Misogyny and male chauvinism run deep in the roots of the modern Left.
By Rand Simberg
An evergreen guide to what the Left is doing or plans to do is to listen to what they accuse their political opponents of. Along those lines, incandescent in its projection, cynicism, and hypocrisy is the latest mantra emanating from the Democrats of the “Republican War On Women,” based on nothing more than some crude comments (since apologized for) by a talk-show host aimed at a Democrat feminist activist who thinks that the world owes her free (and expensive) contraception and, moreover, that it should be done in violation of the religious conscience of Catholics. Of course, they don’t want their demagoguery to be distracted by the annoying reality that their own misogyny and assault on women is much more virulent, and has been going on for much longer.
It should be shocking, by the conventional narrative, that the White House of a “liberal” president would be a hostile work environment for women, but it is not at all a surprise to anyone familiar with the history of the Democrats and the Left, going back at least to the 1960s, when a prominent Democrat politician got a pass from the media for abandoning a young woman (possibly pregnant by him) to drown in his car. The same man went on to later fame as the top slice of bread in a “waitress sandwich,” and yet was so lionized by the Left that not that long ago, at the time of his death, a woman(!) wrote that Mary Jo Kopechne might have been happy to undergo the terror as her lungs filled with the brackish water of Martha’s Vineyard had she only known what a great legislator he would turn out to be.
To see similar hypocritical Leftist misogyny, we need only go back to the last time a Democrat was in the White House. Whenever a woman came forward with allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct by Bill Clinton, the response of the Clinton defenders, both in and out of the media, was to attack her credibility, character, and virtue. Advisor James Carville famously said of Paula Jones (the young Arkansas state employee whom Clinton as governor had his state police guard procure to his hotel room for the purpose of orally pleasuring him), “Drag $100 bills through trailer parks, there’s no telling what you’ll find.” Evan Thomas of Newsweek dutifully complemented the slander by declaring her on national television “just some sleazy woman with big hair coming out of the trailer parks,” though he later was compelled to apologize in print. (One wonders how residents of trailer parks felt about that, but I guess empathy for them is for the little people.) When Kathleen Willey accused the president of groping her in the White House, and was physically threatened for her trouble, feminist icon and (former) scourge of sexual harassers Gloria Steinem said that it was no problem — he was entitled to a freebie, after which Cathy Young of Reason magazine reported on “the death of sexual harassment.”
It got worse. As the Paula Jones lawsuit progressed, and the president committed acts of obstruction of justice (federal felonies) by perjury and subornation of perjury through threats and bribes, the White House was prepared to go after Monica Lewinsky, the woman about whom he engaged in such obstruction. She was bribed with jobs, and urged to in turn suborn perjury from her confidante Linda Tripp, by implying threats against her family. If the incriminating blue dress hadn’t turned up, their plan was to continue to cover up and lie, and accuse Lewinsky of being a crazy stalker. The White House orchestrated the leak of the personnel files of Pentagon employee Linda Tripp, the only person in the entire fiasco who told the truth, in an attempt (sadly quite successful) to discredit her. This included a mistaken felony arrest record that had been sealed since she was a teenager. She was vilified and maligned in the media, with late-night comedians mocking her physical appearance. It’s unlikely that many of these people were either conservatives or Republicans.
Again, no one familiar with the history of the Left should be surprised by any of this (other than perhaps the blatant hypocrisy, aided and abetted by the ever-compliant press). Misogyny and male chauvinism run deep in the roots of the modern Left. Many think that the gender feminist movement of the seventies, started by Gloria Steinem and others, was a reaction against the conventional culture of the fifties and early sixties, with its casual assertions of male superiority and paternalism (on literally dramatic display in the AMC television series Mad Men, which also shows how the attitudes evolved through the decade). But it was at least as much, if not more, a reaction against the male chauvinist pigs of the so-called New Left on campus in the mid-to-late sixties, in which the men would write up the manifestos and plan the demonstrations, expecting nothing more of the women than to satisfy their appetites by cooking for and copulating with them. Basically, it was barefoot (or naked) in the kitchen, hopefully without the pregnancy, but for which abortions were required in the event of accidents.
