Today we are going to have a quiz on feminism and politics. Afterward I’ll provide a bit of analysis. I know it’s just after Memorial Day, but it’s really easy and I promise it will be fun.
The quiz focuses on two separate newsworthy events that involved pundit S.E. Cupp and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley last week. Not to show my hand, but it’s meant to dispel the myth of how conservative women are treated after appalling sexist attacks versus how liberal women usually are.
I’m also writing it in response to Casey Pick’s post on BlogHer last week about the Hustler incident, asserting that Cupp was the victim of a liberal double-standard, despite her support of gay rights. First off, I doubt that most feminists would characterize Hustler in such a glowing light. A porn rag. A filthy piece of misoygnistc crap, yes. But a bastion of “liberal orthodoxy”?
As Mary Elizabeth Williams pointed out on Salon:
Of course, the usual conservative suspects have come out of the woodwork for this one, pointing an accusatory finger at what the Blaze helpfully refers to as “the liberal media” for this. Yes, the American Prospect, Mother Jones, Hustler – it’s all the same to us! On Wednesday, Glenn Beck begged, “Is this wrong, Democrats? Is this wrong?” — as if Democrats were responsible for what Hustler publishes. Who put that penis in that lady’s mouth? Probably Obama.
But I also disagree with Pick's larger point, which is that feminists don’t stick up for women conservatives when they’re attacked.
Nothing personal, but bullshit.
But let’s move on to the quiz. Are you ready?
1) Who published a fake photo of conservative commentator S.E. Cupp with a penis stuffed in her mouth? (Note: I will not be providing links to the publications below.)
2) In response, who immediately launched a petition drive defending Cupp and expressing outrage over the misogynistic attack?
a) Conservative Women of America
b) The Republican Women’s National Committee
c) Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin
d) Women’s Media Center
e) Ted Nugent
3) Who didn’t condemn the demeaning image and come to Cupp’s defense?
a) Rachel Maddow
b) Gloria Steinem
d) Arianna Huffington
e) RNC Women
4) In response to the torrent of criticism, who dismissed the image of Cupp as an example of political “satire”?
a) Comedian Bill Maher
b) Rush Limbaugh
5) Which television show did S.E. Cupp appear on after the controversy blew up?
a) The Bachelorette
b) Oprah’s Life Lessons
c) The View
d) Anderson Cooper’s new daytime talk show
e) David Letterman
6) Who did S.E. Cupp thank in her Twitter feed for rising to her defense?
a) Fox News host Megyn Kelly
b) Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke
c) Gov. Nikki Haley
d) Fox News political contributor Dana Perino
e) Ann Romney
7) Who called the Violence Against Women Act “redundant” and argued against renewing the 1994 law, which has received widespread bipartisan support until this year?
a) Bill O’Reilly
b) Sean Hannity
c) S.E. Cupp
e) Michele Bachmann
f) Mitt Romney
8) Who did not come to Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke’s defense when Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” for testifying before Congress about birth control coverage?
a) Michelle Malkin
b) S.E. Cupp
c) The National Review
d) Ann Coulter
e) all of the above
OK, let’s move on to South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
9) Who hit a piñata with an image of the governor’s face on it last week while other folks cheered, “Hit her again!” (I wouldn’t recommend you Google this, either.)
a) Retiring South Carolina AFL-CIO president Donna Dewitt
b) Nikki Haley’s chief of staff
c) Bill Maher
d) Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
e) Radial feminists who are angry at the governor’s
attacks on women’s health care
10) Who immediately condemned the piñata bashing and said, "While it was meant as fun, there is absolutely no place for that kind of joke in a conversation that is extremely serious about how to rebuild our middle class and our country. There's plenty to talk about in Gov. Haley's awful record. We do not believe that's an appropriate joke -- working people deserve a better conversation."
a) Mitt Romney
b) Labor secretary Hilda Solis
c) The AFL-CIO
d) Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
11) Who said on The View, prompting considerable outrage, that “women don’t care about contraception. They care about jobs and their families”?
a) MSNBC host Chris Matthews
b) Michele Bachmann
c) Nikki Haley
d) Barack Obama
e) The all-male panel who testified before Congress about birth control
Before I continue, I’m going to give you a moment to check your answers.
