Excellent Read: “Progressive”

Much as I agreed with Sady Doyle’s post, I wasn’t going to front-page it until a commentor on a late-night thread here expressed great astonishment that calling someone “hysterical” could possibly be construed as sexist. But I can attest, from personal experience, that male Progressives can be… well…

… “We’re a progressive site,” the man across the table begins, “And our readership, as with most progressive sites, is mostly men. You’ve focused a lot on women’s issues. Would you be comfortable writing something that men would be able to read?”

I’m silent for a second. I keep smiling — always smile at the job interview — but I cannot speak. Largely because I believe that what I just heard cannot possibly be what he really said. I misinterpreted something. I missed a word, misheard a word. He can’t actually be telling me that I would have to stop being so feminist to get a job at his “progressive” site. Or that “progressive” media is mostly for men.

“I read your most recent article,” he adds, helpfully. “That seemed very sympathetic to the male character.”

Okay. So I heard him right…

“Secretary Clinton, first ladies, as you well know, have used their position to work on important causes like literacy and drug abuse,” the moderator says. “But they also supervise the menus, the flowers, the holiday ornaments and White House decor. I know you think you know where I’m going here.”

I watch Hillary Clinton’s face. She smiles. You always smile at the job interview. She smiles like a motherfucker, that woman.

She smiles while she assures the moderator that she won’t make her husband do stupid lady things like – ick! – decorating. She smiles while assuring the world she won’t forsake her duty as a woman, that she will still “pick the flowers and the china for state dinners and stuff like that.” She smiles while answering the question of whether female Presidents are fundamentally unnatural, whether she is fundamentally unnatural, whether electing her will emasculate not only Bill Clinton but the nation itself. And she has been the second-most popular Secretary of State in history, and she has been the member of the Obama administration with the highest approval rating, and she has been one of the most liberal Senators in Congress, and she has been an early pioneer whose work laid the ground for both CHIP and eventually Obamacare, and she has been one of the single most visible advocates for feminism globally and in the United States since the mid-90s, and she has done the work, the basic work level of the work, the coming-in-when-you’re-sick-don’t-be-late-don’t-take-a-vacation work, and she still has to answer this fucking question – the one that’s not about her, but about her gender; the one that’s not about policy, but whether she could govern in a way men can accept – but smiling is just what you do, if you’re a woman, and a feminist, and you have to field questions like these. You don’t challenge the premises. You don’t tell them to fuck off. You let them test you to see if you’re an angry feminist, and you pass the test by letting them insult you to your face and not getting angry. Because after everything you’ve done, everything you’ve fought for, that’s still what most men want to know. They want to know they can insult you and get away with it. They won’t work with you if they can’t.

Hillary Clinton lets them insult her with a smile on her face, because she wants the job. Because there is no way to just flip a table, throw the coffee, walk out of this bitch in protest, and get the job she wants. There never is. Not for her, not for me, not for any of us. She smiles…

I know some of you remember Clarence Thomas’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, and the intense vitriol directed at Anita Hill and every other woman who cautioned that Thomas would be a terrible, terrible choice. One of the things I remember is how astonished a lot of otherwise thoughtful, progressive men — and quite a few less-thoughtful, unprogressive ones as well — were, to discover the level of mistreatment and abuse that women in the workplace were exposed to as a matter of course. Their wives, their moms, their daughters: The women who never said anything about the filthy ‘jokes’ and the body-touching and the assumption that every woman (whatever her credentials or gifts or relationships) could be, should be, treated like a barely-housebroken domestic animal whose only real value was its sexual attractiveness.

Anita Hill failed to deter the revanchists determined to put Clarence Thomas on the only Supreme Court we have, but when she spoke up, she changed the conversation around “sexual harrassment in the workplace.” And whether or not Hillary Rodham Clinton is elected President in November (and I most sincerely hope she is), she’s already changing the conversation around whether “feminist” is a component to any genuine use of the word “progressive”.






212 replies
  1. 1
    PlumpJoan says:

    Thank you. I don’t agree with all of it–there are still issues with some of her positions IMO–but yes, basically. (And hello to the group from a newbie.)