The attitudes of Leftist sexist men were well documented by the women’s movement:
Women’s developing networks ran into conflict with the alternative media almost from the outset. In 1969, Spazm, the Laura Murra paper mentioned earlier, had focused attention on sexism practiced by the alternative press. Reporting the Radical Media Conference in Ann Arbor in July of 1969, Spazm published the Conference’s resolution on “Women and the Underground Press.” It expressed the rejection of the sexism in underground papers by the women who worked on them and by other women who were irritated by their overt disrespect for women. Although the best known of these underground papers was The Village Voice, begun in New York in 1955, the number of others had increased dramatically by 1970 to over 450 such papers. While most of them purported to believe in female liberation, they nonetheless included sexist advertisements, photographs, cartoons, and articles. San Francisco’s Open City printed photographs of a woman carrying a sign stating “Every Woman Secretly Wants to be Raped.”
It resulted in a takeover of some of the publications by the women:
The February 7, 1970 issue of Rat included the Rat‘s most classic piece, Robin Morgan’s “Goodbye to All That.” Goodbye, she said, to the pornographic cover of Rat, to the personal ads, the little jokes. “No more, brothers. No more well-meaning ignorance, no more co-option, no more assuming that this thing we are fighting for is the same: one revolution under man, with liberty and justice for all.”
The politics of radicalizing academia was similarly sexist:
The issue of the role of women in the [American Studies] Association was more controversial than that of electing radicals and students to the Council. In 1969 Betty Chmaj was the only woman on a council of twenty-seven. This reflected not only the attitude of the national office in Philadelphia and the status of women in universities, but also the practice of the regional chapters in every part of the country, for in 1969 most of the council members were elected by the chapters. Chmaj almost singlehandedly forced ASA to face the “woman question.” It was not easy. Many of the men who called themselves radical did not think the issue of discrimination against women in the Association was a concern of high priority, and the ASA, like all professional associations of this period, had its share of male chauvinists and womanizers. One could say of Radical American Studies what Rayna Rapp said of her male colleagues at the University of Michigan: “They had all this empathy for the Vietnamese, and for black Americans, but they didn’t have much empathy for the women in their lives; not the women they slept with, not the women they shared office space with, not the women they fought at demonstrations with.”
Of course, the misogynist tradition of Leftist protest remains alive and well, as we’ve seen over the past few months. There has been no recorded incident of rape at any Tea Party rally, but no Occupy protest seems complete without at least one.
So when you see a White House staffed with people nurtured in such a radical environment, as Barack Obama himself was, it shouldn’t be surprising at all to see the old Leftist misogyny and sexism (and lies and projection) continue. It’s in the movement’s DNA. So when they talk about a war on women, it should be pretty tough for anyone knowledgeable to take them seriously. Unfortunately, that category probably doesn’t yet include the mainstream media.
The New Misogyny: The Left’s Sexist Treatment of Conservative Women
Recently one of my friends, politically an independent with a serious streak of libertarian, posted on Facebook a link to this article by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone (here’s JoshuaPundit’s take on the piece). I couldn’t make it completely through the article because it suffered from too! many! exclamation points! that have infested poorly written Lefty screeds since the Paris Commune, but the gist of the article is “this woman is a religious nut!” I broke one of my rules about Facebook: Never post about politics on Facebook because most of my Facebook friends are politically left of center, and Facebook friendships aren’t strong enough to debate politics, nor is the medium conducive to thoughtful discussion. But I posted a response, pointing out that Taibbi’s was just a hit-piece by a magazine whose best years were decades behind it, and that Republican women were the only women men could still denigrate and not look like sexist troglodytes.
