Monday, April 30, 2012

No, Not All Sides Are Equal: Sexism

So the false equivalency thing is making the rounds again. That both "sides," liberal and conservative, are the same. I just have a thing about the false   equivalency. Here I am going to treat you to some material I have written about sexism on the liberal "side."


Bill Maher gets letters every time he pulls that misogynistic bullshit even though he has a long career of transgressive political stand up where, yes, the standards are a little, a little more relaxed - but not when it comes to misogyny. And, of course, his persona is an asshole (no idea of that comes from his personal life, or is on stage only). Some highlights from my own letters include things like "...if you have to point out that someone has (or is?) a vagina as an insult then you should have retired years ago, because not only are you a cad, but you aren't funny anymore, either." Or there is this: "You are blurring the line between you and them sir, stop it." And there is plenty of material about how Maher screws up on sites like Shakesville. Just because the push back does not get a lot of flashy press does not mean that it does not happen.


Ed Schultz took himself off the air for an unpaid week - he took it to MSNBC less than 24 hours after it happened, and said this is what I want to do: I am going to take an unpaid week off the air after I apologize live on my show and tell my audience what I am going to do. He was not suspended, but if they wanted to punish him further, he was open to it. That is about as much class as a human can have and still managed to screwed up in that way, I think. It did not erase what he did, but it did set a good standard for how to behave after. And effective damage control, too - that was so quick there were only rumbles of a letter writing campaign to him or MSNBC or his radio bosses before he was acting on it himself.


The left, or at least the patch of left I camp out on - is indeed consistent. Even if I otherwise like or respect a performer, politician, or other mucky muck I will loudly and enthusiastically let them know when they screw up. When it comes down to it, I and a lot of other liberal or progressive folks are harder on liberal figures because, goddammit, we expect better from them than the likes of Limbaugh. And the feminist and womanist blogs I read? They HATED defending Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Ann Romney and their ilk - but every time someone went after their gender or gender performance with some sexist garbage, they stood up and yelled about it! Just like they did for Sandra Fluke.


Both sides are not equal. And when my "side" screws up, a lot of us push back. It feels a lot like being consistent is also being invisible. I do not know what that push back seems to not get the same coverage. Maybe it is a non-story because it is expected, or it is quick, or the stories are small in scope, or it is boring.