  2. 2
    Belafon says:

    Female hysteria was considered a medical condition. There was no corresponding male condition.

  3. 3
    Germy says:

    I was working a second-shift job during the Anita Hill hearings, so I watched them in their entirety every day (instead of seeing highlights on the evening news) and it’s one reason why I’ve never considered Joe Biden to be a progressive in any way.

    A nice man, dignified in the face of tragedy, a loyal vice-president, But I can’t shake those memories of his word-salad questions for Anita Hill.

    And is anyone else concerned about Marco Rubio’s health after his robotic performance? Ana Navarro is:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_s0ebldN0kA

  4. 4
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    This.

  5. 5
    Bobby Thomson says:

    I’m never shocked at sexism from brogressives. What I’ve never been able to accept is how the worst critics of women are usually other women, or at least that’s how it looks.

  6. 6
    Genghis says:

    That linked article is a mess. “In a just world, I would be throwing my coffee into your face, I think, and I fucking smile.” Wtf? How is it going to become a just world if you don’t speak your mind? Sounds like she didn’t get the job anyway, and even if she did, why work for someone you despise and won’t confront?

  7. 7
  8. 8
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    This is another one of those hard to unravel intersectionality issues of class/race/gender, where whites, because they generate the cultural paradigm and are the default setting for everything in the culture, can’t really see how race affects everything, and men can’t see how gender affects everything too. Explaining to white males, even well intentioned ones, how much they are way overrepresented in well, everything, is like explaining water to fish. The good news though, is that once white male privilege is seen – really seen, it cannot be unseen.

  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    I was fairly recently out of college and in my first “real” job at a giant corporation when the Thomas confirmation hearings brought all that ugliness out into the open. It was a revelation to me just how oblivious the overwhelming majority of my male peers were to what women face in the workplace.

    I remember one male coworker expressing disbelief that Hill would continue to be cordial to Thomas after he harassed and humiliated her. This dude thought some piece of evidence — a thank-you note or email written in a friendly tone — proved that Hill was lying because why would she continue to be friendly toward a powerful, influential man who had treated her so abominably? We lady folks face-palmed in unison.

  10. 10
    Tim C. says:

    Some variants of aggressive feminism make me feel uncomfortable. That’s why I need to shut up and listen to it, even if I don’t always agree. About that interview though…. ugh…. just ugh and horrible and “Aren’t we supposed to be the good guys?!?!”

  11. 11
    Woodrow/asim says:

    @Germy: I think — and it’s never been explicit, no one seems to have asked him — that the backlash from those questions, his asinine “work” during those hearing, changed Biden.

    That’s not to say he’s perfect today; he recently got called on his tendency to be “handy” with women. Yet I don’t think you go from that performance at the Thomas hearings, to driving the kinds of discussions around harassment he’s reported to have in the Obama Administration, without some soul-searching and reflecting.

    (One might say I’m speaking from personal experience, here…)

    And I really don’t think Dr. Biden would be with his ass today, if he was still that same bro that showed his ass at those hearings.

  12. 12

    I don’t think Clinton will face worse obstructionism than Obama – but I think she will face much worse, openly and not dog whistled sexist insults. If the idea of more insults than Obama has faced is hard to imagine, strap in. The racist sees black men as scary, and tries to stop them. The sexist sees women as vulnerable, and attacks openly. Plus, as those debate questions show, sexism is much less taboo to be caught at.

    @Belafon:
    In the 40s, there was a whole medical craze for treating hysterical women with lobotomies. What a nightmare. Google ‘ice pick lobotomy’ if you don’t want to sleep ever again.

  13. 13
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Genghis: ***face-palm***

  14. 14
    BGinCHI says:

    This was one of the reasons those comments by Albright and Steinem pissed me off. I get that they are older and a bit out of touch (or something), but it was the adoption of that mansplaining, entitled bullshit that floored me.

    Those are two very accomplished women, but Jesus, help young women instead of dismissing them.

    The greatest advice they might offer is: Don’t put up with men who are pigs.

