Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sexism In The City

Several months ago, while I was but a Prince, there was one of the sporadic bits of selective outrage up and down the Cheddarsphere. During this flare-up, I received an email from James Wigderson, regarding Whallah!, and his perception that it was a sexist site. With his full permission, here is the last part of his email:

The irony is that the one blogger on the right that would most likely listen to your side is Jessica McBride and your side has done everything it can to attack her.

Finally, I know some on the Left have not been too happy with my speculation whether Jessica's gender has something to do with the violence and relentless nessof the attacks on her. But does it bother you at all that no other blogger has gotten this sort of treatment? If you want to set up a Peter DiGuadio watch, or a Pat McIlheran watch, a Brian Fraley watch, or even a watch on me (I wish you would so I could get more traffic), why haven't you? Or is it just more fun trying to bully a woman around?
I respect Mr. Wigderson, and took the time to mull over his letter, and gave it serious consideration. I also consulted with my colleagues at Whallah! and we agreed to expand this site to cover all of the local right wing media. Giving the lack of postings by McBride in recent weeks, I am glad we did.

However, we did not expand our focus out of fear of being sexist. As I have said before, I don't care what the gender, race, age or any other factor of the person who says or writes something foolish or reprehensible. I go after the message, not the messenger.

I did respond to Mr. Wigderson, and pointed out that, at that time, there were some basic reasons for the focus being on McBride. One was that she was a very prolific writer, and was always supplying us with material. I also pointed out the frustration people felt when she wouldn't let comments through on her site. I expanded on one more thought:

...McBride tends to be a little more offensive in her posts, as she was when she was on the radio. Not due to gender, but due to overgeneralizations, excessive hyperbole, and meanness. Maybe she is trying too hard due to the gender inequalities and feels she had to be this way due to being a woman in a field predominately inhabited by men (talk radio and blogging, not reporting or teaching, obviously). I don't know. You are her friend and may have better insight.
I do believe I was close, but not quite there, on this last point. I no longer feel that McBride's excessiveness was due to gender inequalities in the field, but in that political persuasion.

I base this thought on a few things. One is that there are many female bloggers and pundits that also go overboard with their vitriol and high levels of inappropriate commenting. National figures include Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin. There are also more than a few local female conservative bloggers and commenters that, to me, go over the deep end of any given subject, too easily, too often and too far. I don't see this as often on the left side. It happens, but not as much.

I also feel that conservative women may, consciously or subconsciously, feel the need to go to these extremes because of the way conservative men act towards women. We have examples of sexism by many of the conservative bloggers and pundits. For example, from Sykes we have this and this one from Texas Hold'em. There is Harris wanting to control his women. And from Fischer, we have an couple of posts objectifying women here and here, and a this comment from Fischer as well:
No bottle of beer is worth $400, unless opened by and poured by and served
to me by a scantily clad Mariah Carey.

Kay from Blue Racine also has an older post showing that even the conservative Christians have concerns about the conservative women on conservative Fox News.

And let us not forget the conservatively sexist T-shirt.

When a person is objectified on such a severe and consistent basis, and would probably be ignored by their own group if they weren't caustic enough, it is understandable, but pitiable, that they feel that they have to go to such extremes.

I am not implying that the left side of the Cheddarsphere is completely without fault and I fully acknowledge that there are some liberal bloggers that have issues with women as well. But it does defintitely seem to be more of a pattern of the right.

5 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. This has been something on my mind for a while. I decided to write this now, due to the increasing amount of blatantly sexist postings.

    Furthermore, a lot of these sexist posts are attacking Hillary Clinton, and while I am not necessarily advocating for or against her, to call her these various names during her campaign show the baseness, and fear, the right has for strong women.

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  3. And for future reference, Cathy, please do not use that word here. I know you're referring to the shirt, but we don't need to go to the basement level with the righties.

    Thank you for your understanding.

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  4. Capper, I am so embarassed. That was truthfully a typo. I have corrected it in this post. Could you please delete the original?

    Thank you.

    Cathy


    Excellent post. Right on with the sexism points. The right would attack any liberal making those remarks. Imagine a Condolezza Rice t-shirt with the Hillary Country Music reference?

    Just curious, what promted this response today since I looked at McBrides used to be blog and she didn't post anything last knight my King.

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  5. Done and done. Thank you Cathy.

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