Wednesday, June 4, 2008

why this country is, in fact, sexist

Now that Obama finally has the presidential bid for the Democratic party clinched, the country is now emphatically throwing its hands up in the air and crying, "Sexist? No, no, no, not us! We didn't like Hillary because she's Hillary! Not because she's a woman! So don't call us sexist. Uh-uh. No way."

Despite being a woman (and a self-proclaimed feminist), I have to say that I do think we are all sexist, at least, just a little bit. And it goes both ways. It's OK for women to have things like "I like my chocolate like I like my men: rich" plastered on magnets, and it's OK for men to whistle at women in the grocery store. And by 'OK,' I really mean that these things are NOT OK, but we still accept it as just a fact of life. I can't speak from a man's perspective, but as a woman with cleavage, I've come to expect to be ogled from time to time. Not right, not cool, not OK ... but accepted.

And it was OK for America to hold Hillary up to high standards ... ridiculous standards. She should have divorced Bill in the '90s. She feels like she's entitled to this position. Buy this Hillary Nutcracker for Christmas. The media choosing the least flattering pictures of her. Obama always smiling, Hillary always caught mid-blink, mid-frown. Hillary cried. (Never mind that there is footage of Obama and former candidate Romney wiping away tears, because women who cry are incapable of handling foreign policy.) No one is going to take a country with a woman president seriously. (Never mind all those other countries with women leaders, including ancient civilizations with matriarchies as opposed to patriarchies.) And, my favorite, courtesy of a local radio station ... no one can trust something that bleeds seven days out of a month and lives.

Do I think this is a representation of the feelings of individual men and women in America? No ... at least, not at face value. But I think people who say, "Oh, it's not sexism ... it's just Hillary" are hiding behind what they really think, because if you support Obama but are incredibly anti-Hillary, then you don't really know the differences between their policies (not many ... if any, which could be disputed.)

I didn't want to make this about McCain, but since I am on the subject of sexism ... let's not forget he's called his wife a cunt in public before. That story gets little play in the media. But this is an entirely different post (and yet still shows how it's OK to be sexist in this country.)

Which brings me to how the country is still a little bit racist (or a lot racist in my neck of the woods, where the Confederate flags still fly high.) There are those vehemently anti-Obama, but what is scarier are the people who are so afraid of being called out for NOT supporting an African American that they rally behind him because it's the hip thing to do. Because while it's still so obviously OK to be sexist in this country, it's so obviously NOT OK to be racist ... so when confronted with the choice and we had to choose, we chose to advance skin color over gender. (And yes, I do believe that NEITHER should matter, but let's not lie and pretend that they don't because they do, your gender and your skin color define you more than most people want to believe.)

That's fine. I think Obama is capable, at least, not any LESS capable than McCain (or the mess we've had in office for the past eight years.) He is inexperienced. That's the truth.

So answer me this: If Hillary came in with the experience (or lack thereof) Obama has ... would she have even made it this far?

My answer is no, probably not. She would've been patted on the head and told to skip along ... let the fat white men handle the big important world problems.

And that's why this IS about sexism ... and not just her last name. And the way America has handled this situation in 200-fuckin'-8 makes me incredibly hesitant to become a parent. How do you raise a son to respect women with such an openly hostile attitude against us?

Worse yet ... how do you raise a daughter?

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