    ETA: Also, and most importantly, teach your sons not to be pigs. It’s not a woman’s responsibility to change the world in one job interview….

  15. 15
    Peale says:

    @Belafon: Ah, but there was! I can’t remember it’s exact name. Neuro something or other – when middle class men could not longer suffer from “melancholia” because that was too much a woman’s disease…they invented a special illness for middle class men that was caused by inactivity and too much thinking. I think Max Weber and Teddy Roosevelt both had it. Yes. They invented a mental disorder brought on by thinking…it looked like hysteria, but men couldn’t have that because, well, no uterus.

  16. 16

    I’m about HRC’s age. At my first academic job interview, the dean asked me if my husband approved of my working full time. I smiled too.

  17. 17
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Jesus. If I’d been subjected to that kind of shit in a job interview someone would have lost some teeth.

    I’m a white guy. I don’t know how women stand it. I don’t know how blacks stand it. I don’t know how anyone stands it. We throw the toxin of our own assured supremacy out into the world and expect that everyone will just sit there and take it with a smile on their face.

    And they almost always do just sit there and take it. I don’t know how. I guess a pecking order is necessary to the stability of human society (it is for all our primate relatives and to assume we’re any different would be true insanity) but it seems like there must be a better way.

  18. 18
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Thank you. That was way more succinct and polite than what I was madly typing in response.

  19. 19
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    It was a stupid, wasteful question, period.

    They should have asked Senator Sanders about Jane, who appears to be a rather dodgy, non-traditional, and casual woman who as a former social worker and college President might not have a clue about haute couture or be able to restrain her intellectual frustration in order to conduct the latest seasonal decorating party as First Lady, much less or what kind of china to order for a State Dinner.

    How would he face the challenge of making his wife physically and gender-stereotypically acceptable to public opinion?

    Was it sexism? Was it an attempt at superficiality and and lightness gone bad? Was it playing to the People magazining of America? Hard to decide.

  20. 20

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:
    They take it because they want a job. it really sucks to not be employable.

  21. 21
    Marc says:

    One other angle is that presidents and their families are expected to go through with all sorts of rituals, whether they actually care about them or not. They’re supposed to eat Phillie Cheese Steaks, watch the Super Bowl, put their hands over their hearts at the Pledge of Allegiance, pay attention to college basketball and make brackets, go to church, the whole nine yards. The idea that, say, a male President might not care about sports is inconceivable to a lot of people, and one who admitted it would be courting a ton of trouble. Seen in this light, asking about decorations in the White House isn’t a unique burden.

  22. 22
    jacy says:

    The boyfriend and I were having date night on Saturday night and watching the final few episodes of Mad Men. We are of a certain age (having both just dissolved 20-year marriages) and so we’ve been around the block a time or two. Watching Joan deal with the comments from sexist clients turned our commentary to misogyny.

    The boyfriend — who is a very liberal/progressive kind of guy — told me that while he can understand the way a woman would feel having to deal with a lifetime’s worth of this shit, he can never really “understand” it. He’s enlightened enough to at least realize that.

    It’s called “patronizing” for a reason.

  23. 23
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    My husband asks me what he can do? My answer is, stop pretending it isn’t real. That’s the problem – white men refuse to acknowledge that there’s been a system in place for hundreds of years that awards them status that they didn’t earn. They all want to believe that they’ve all bootstrapped themselves up.

  24. 24
    randy khan says:

    Things that make me want to drink antifreeze, part 1 million (h/t to Charles Pierce).

    And, really, why would it be so bad for Bill Clinton to pick out china and linens, and preside over the White House Christmas decorations? (Particularly because, in reality, staff does 99% of the work – it’s not like the First Lady goes into the china cabinet to choose the settings to use for the next state dinner; someone gives her three options and she picks one of them.)

  25. 25
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: Remember that Maureen Dowd savaged Howard Dean’s wife over such things.

    @Peale: Neurosis?

  26. 26
    Brandon says:

    @BGinCHI: I am not really sure that Hillary is helping either. Her response seems to be a bit of fence sitting on the issue that really could use a lot more clarity from the candidate herself. Otherwise these words could come back to haunt her.

