Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yes, let's stop kidding ourselves (Ava and C.I.)

"It is time to stop kidding ourselves. This wasn't a breakthrough year for American women in politics. It was a brutal one." That's some bold faced truth from Marie Cocco's "No Breakthrough for Women Politicians" (Washington Post Writers Group). We've heard the lies, we've heard the sop, Cocco brings you the truth and it isn't pretty.

Women were scapegoated, bullied and blamed throughout 2008 and the best our feminist 'leaders' could do was to call out MSNBC. They ignored Bill Moyers' non-stop crap. They ignored the Roberts Parry and Scheer and all the other 'progressive'ly aged 'boys.'

We don't mean that Gloria, Robin, Kim and all the rest ignored these men just when Sarah Palin was running for vice president, we mean that they refused to call these men out when the primary campaign was ongoing and Hillary was running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

They refused to call out the men doing the damage.

There are a number of new feminist groups that have sprung up this year and thank goodness, for that. Too many of the 'old girls' have been co-opted and can no longer speak up when women are under attack.

While we applaud the work of these new, emerging groups, we disagree partially with one point a number of them make: Women's struggle is a narrative we need to make people aware of.

We agree that the average person has very little idea of what women have had to struggle against and what rights they've won. But that's in the general population. Where we disagree is with the idea that the media is unaware of the struggle women's rights have been.

So that we're not a useless Walrus (goog goog g'joob) like Robin Morgan, let's put a name on the problem: Bill Moyers.

Bill Moyers damn well knows the basics of the struggle for equality women have had to fight. He knows it and he chose to ignore it. But it you go to the archives Bill Moyers Journal, you'll see what we pointed to throughout the Democratic Party primaries: Week after week, Billy was saying it was a historic race because . . . a "Black" man was running. It was never time to turn a segment over to what it meant that a woman -- of any color -- was running, but week after week, he made it all about a bi-racial man passing for "Black" running for his party's presidential nomination. That was 'historic.'

That's only one example. There are many more. And, no, (Democratic) Women's Media Center did not call Bill Moyers out. They never publicly objected.

They were and are useless.

They've tried to put a cherry on top of the big pile crap that was 2008 while trying to get you to dig in with spoons.

Their most recent piece is nonsense by Celeste Watkins-Hayes' "What Obama Really Means for Black America and Beyond." Someone spike the Geritol and wake WMC up to the fact that it's called "Women's." Point? It's not a general interest site.

There's a place for an article entitled "What Obama Really Means For Black American Women and Beyond." No, that isn't what Watkins-Hayes offers. Her scope is not feminist and her opening manages to insult freely: "The global celebration of President-elect Barack Obama's victory, punctuated by the teary faces of civil rights activists such as John Lewis, represents a historic moment that almost is beyond words." Yes, Watkins-Hayes, you are the CENTER OF THE EARTH. Yes, the WHOLE WORLD WANTS TO FOLLOW YOU.

What a load of crap. People starving around the world and living their lives are not caught up in some hysteria over a US election anymore than any but the frou-frou set in America got caught up ("Let's stay up and watch!") in Charles and Di's wedding back in the 80s. Grow the hell up and lose the sense of entitlement and the notion that nothing in the world is ever more important than what the US does at any given moment. Believe it or not, there are countries where the majority of the people never obsess or attempt to emulate what the US does. (And if certain pseudo-science projections released at the end of last week are true, that number will only continue to grow.)

At a time when WMC should be exploring what the elections meant for women, they're instead allowing US exceptionalism to 'grace' their site via a bad, bad article. The topic is beyond the scope of WMC; however, if it's going to be the scope address it seriously.

From Jonathan Martin's "Obama faces less pressure for diverse Cabinet" (Politico):

But now that we have a black Branch Rickey in Barack Obama, what does that mean for the rest of the team? Put in political terms, does our first African-American president, elected with a rainbow coalition, have more of an imperative to appoint an administration that includes minorities in high-ranking positions?

