Undead sexist cliche: Everybody does it (OR) it’s okay to do it to conservatives

So a couple of hours back, a friend of mine texted me, apparently forgetting I’m not on Pacific time. And then someone else who got the text responded with Reply All and then TYG woke up too which brought me completely awake … and I still am (I keep my phone on because it’s the most convenient alarm clock I have. I suppose this was inevitable).
When I started checking some blogs preparatory to actual work (sometimes it takes me a while to rev up at this hour) I discovered that Hustler took a shot at conservative SE Cupp by photoshopping a picture of her giving oral sex and suggesting that since Cupp favors defunding Planned Parenthood, that must be her preferred contraception method.
Feminists Lindsay Beyerstein and Pandagon have ripped into Hustler for the sexism here, as did other feminist groups. This did not, however, stop Slate managing editor Rachael Larimore from announcing that the Hustler photo proves “the left is fine with misogyny.” Her evidence being that a)at a union rally in South Carolina, people were bashing a piñata with Nikki Haley’s face on it and b)Hustler ran the photo of Cupp; and c)”the left” hasn’t spoken up due to the targets being conservatives.
On the first point … maybe, though this doesn’t sound like anything that wouldn’t have been done with a male governor (if you think whacking a female piñata puts a different tone on it, feel free to point this out in comments).
On the second, at what point did Larry Flynt, Hustler publisher become a leftist? Outside of championing free speech when the First Amendment protects him, I’m not sure I’ve heard of anything. Certainly he’s no feminist.
On point c, yes, some people on the left are fine with it (just check some of the comments at LGM, though the blog itself is not fine with it). But the links above show “the left” is not giving Flynt a pass. Heck, Larimore admits Flynt’s getting blowback from feminists, but concludes it won’t have a “long-term effect” because we’re not all rallying around Cupp, and because NOW is still criticizing Limbaugh’s remarks about Sandra Fluke (if that issue is now passe, what sort of long-term effect does Larimore want?).
I agree the response to Flynt won’t have a long-term effect but that’s not because feminists aren’t criticizing him enough (by that standard, of course, it’s always possible to prove there’s not “enough” criticism), it’s because patriarchy is so deeply embedded in our society. And along with that comes this kind of sexism.
Sexism which is, I note, routinely enabled by the right. As Digby notes, feminists (though regrettably not all feminists) do stick up for conservative women who get hit by this shit, but the right wing is noticeably silent on liberal women. Several feminist bloggers spoke up against sexist attacks on Sarah Palin (though some joined in on the attacks); Palin, on the other hand, dismissed Hilary Clinton’s complaints about sexism as weak and whining (though Palin never objected when Repubs squealed sexism on her own behalf).
No, the two sides are not equal on this.
Regardless of that, it is not okay to take gender-based shots at a woman because she’s on the other side of the issues (non-sexist shots, fire away!). It’s bad because it legitimizes such attacks against any woman; it’s bad because no woman should be on the receiving end, regardless of her politics. Sexism is not an acceptable political attack for anyone to use on anyone. As some of the LGM commenters pointed out, that may give the right an advantage (they’re not going to pull back if someone screams “sexist”) but that’s irrelevant.
Some things matter more than winning the argument.


Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

7 responses to “Undead sexist cliche: Everybody does it (OR) it’s okay to do it to conservatives

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