    “I don’t want people to be offended,” Clinton said. But when asked if she understood why some women did take offense, she suggested political correctness had made Americans overly sensitive.

    “Good grief, we’re getting offended by everything these days!” she said. “People can’t say anything without offending somebody.”

    I think herself and her campaign is trying to have it both ways on this issue, which doesn’t really help at all.

  27. 27
    Princess says:

    I think Doyle’s piece is important. This piece by Coates is also very much worth reading:

    The Enduring Solidarity of Whiteness

    In it he argues, in part, for an intersectional politics in which we recognize that class and race and gender must all be on the table together all the time. Neither of our two candidates, alas, fully speak to that politics. But Clinton at least practices the old Democratic coalition building, where different groups — women, the working class, people of colour — know they have to help each other to get what they need — a kind of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. It isn’t ideal, but I think it is more effective than seeing only one issue as paramount.

  28. 28
    Woodrow/asim says:

    @Genghis: Some things, like Getting A Job, come way before “speaking your mind” for a lot of folks.

    As an African-American male, what Women of all backgrounds, living here in America, have to go through to live day-to-day really reverberates with me. This idea that we “have to speak up!” is BS, because when women and/or marginalized people do, we get shit on. Just look at how the Black Lives Matter folks get crap — just look at the comment threads here, when BLM started to break out, and all the Whiteplaining about how useless their tactics were.

    Speak up — to get Slapped Down. You have to be a sturdy MF to work through that.

    Or in my life, where time and again, because I’m usually quiet, usually reserved, and “speak good” I’ve been told I’m “not like them.” I “blend in” and thus am seen as a “good risk” in many cases.

    But that doesn’t stop doors from locking when I walk by, Nor does it stop cabs for me in the big cities I visit.

    Activism is about choices. It’s about the balance between bread on the table and radical change in the world. Demanding that someone burn every bridge to meet your requirements to be a real activist is some serious BS.

  29. 29
    Chris says:

    @Genghis:

    Wow.

    Just wow.

  30. 30
    MattF says:

    @Peale: Neurasthenia? The Wikipedia article notes (in passing) that the diagnosis was applied ‘especially’ to women– which is a cop-out.

  31. 31
    BGinCHI says:

    @randy khan: It would be better for him to do this than to fuck the WH interns.

    Just sayin.

  32. 32
    jacy says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Also, and most importantly, teach your sons not to be pigs. It’s not a woman’s responsibility to change the world in one job interview….

    Thank dog I’ve raised four boys who really, really, really are not pigs and, more importantly, won’t stand for it when other boys/men are. They’ll say something, even the 10-year-old.

  33. 33
    Belafon says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I’ve seen the PBS special on ice pick lobotomies. That was horrid on many levels.

  34. 34
    Betty Cracker says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne: Yes — stop pretending it isn’t real, and use the unfair advantage to dismantle the crappy system at every opportunity.

  35. 35
    randy khan says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne: @the Conster, la Citoyenne:

    “The good news though, is that once white male privilege is seen – really seen, it cannot be unseen.”

    I try to keep reminding myself that I won the genetic and cultural lottery when I was born a white male to a Protestant family, and that I have had a thousand (probably more) unspoken advantages from that moment on. It’s one reason that affirmative action never bothered me – if I’m getting a hand up, what’s the big deal if somebody else gets one, too? (And, of course, there are positive reasons for affirmative action as well.)

    But, you know, mention that to someone similarly privileged and 95 times out of 100 you will get either a blank look or outright hostility.

  36. 36
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Princess: I’m at the point where Bernie Sanders’s campaign just sounds like BANKS MAKE ME MAD on an endless loop.

  37. 37
    TOP123 says:

    @Betty Cracker: Like/This/Amen! button clicked

  38. 38
    Belafon says:

    @Brandon:

    I am not really sure that Hillary is helping either.

    Is it her job? You might need to reread the article. Read this comment, @Woodrow/asim, as well.