Consider Sarah Palin. An objective outsider would find it difficult to believe that Sarah Palin was an ex-governor of one of America’s smallest states (population-wise) who didn’t complete a full term and held the #2 spot on a losing ticket. Hundreds if not thousands of articles have been written about her, nearly all demonizing her, criticizing her for mistakes she didn’t make (she never said she could see Russia from her backyard, Tina Fey playing her on Saturday Night Live did, to mention another media enterprise whose best years lay decades in the past). Most recently the Palin emails inspired such a media frenzy that one would have thought that she must have wielded great power. It was like a Wikileaks operation complete with countdown until they were released. Imagine that happening to Obama or even Clinton; I can’t even though those men ruled over 40x more people for 5x longer. The anger directed towards Sarah Palin and the focus of journalistic hit jobs by Andrew Sullivan (who still believes that her son Trig is in fact her daughter Bristol’s – even though the odds of Bristol having a Down’s baby are about the same as Andrew Sullivan writing something that doesn’t mention his homosexuality, while Sarah’s odds were 1 in 10), to editor Bill Keller’s fixation with her at the New York Times, is unprecedented. There is even a term coined for it: Palin Derangement Syndrome.
Now Rolling Stone has begun creatively editing and twisting Bachmann’s remarks, questioning her intelligence, making fun of her appearance all with a hip attitude. If Bachmann star ascends over the coming months one can bet that the mainstream media’s obsession with Sarah Palin will switch to Bachmann and someone will have to coin another term: Bachmann Derangement Syndrome.
Rolling Stone was simply the opening salvo. As Pat Caddell, former pollster for Jimmy Carter noted in a recent interview, the media refuses to compare Bachmann to anyone but Sarah Palin, refusing to acknowledge her own accomplishments in office or her own ideas for changing the country. Washington Post columnist Colby King called Bachmann “Barbie with fangs,” continuing the objectification
Afterward I got to thinking and it just amazed me how every woman I could think of on the Right had been demonized by the Left – going all the way back to Phyllis Schafly and even Anita Bryant. Every. Single. One. It is creepy the way any woman who comes out on the Right is immediately leapt upon and portrayed as crazy or at the very least shrill. There is a certain amount of that directed towards men on the Right, but nothing to the degree that has been thrown at women.
Given the treatment of Hillary Clinton by conservatives, treatment that I personally believe was sexist too, I know there would be plenty of evidence to support the broader contention that sexism still exists regardless of the political leanings of the attackers. But due to the 2012 presidential election, the focus for now must pertain to conservative women.
To best examine this sexist attacks on conservative women, Lexis Nexis searches could be conducted using the names of prominent conservative women partnered with derogatory and inflammatory words, then compare it against the names of prominent liberal women and the same terms. Unfortunately, I do not have access to this tool and so cannot support my hypothesis that this bias statistically exists. Instead I have to rely on Google searchers which leave me open to cherry picking the results; I would recommend that anyone believing that is what I have done should try such Google searches for themselves to see that if I am indeed cherry picking the data, there are whole “orchards” of “cherries” to choose from on Google.
Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona. Salon: “This week in crazy: Jan Brewer.” San Francisco Chronicle: “Jan Brewer kills ethnic studies, proves racism.” Youtube: “if i ever meet that C*ntessa Brewer b**ch,i’ll kick her right in the Vag.” Phuckpolitics: “Jan Brewer is one dumb c**t.” PoliticalArticlesNet: “Ugly Quivering Witch, Governor Jan Brewer Meets With Obama.”
Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina. DemocraticUnderground (in a sexist two-fer): Bachmann schedules batshit crazy “private sit-down” with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Wonkette: “Another South Carolina Republican Dude Claims He Banged Nikki Haley.” Wonkette pt 2: “LATEST NIKKI HALEY SCANDAL: Did You Know She Isn’t Even WHITE??” SouthPawBeagle: “Two Men Who Have Not Slept With Nikki Haley Captured Today in South Carolina”
Delaware Senate Candidate Christine O’Donnell. Huff-Po: The Craziest Things Christine O’Donnell Has Ever Said. The Guardian: “Christine O’Donnell ‘seen as nut job’, says John McCain’s daughter.” LiberalValuesBlog: “GOP Senate Candidate Christine O’Donnell Is Something Which Rhymes with “Bitch””
This doesn’t even touch the surface of the vitriol that has been unleashed against Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin – the latter of which has not only been the target of sexist attacks, but as with Nikki Haley racist ones as well.
Again, I don’t argue that there have been sexist attacks against liberal women. But such attacks should not take away from the garbage being thrown by those who should know better at Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann and every other woman who dares to question liberal orthodoxy.