Wednesday, September 3, 2008

High(er) Heels

I've spent an inordinate amount of time today trying to figure out the women over at Hire Heels. (Not to be confused with the ladies of Heels for Hire, which--you have to admit--would be kind of a funny mix-up. Or not. Depending on your sense of humor and whether or not you find the completely coincidental website name similarity and my bringing it up offensive or not. It's almost like the one-letter-but-worlds-apart difference between www.hotmail.com and www.hotmale.com that so amused me my freshman year in college. Hint: the latter is a gay porn site, so don't copy/paste the address into your browser at work.)

Sorry, back on track: Hire Heels is a website for and by fans of Hillary Clinton. Their tagline? "We adore shoes, but we LOVE Hillary." That's straightforward enough, and so is their general outlook that Hillary Clinton is an amazing woman and politician and that she was robbed during this year's primary campaign. Much like the group P.U.M.A. (Party Unity My Ass), though perhaps(?) not quite as radically anti-Obama, Hire Heels is committed to its support for Clinton and is very riled by the Democratic Party's treatment of her over the past year. Of course, anyone who read the first post of this blog would know that I'm pro-Hillary, too, and that I'm against sexism in all shapes and forms in the media and beyond. However, the comments on one of the most recent Hire Heels blog entries kind of--for lack of a better term--freaked me out.

Here's an excerpt of comments on the blog posting "that 70’s freak-show, except it’s 2008" (which is about the sexist treatment of Gov. Palin):

PUMA KY:
The sexism has got to stop, Democrat, Republican, Independent, Third Party, don’t care. STOP THE SEXISM. I’ve been on email and phone today calling media outlets and telling them “we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.” I even called the McCain campaign and told them how horrible I thought the media had been to Hillary and Palin and that I applaud McCain’s campaign for standing up to it.

[...]

SPIN:
you guys are still spiteful, because your girl lost. still can’t get over it.
[...]
first, mcfossil was pimping his POW card, and now he’s pimping his palin card.

those are acts of a desparate man who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you guys. he just wants to be president.

and it was soooo easy…..all he had to do was dangle the palin carrot in front of you. he’s probably sitting there laughing at how easy it was.

you think his side respects women more? he was so desparate to win, he picked a woman he’s met only once before and had to ask what a vp does. and of course he picked a good looking woman because he is a cheater and womanizer and it’s so much easier to look at a good looking woman for the next 4 years than an ugly one. so basically, he’s using you.
[...]
admit it. you didn’t vote dem or reb. you voted women. all your comments here prove it. you’re also voting for palin to spite obama. you guys are still so angry.
[...]
you’re mad because the media’s picking on palin’s daughter? how about mccain picking on obama’s kids? and what did he say about chelsea clinton? what hypocrisy.
[...]

BOOGIEMAN7167:
spin your realy not to bright are you.1st you come in here slam these girls did you even ready any of the gals post on here you,D see that there pissed at the way Palin. been treated & you come then you said i should be ashamed myself thats where you really f**D up as far a being bitter . from your post your the one thats sounds bitter. you want anything from anyone in here why dont you start treated them & me with some respect or shut the F*** u*
as far as you being a women i think thats a bunch of bs to
unlike you obama-sheep we can think for ourselves.

go pumas


Ummm...okay. Before I add my two cents, let me just state, for the record, that I copied all of that as-is from the website (excepting the parts I cut for length and marked with ellipses); there are more comments, too, which you can read for yourself.

I'm mostly on board with Puma Ky's comments (until the part about applauding McCain, but that's my personal opinion), but I also largely agree with Spin, excepting the fact that his/her tone is (as Boogieman7167 accuses, though somewhat incoherently) completely disrespectful. That's not cool. But, I do agree that McCain is pandering by choosing Palin as VP, and that he's cleverly managed to use sexism in his favor. Now whenever anyone says anything bad about Sarah Palin, they're automatically being sexist because she's a woman. It's like a preemptive strike against a whole cadre of possible complaints about things like her (in)experience in elected office. I refuse to believe that all negative allegations/responses towards Palin are inherently sexist just because she's a woman. That is sexist in and of itself.

The media and politicians have been ripping into candidates--including their family history, their legislative track record, possible scandals, hobbies, pastimes, hunting trophies, college shenanigans, etc.--for as long as there have been candidates. I don't always think this prying and mud-slinging is right; in fact, it's often completely reprehensible. However, it's pretty obnoxious to suddenly scream "sexism!" only when it's convenient for your party. What about all those times Hillary was accused of being a ball-buster and a feminazi, often by right-wing pundits and politicians, some of the same people who are now claiming that dissent regarding Palin is sexist?

Don't get me wrong, I do not think it's okay to drag Governor Palin through the mud in the misogynist ways in which Senator Clinton was dragged through the mud. However, don't we have to draw the what-constitutes-sexism-and-what's-just-politics line somewhere?

Thoughts?

ETA: If you're interested in seeing examples of sexism against Sarah Palin, check out the running tally over at Shakesville. Also, see the call-to-action against sexism at Womanist Musings.

1 comment:

frau sally benz said...

However, don't we have to draw the what-constitutes-sexism-and-what's-just-politics line somewhere?

We absolutely have to draw the line. I think as the days go by, more and more people are starting to realize that there is a line there that should not be crossed, although the shift is slow.

I think enough of us disagree so much with her politics that it's easy to stay on the right side of the line. If we just keep promoting each other's work and calling out the sexist attacks, I think people will get it. Especially coming after the (however slight) awareness of sexism against Clinton.