  39. 39
    Pogonip says:

    If liberal sites are read mostly by men, and conservative sites are read mostly by men–what are the women reading? There’s demographic data out there somewhere, but I’m not going to dig it out. If someone just happens to know the answer, please submit it. (And then take the Jeopardy recruitment test.)

  40. 40
    Punchy says:

    If you dont already have a hole punched in the wall, you will soon. THE FUCKING BALLS ON THIS GUY. Read this last nite and nearly destroyed the TV remote. Just unreal.

  41. 41
    BGinCHI says:

    @Brandon: It amazes me when anyone who has been treated like shit forgets what it’s like to be treated like shit.

    Empathy is the most valuable quality for a politician. Hell, probably for a human being in general.

    It’s our greatest evolutionary development.

  42. 42
    Germy says:

    @MattF:
    Dementia praecox?
    Here’s a 1934 essay by Robert Benchley

    All Aboard for Dementia Praecox

    It is a little terrifying, with all that I have to do this week, to discover that I have a dementia praecox into the bargain. “What next?” I often ask myself.

    There is no doubt about the dementia praecox. I’ve got it, all right. The only question now is, can I swing the other things that I have to face? A good case of dementia praecox is about enough for one week.

    I got my data from a report submitted at the American Psychiatric Association. This report said that dementia praecox can be helped by oxygen treatment. And, in passing, the report just happened to mention the symptoms of dementia praecox. Not that any of its readers would find it applicable to themselves—just in passing, you know.

    Early stages: (1) “Defective judgment.” Well, I could keep you here all night giving examples of my defective judgment that would make your blood curdle. I couldn’t even judge a sack-race. On this count I qualify hands down.

    (2) “Retarded perception.” I didn’t even know that the fleet was in until I read Time ten days later.

    (3) “Restrictions in the field of attention.” My attention can be held only by strapping me down to a cot and sitting on my chest. Even then my eyes wander.

    (4) “Deficiency of ethical inhibitions.” I took a course in ethics once, but I didn’t do very well in it. We didn’t know about “inhibitions” in my day. They came in with horn-rimmed glasses and Freud. We just said “Yes, please,” or “No, thanks,” and let it go at that. I don’t know whether I’ve got “ethical inhibitions” or not. Just try me once, that’s all.

    (5) “Silly laughter.” I hold the Interscholastic (New England), Intercollegiate, East Coast Amateur and Open Professional cups for silly laughter. I laugh at anything except a French clown. You can’t be sillier than that.

    * * * * *

    Among the more advanced symptoms of dementia praecox I find to my horror the following:

    (1) “Lack of skill in motor performance.” I was asked to surrender my license while driving an old Model T Ford in 1915 because I could not co-ordinate in time to press the clutch at just the right moment. I also had a little trouble with “right” and “left.” Next to “silly laughter,” “lack of skill in motor performance” is my forte.

    (2) “Stupor.” We need not go into this. The last thing that I remember clearly is that elaborate parade for Admiral Dewey under the arch at Twenty-third street. Since then I have more or less taken things easily. In addition, I can say only that there are hundreds of people willing to bet that I have never had my eyes open. I have no proof to the contrary.

    So dementia praecox it is, boys! And may the best man win!

  43. 43
    mapaghimagsik says:

    @Genghis:

    I realize the first option is to face-palm, but I think it bears at least some attempt at explanation.

    1) We all have jobs and work with people we don’t agree with. You can love the job and realize the co-workers have a long way to go.
    2) The opinion presented by the interviewer is so gob-smacking that sometimes all you can do is smile. You’re not going to get anywhere by pushing back. At least not directly.
    3) Open confrontation many times just runs you into that wall of misogyny. Now you’re a ‘ball breaker’.

    Unlike the commenter that used the term ‘hysterical’, not everyone can be educated when they make a mistake like that. And there is so much education to be done, you’d be unemployed and they’d still be ignorant. I know that sounds defeatist, but there it is.

  44. 44
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @randy khan:

    Well, I can say for my part as a woman trying to point out white male privilege, I get hostility and that hand waving away dismissiveness that every woman knows about. So, as a white male your duty is to bring up the subject with your cohorts, because white men will listen to other white men. Taking a man on that journey to the breakthrough so that they can see, is the job of woken up white men – like only Nixon could go to China.

