I think women deserve a ton more credit than they are currently getting. I know that in a similar situation I’d never react the same way many of them have over the recent Newsweek cover which depicted Michele Bachmann in a rather sexist way.
First, was the cover actually sexist? I think the Newsweek staff wanted to picture Michele Bachmann in the least flattering way possible. I think they wanted to make her look stupid. The picture, coupled with the “Queen of Rage” caption, successfully made Bachmann look like a crazy. Would a man be treated the same way? By Newsweek maybe, but that’s because they suck. Does that mean it’s not sexist? No, it’s still sexist because it seeks to demote the only women in the race for president based on appearance only. The media did it to Hillary Clinton too and she’s not the only one. But seriously, defending Bachmann?
Bachmann is anti-choice. She thinks that all women should be subservient to men, and asks for her husband’s permission to do basically everything (AND expects all women to act the exact same way). So what’s to defend? Here’s where I give women’s orgs some serious credit.
In a conversation with Mislabeled writer/editor Rachel, I said that there was NO WAY I’d support a man who didn’t support men. It’s like me saying, well that conservative man is getting attacked in a sexist way but he doesn’t even support men, so why should I defend him? Rachel responded with this, which basically ended any attack I could have come up with:
“The thing is, it’s not conditional. You don’t have to do X for us to Y. We will do Y, period. Of course, we hope that when we need you to do X, we will remind you how we supported you, and you will consider doing X. But we won’t give a half-ass statement of support, no way, no how. In the end, it’s about correcting society (the media), not about helping Michelle Bachmann get elected.”
Rachel, in her brilliant women’s wisdom, is correct. This isn’t about Michele Bachmann; it’s about women; it’s about being a progressive even when it’s inconvenient. While I’m not sure I can come out and jump on this Bachmann bandwagon, I can universally condemn Newsweek and their terrible editorial choice. I can support the fact that the conversation needs to change from, “WOW that Michele Bachmann sure has some crazy eyes, is not attractive, has bad hair, etc.” to “WOW Michele Bachmann sure has some bad policies and we should not support them.” Even as a progressive community I feel we get caught up in the looks game more than we should. This gives us an opportunity to show that we support women and women’s rights regardless of who the recipient of the misogyny is.
I praise all the women’s rights groups who came out to condemn Newsweek and I will not support Bachmann but I will support her right to a fair portrayal in the media.
This post is brought to you by Salvatore, who is engaged to Rachel, which may explain any aforementioned flattery.