Posts Tagged ‘Subtle Sexism’

“Midlife Crisis” FLOTUS-Style (Limerick)

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Michelle Obama addressed the burning question of her bangs on the Rachael Ray Show:

“This is my midlife crisis, the bangs. I couldn’t get a sports car,” she told Ray about the inspiration for her trendy new look. “They won’t let me bungee jump. So instead, I cut my bangs.”

“Midlife Crisis” FLOTUS-Style (Limerick)
By Madeleine Begun Kane

“How dare you get bangs,” they harangue.
Michelle laughs at the Sturm and the Drang:
Bungee jumping was out.
So’s a sports car, no doubt.
So she changed up her “do” with a bang.

Harry Reid’s Not So Hot Remark

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

When it comes to sexism posing as a compliment, I try to cut Harry Reid’s generation some slack. But Senator Reid really ought to know better:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had an unusual form of praise for New York’s junior senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, this morning at the fundraiser Mayor Bloomberg hosted for him at his townhouse – referring to her as “the hottest member” as she sat just a few feet away, according to three sources.

The comment prompted Gillibrand to turn red, according to the sources, and created a bit of stir among the small crowd there.

That leads me to my latest limerick:

Harry Reid’s Not So Hot Remark
By Madeleine Begun Kane

Kirsten Gillibrand’s hot says Sen. Reid —
The Sen’s “hottest member,” indeed.
Now I know Harry’s old,
And I don’t mean to scold,
But that “compliment’s” sexist. Take heed.

Here’s more on subtle sexism, including my Gender At Work essay. (Gender at Work, under the name My Most Attractive Adversary, is the lead Gender Gap chapter essay in a pair of college textbooks by Gary Goshgarian: The Contemporary Reader and Readings For Today.)

Obama’s Words – A Textbook Case Of Subtle Sexism

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Some recent Barack Obama comments reminded me of a personal essay on subtle sexism I wrote way back in 1990.  And while that might sound like ancient history, my essay, published under various titles including Gender At Work and My Most Attractive Adversary, is the lead Gender Gap chapter essay in a pair of current (2008) textbooks by Gary Goshgarian:  The Contemporary Reader and Readings For Today.

In his introduction to my essay, Northeastern University English Professor Goshgarian observes:

Women may seem to have made tremendous progress professionally and academically, but they are held back by indirect sexist comments and attitudes. They are caught in a catch-22.  If they react against these seemingly small slights, they appear to be overreacting or too sensitive. But to let them pass may signal that such comments are somehow acceptable.  In the next essay, humorist and self-described “recovering lawyer” Madeleine Begun Kane holds that subtle sexism maintains gender differences.

And that brings me to this subtly sexist Obama comment, made in response to Hillary Clinton attacks:

You challenge the status quo and suddenly the claws come out.

And to this even more offensive line:

I understand that Senator Clinton, periodically when she’s feeling down, launches attacks as a way of trying to boost her appeal.

“Claws come out?” “Periodically?”  “Feeling down?” These words are more subtle than the B-word, I suppose. But they are sexist, nonetheless. 

So where’s the blogger outrage over Obama’s sexism?  Lots of luck finding it among the A-list bloggers — the male ones, at least. They have a much better time of it interpreting everything the Clinton team does as racist. 

Sure, there’s some great commentary about Obama’s sexism over at Taylor Marsh’s blog and at Talk Left. But in the main, Obama’s getting a gender bias-pass.

Meanwhile, many educated young women, who apparently take the accomplishments of feminism for granted, are supporting Obama’s candidacy over Hillary Clinton.

You know what those young women could use?  A good gender studies course.  Because sexism, after all, isn’t ancient history.

(For the lighter side of gender issues, you can find my feminist humor here.)