Monday, October 18, 2010

What Change Has Wrought

Many of us who refrained from drinking the Kool Aide or smoking the Hopium pipe have commented on all of the "changes" we have gotten under Obama. You know, the high unemployment, rampant foreclosures, runaway debt, deficit spending, and broken promise after broken promise.

But there is one other "change" that has reared its ugly head since the Obama campaign began, and that is the war on women. You know, the "Bros Before Hoes" (a slogan and t-shirt), "Sarah Palin Is a C..." t-shirts, the Hillary Clinton "nutcrackers," the "Life's A Bitch, Don't Vote For One" (in regard to Hillary Clinton) t-shirt, and on and on. We saw them all too often during 2008, with men (and some women) wearing them with glee.

Add to those displays the "comedienne" Sandra Bernhard threatening Sarah Palin with being gang-raped by black men (racist much, Sandra??) should she dare come to New York. Or Randi Rhodes, at a fundraiser for the Great Uniter, Obama, calling Hillary Clinton a whore. Oh, wait - I mean, "a big fucking whore." N.O.W., Naral, Planned Parenthood, all supporting the man in the race (and as recently mentioned, the California chapter of N.O.W. endorsing the man in the governor's race over the pro-choice woman, and supporting one of his aides calling her a whore).

And we cannot forget the blatant misogyny of many in the media since 2008. Three names sum it up: Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and David Shuster. Need I say more? Not only did many in the media routinely make sexist, even misogynistic statements, but they routinely failed to cover the news, like the young men yelling at Hillary Clinton, "Iron My Shirt!" You and I both know damn well had anyone yelled out at Barack Obama, "Shine My Shoes!" we would be hearing about blatant racism in the campaign to this day.

All of which is to say, the misogyny is not limited to displays by men, unfortunately. Too many women are all too ready to throw their lot in with them. I suppose their "logic" is that they should join in lest they be treated the same way by these same men. Perhaps they think if they side against women, too, they will be spared the horrific treatment that is becoming all too acceptable. It is just a bit disturbing when it comes from groups whose sole purpose is to support women.

Taken together, it makes the story below not so surprising, sadly. Not that it isn't emetic, mind you, but it is not surprising. Not after all we have seen since 2008, the t-shirts, the slogans, the flipping off by Candidate Obama of Hillary Clinton, the "sweetie" remarks toward a reporter, also by Candidate Obama, as well as the hint of PMS when he claimed Clinton might "get down periodically," or Obama's claiming that his challenge to the status quo "brings the claws out," along with the general rage against powerful women, both Democratic and Republican for having the audacity to run against men. The nerve of these women, those who dared to run for president, or governor, or senator, or representative - how freaking dare they?

Those attitudes, both subtle and overt, have an effect. They are, as Obama likes to say, "Teachable moments." But what these messages are teaching our young people is sickening. And that brings us to this from the Chronicle of Higher Learning, "Yale Fraternity Apologizes For Pledge Chants About Rape" (h/t to Pat Racimora):
The Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Yale University apologized on Thursday for offensive chants against women that were shouted by new recruits on Wednesday evening. The young men, blindfolded, were marched through a part of the campus where female freshmen live while shouting, “No means yes, yes means anal!,” among other inflammatory chants. The pledging ritual sparked an outcry from Yale feminists and the Yale Women’s Center and a commentary in Salon.

Yep. Yale. The Salon article states:
[snip] Now, DKE President Jordan Forney has been forced to apologize for this blatant sexual intimidation by calling it "a serious lapse in judgment by the fraternity and in very poor taste." But this sort of hateful crap isn't a "lapse in judgment." It doesn't innocently happen that you're guiding male pledges by young women's dorms in the dark of night chanting about anal rape. It isn't a forehead-slapping slip-up, it's a sign that you need major reprogramming as a human being. [snip]

I'll say. But not just at Yale. Young men, and women for that matter, need reprogramming in general that treating women like this, whether they are young or old, is simply unacceptable. It is not okay to threaten young women with rape, just as it is not okay to threaten a political figure with gang rape or to attack a candidate based on gender and not on their political stance. The entire country could use some "re-programming," including Obama. Not THAT is some change I can support, and the sooner, the better.

Women in this country deserve at least that much, don't we?

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