a lovely idea. I hate Breitbart both for sexualizing something that’s not sexual, AND for assuming I’d be upset by such a couple, when holy cow. I dream of being an Angela Merkel in a romantic relationship with a Hillary Clinton.

Jeff says: Angela Merkel earned a doctorate in physical chemistry, one of the most difficult subjects to understand. She’s brilliant, and insecure men sadly often have a problem with brilliant women.


Women on Women

Something I still run into, which takes me by surprise every time, is the “women hate each other” myth. The “you get women talking about other women and they’re vicious” cliche. This sage observation can come from a man or a woman, usually in a moment of insecurity that causes them to wall up with platitudes. It’s a bizarre thing to say.

Men are not routinely accused of being man-hating and in-fighting, even during exclusively masculine wars, political debates, and hostile takeovers. We have large and well-televised sporting contests in which men seek to dominate other men, through which other men live vicariously (sometimes wagering money, sometimes rioting), and this is seen as a celebration of men and possibly male fraternity. In contrast, a woman says she doesn’t like another woman’s makeup, bitches must hate each other.

It goes back to what your defaults are. Is somebody a person, or a woman? There’s no such thing as men. (This is presumably what makes trans and genderqueer identities threatening. Here is somebody who might be part woman and part default person, which is impossible.)

Since I fall into the woman camp, I am more likely to be asked what I think of other women (en masse, globally, all billions of them) than “what do you think of humanity,” even though the latter is one of the basic philosophical inquiries. And although I could say something like “I love people” or “I hate people,” and have it interpreted as a shallow description of my own optimism or pessimism, “I love women” or “I hate women” would be freighted by the listener with much greater seriousness.

These are not, however, things I say, because I’m savvy, and also longwinded.

Fivethirtyeight on Election Media

This fivethirtyeight piece came out a couple days ago, and I’ve re-read it several times. It’s the best analysis I’ve seen of journalistic miscalculations (including fivethirtyeight’s own) leading up to the election, which is valuable both for repairing the problems AND as the first draft of history. I like it because it starts by looking at what happened (and what can be proved to have happened), and then draws conclusions, instead of starting with a grand theory and finding pieces to fit. As a bonus, it fits my memory of how things unfolded pretty closely. Really looking forward to the rest of this series.

Angela says: This is good, and I know this is the first in a series, but am a little piqued that he doesn’t address misogyny.

Romie: There was a piece on that today by another fivethirtyeight writer, but I wasn’t super satisfied with it because it spends a lot of time on implicit bias as measured by the IAT, which is a test I’m pretty dubious about. It’s not entirely clear what it’s measuring, because for instance politically active people in marginalized communities tend to get a higher bias score about their own community…which indicates it might be a better measure of awareness of bias than likelihood of biased behavior. It also suffers from psych’s general replicaton crisis.

Angela: Thank you!! …Still bugged. It belongs in the larger discussion with racism. But there I go with my identity politics.

Romie: Oh I’d say it was unquestionably a factor, iust a hard one to measure. I mean, one only has to look at the splits between women’s and men’s votes, and in the polls/approval ratings afterward, to know women and men had dramatically different reactions to the candidates.

Angela: Also misogyny lurking in women, especially white women, is a big problem. Hard to flush out and autopsy, but totally there. I’m disappointed in fivethirtyeight not explicitly making it part of the larger analysis of the reporting because it is a bias they have been accused of, too.

Romie: There was something interesting Michael Lewis said, as part of a much longer interview/profile in the Financial Times: “People think what a president looks like is basically a tall guy, mainly a white guy; there is a kind of instinct — this isn’t even sexism — it’s more the way the mind works. [She had] a bad body for running for president. It would have helped if she were six inches taller. It would have really helped if she had been a guy. Then she would have matched.”

I’m more likely to call that sexism, or anti-female bias, but I also get what he’s saying and think it’s an interesting way to frame the issue: you don’t think this is why you distrust her, but some of it is that she’s in the “wrong” body and it’s suspicious.

Angela: Yes, exactly! This reminds me of Bill Maher’s rant about the depiction of female, pantsuited leaders in dystopian movies. We need to show people more non-standard issue straight white male-shaped leaders.