    Another thing you all could do – show up where there are protests at abortion clinics – most of the protestors are old white men. Go up to them and tell them to fuck off. It shocks them because they’re so entitled.

  45. 45
    boatboy_srq says:

    And our readership, as with most progressive sites, is mostly men.

    Dafuq?

  46. 46
    BGinCHI says:

    @jacy: Exactly. You should be proud of that!

    Here in Norway you see so much less machismo bullshit and pressure on young men. The culture just doesn’t have as much of it. The egalitarian stuff bubbles up from the bottom, where respect starts at home and in the culture.

    I like when conservatives blame culture for everything they don’t like, and then are so often the parents that don’t reinforce the very things they bitch about.

  47. 47
    randy khan says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I’m going to guess he won’t be let near the interns if HRC wins.

    Also, he won’t spend that much time in the White House – he’ll be busy jetting off to do Clinton Global Initiative stuff.

  48. 48
    Brandon says:

    @Belafon: Maybe the issue is that I don’t really understand the article or the point that the article is trying to make. Or perhaps I just don’t buy into the premise. Her campaign actually has spoken up. Her campaign decried comments from the Sanders campaign about considering her for veep as sexist, but when her own surrogates put their foots in their mouths regarding young women that do not support her, the response is “why is everyone so easily offended?”.

  49. 49
    BGinCHI says:

    @Punchy: Your handle needs a !

  50. 50
    randy khan says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne:

    Good points.

    I do, on occasion, point these things out to other white men. Probably not often enough. (That said, I wouldn’t assume they’ll listen to other white men when it’s not in their immediate interest to do so. The number of people who are convinced that they have what they have purely because of inherent merit is quite impressive.)

  51. 51
    Ksmiami says:

    @Pogonip: Balloon Juice. The only site for misfit toys. SATSQ.

  52. 52

    @Ella in New Mexico:

    Was it sexism? Was it an attempt at superficiality and and lightness gone bad? Was it playing to the People magazining of America? Hard to decide.

    You make it sound as if those are mutually incompatible alternatives.

  53. 53
    Brandon says:

    @randy khan: Well, I guarantee that is a major (and very real) scandal waiting to happen if Bill Clinton continues to fly around on private jets, taking money from all and sundry giving private speeches and whatnot.

  54. 54
    MattF says:

    You have to wonder, though, what to do when your paradigmatic white male is simply and flatly blind to what’s right in front of him. I don’t have an easy answer to that.

  55. 55
    Kropadope says:

    “We’re a progressive site,” the man across the table begins, “And our readership, as with most progressive sites, is mostly men. You’ve focused a lot on women’s issues. Would you be comfortable writing something that men would be able to read?”

    So, am I to assume the owners and managers of this site aren’t interested in expanding their readership and that they believe there’s no way that men are interested in reading about issues facing women?

  56. 56
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brandon: Do we have to do this “surrogates” thing every fucking campaign? People who support a candidate say things in public. Rarely are they ordered by the candidate to say these things as a sly strategy.

  57. 57
    Kropadope says:

    @Brandon:

    Her campaign decried comments from the Sanders campaign about considering her for veep as sexist

    Which was a stretch to say the least, but not nearly so much so as the calling his comments about the tone of the gun debate sexist.

  58. 58
    Betty Cracker says:

    Regarding the word “hysterical” — I must’ve missed that scrap in the late night thread, but I used that word myself recently to describe Michele Bachmann. I could argue that my use was defensible because Bachmann really is an unhinged, sky-is-falling ninny and I wouldn’t hesitate to apply the same word to male fellow travelers like Gohmert. But given the word’s history, I’m going to avoid it in the future. There are other words that are just as descriptive without the baggage.

  59. 59
    Goblue72 says:

    I’m sure that commenter last night who clearly made an honest mistake and was unaware of the loaded use of the term really deserved to be shamed on the FP. But hey, this site specializes in mob first, think second, so proceed. John really has handed the keys over to the asylum.