So. I think we can all agree that what Hustler did to S.E. Cupp was upsetting and despicable, another example of the profound misogyny that continues to infect politics. By shoving a penis, fake or no, in Cupp’s mouth, the message was brutally clear: Cupp should shut up about politics and do what women do best, which is to sexually cater to men.
But then feminists did something that apparently was totally out of character. And I’m sure you’re going to be shocked by this. Not only did feminists stand up for the right-leaning Cupp, who wants to defund Planned Parenthood, they also launched a petition drive online protesting Hustler’s vile image of her and misogyny in the media.
Notably, there was no such petition from outraged conservative women. And you can bet there would have been no such petition if the woman had been MSNBC host Rachel Maddow instead of S.E. Cupp.
But I’ll let you be the judge. I’ve gathered some of the responses from the feminist community. Here’s what Gloria Steinem, co-founder of the Women’s Media Center, said:
As another of the countless women who have been attacked, defamed and endangered by Larry Flynt and Hustler over the years, I am proud to stand with S.E. Cupp and defend her right to free speech and respect. One has only to look at Flynt's record of woman-hatred and the depiction of sexualized violence against females–including children, as in such famous Hustler features as ‘Chester the Molester’–to see that the only thing more damaging than Flynt's hatred would be his approval.
While Hustler claims the picture is intended to be funny "satire," it simply is not funny. It's out of line, it's sexist, and it's an unacceptable form of misogyny. Women are under attack from all sides and no matter what political party you are in, I'm going to defend you from sexist attacks. I will not stand by in silence when a woman, any woman, is attacked in this way and belittled as nothing more than a sexual object. It's about disagreement over ideas; smearing and demeaning women should not part of the equation.
Sandra Fluke defended Cupp on Twitter:
Yet where was Cupp when Fluke was being viciously attacked by conservatives?
She was nowhere to be found. Where was the ever-present commentator when Michelle Malkin had this infuriating response to Limbaugh calling Fluke a prostitute?
I'll tell you why Rush was wrong. Young Sandra Fluke of Georgetown Law is not a "slut." She’s a moocher and a tool of the Nanny State. She’s a poster girl for the rabid Planned Parenthood lobby and its eugenics-inspired foremothers.
Better yet, The National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez used one of Fluke’s classmates, Angela Morabito, as a mouthpiece to demean her:
No one forced Sandra to come to Georgetown. And now that she has, Sandra does not have to depend on the university health plan. She could walk down the street to CVS and get some contraception herself. Or, go to an off-campus, non-university doctor and pay for it out of pocket. (Or, you know . . . maybe not have so much sex that it puts her in financial peril?)
Not content there, Morabito went on to speculate about Fluke’s sex life:
When did Georgetown Law start admitting Kardashians? Sandra doesn’t even speak for all skanks! She only speaks for the skanks who don't want to take responsibility for their choices.
So why didn’t conservatives stick up for Fluke? I’ll tell you why. It’s because conservative women don’t see sexism as an issue. So when one of their own gets called a bitch or gets an image of her face pummeled, it’s not because we live in a society that tolerates violent imagery of women or treats women as sex objects. It’s not because women aren’t equal. No, it’s because liberals have an irrational hatred of conservative women. So why defend liberal women against sexism when sexism doesn’t exist?
But there’s also something disturbing going on here, I’d argue, and it’s this: that liberal women somehow deserve to be attacked because of their unapologetic views.
One more thing. In response to the piñata bashing, Haley got a lot of support. She also seized the incident as a fundraising opportunity and is soliciting contributions for her 2014 reelection campaign. So if you have a spare $50 to $250 and hate big labor, you can show your support. Or you can also just click on the link she provides to the piñata bashing video and get all riled up.
That’s not feminism, but it is politics.
Credit Image: Gage Skidmore on Flickr
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