Not really, is the answer supplied by a group of prominent African-Americans. Having a team of varied faces is preferable and in keeping with Obama's pledge to represent all Americans -- but these veteran black politicians and public officials say the president-elect should tap into the best talent available without taking a head-counting approach, in which slots are determined by demographics and symbolism trumps substance.

If WMC and Celeste Watkins-Hayes want to go beyond WMC's scope and tackle meaning, there it is. Bi-racial Barack is under no pressure to appoint African-Americans to the cabinet which explains why only one, Eric Holder Jr., has been mentioned thus far.

What a load of crap and by that 'thinking,' had Hillary become president this year, she'd 'need' to appoint an all-male cabinet? Barack seems itching to do nearly that.

Lisa Lerer's "Will men dominate Obama's Cabinet?" (Politico) notes that and quotes NOW's Kim Gandy declaring, "There's definitely been a reaction to the few groups that have been named so far. I agree with those who are concerned that it would have been nice to see more women." Oh, are you concerned, Kimmy? All that work for Barack and all she got was a sore back. You violated tax law to use NOW (and not NOW PAC) to attack Sarah Palin and drum up support for Barack. And you made clear that it wasn't about women or equality, it was about you getting cozy in the halls of power. From Cocco's column:

Those who watched the media's sexist hazing of both Clinton and Palin often rationalize this treatment as the result of these two candidates' particular personalities and the legitimacy -- or presumed illegitimacy -- of their campaigns. But Barbara Lee, whose Boston-based family foundation has conducted extensive research of gubernatorial races involving women, routinely identifies the same undercurrents in state campaigns. Voters demand more experience of a woman candidate, and judge her competence separately from whether she is sufficiently "likable." Male candidates typically must clear only the competence bar to be judged -- as Obama indelicately put it during a primary debate -- "likable enough."

And you can add that there's not much reason anyone has to rationalize anything. Gloria, Kim and Robin made it very clear that Sarah Palin could be ripped apart and that it should be considered 'feminist' to rip Palin apart.

In reality all they did was disgrace themselves, damage their legacies and make it so that it's all the harder for them to raise money (and money's needed badly). WMC elected to post Robin's bitchy 'column' where she attacked a former NOW chapter president and a former editor of Ms. magazine. 2008 told you that the so-called 'sisterhood' died for leadership a long, long time ago.

And we'll be living with the damage that those 'leaders' inflicted on ALL women.

Watch Seth Meyers solo-host Weekend Update and grasp how much hatred is being heaped on women. Yes, he still manages to work in a Sarah Palin 'joke' each week, but he manages so, so much more. Saturday's misogyny also included Bill Clinton (Darrell Hammond) insisting to Seth, "If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, the last thing I want to do is screw Hillary." Later Seth would do 'jokes' about Angelina Jolie's breasts. Can we do jokes about the fact that the sides of Seth's mouth are so puffed out even in repose that it looks like he's forever chowing down on a cock? Or is he the only one allowed to do Deep Throat 'jokes'? (Which, for the record, in 2008, he did.)

We think about that and we think about a college junior this week who asked us where the women were? In films, where are the women? When she was in high school, she declared in a tone letting us know she thought that was ages ago, she could rent a Meg Ryan comedy, a Julia Roberts comedy, a Sandra Bullock comedy, a Kate Hudson comedy, "and much more." But she'd gone to rent videos last week and noticed for the first time that there are no such movies. Not just no movies with Meg, Julia, Sandra, Kate, etc., but no movies where women are the leads or equals in comedy.

Those movies vanished. And, hint, a woman doing porn (in a predominately male cast) is not the equivalent of You've Got Mail. Nor is a woman getting "knocked up," the equivalent of Drew Barrymore in a romantic comedy.

These days women are supposed to be thrilled that Gwyneth Paltrow managed to keep her clothes on and came off semi-intelligent in Iron Man where she basically plays the Thelma Richards' role from All About Eve -- with less wit.

There are numerous problems effecting women and the right to dream and hear their stories told is among them. There was nothing "historic" for women this year . . . unless you factor in the sudden popularity of abuse.

Pretending otherwise only adds to the culture of misogyny.
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