  60. 60

    @BGinCHI:
    Sexism in America has gotten worse since the 80s (scary thought, that) and I place the blame squarely on the cultural standard that sprung up then defining men’s value based on how much sex they get, enforced at the adolescent level with physical violence. What that does to a growing male’s view of women is toxic as Hell.

  61. 61
    mapaghimagsik says:

    @Goblue72:
    The arc of Balloon Juice is long, but bends toward thoughtful commentary.

  62. 62
    nutella says:

    @Kropadope:

    am I to assume the owners and managers of this site aren’t interested in expanding their readership and that they believe there’s no way that men are interested in reading about issues facing women?

    No need to assume it! Since the guy said so.

  63. 63
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @randy khan:

    One of the comments that resonated the most from the Propane Jane tweets about race/class intersectionality, is how she points out that whites don’t even call bullshit on their own racist family members, yet all of the Bernfeeling Bros are going to wave their Bernie signs at racist whites in the red states and get them to vote for policies that will raise up “those people”? Think about the audaciousness/cluelessness/arrogance of that kind of blinkered white male entitlement. It’s fucking ridiculous. A substantial amount of those bros are already making noises about taking their ball and going home if Bernie isn’t the one, because that’s how fucking privilege gets maintained. Miss me with that.

  64. 64
    Kropadope says:

    @Betty Cracker: I think part of the issue is that many of us grew up in an environment where the word “hysterical” lost that sort of misogynistic connotation, its etymology notwithstanding. More often than not, when I see someone use the word hysterical, they’re describing something exceedingly funny. I’ve also seen it used to describe someone raving mad, but is also applied to both genders. Obviously, the word itself is gendered, but I can understand someone not knowing that.

  65. 65
    BGinCHI says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Agreed. With visions of Empire and Exceptionalism comes violence and meanness.

    There is a reason Republicans always punch down. Fear and control.

    Thanks Rambo.

  66. 66
    Felonius Monk says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne:

    as a white male your duty is to bring up the subject with your cohorts, because white men will listen to other white men.

    And that usually works about as well as us liberals trying to explain to those conservatives that they’ve headed down the wrong path politically. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try, but this is not the panacea.

  67. 67
    henqiguai says:

    @Frankensteinbeck(#20):

    They take it because they want a job. it really sucks to not be employable.

    Wait, Franken.., thought you were white. How come you know these things so facilely? Sadly, that *is* part of the equation.

  68. 68
    BGinCHI says:

    @mapaghimagsik:

    The arc of Balloon Juice is long, but bends toward pet photos.

    Fixed.

  69. 69
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    Well, who will white men listen to then? This has really gotten old.

  70. 70
    Dmbeaster says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I don’t think Clinton will face worse obstructionism than Obama – but I think she will face much worse, openly and not dog whistled sexist insults.

    This. Sexism is just simply more acceptable than racism for way too many people. And the Obama years have resulted in a large fraction of the country deciding that letting their racist freak fly is just another blow against political correctness. They will have no restraint against sexism.

  71. 71
    Chris says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    I would agree with this. The kind of person who automatically dismisses anything that comes from a nonwhite person or a woman will only take about five seconds longer to dismiss a white male who argues on their behalf. “Class traitor” and “race traitor” and whatever the gender version of that was aren’t as popular expressions as they used to be, but the basic logic remains.

  72. 72
    nutella says:

    @Goblue72:

    shamed on the FP

    If AL had wanted to ‘shame’ the guy who didn’t know that hysterical was a gendered term she could have given his nym or a link to his comments. Instead she used that un-named person as an example of a lack of knowledge that should be addressed and addressed it in a general way so we can all learn from it.

    I see you are quite determined not to learn from it but this discussion will be useful to others.

    ETA to add reply link

  73. 73
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Kropadope: True. I didn’t mean it as a gendered insult when I applied it to Bachmann, and maybe the person mentioned in the OP didn’t either — I honestly don’t know since I missed that convo. It’s a teachable moment for me, is all I’m saying.

  74. 74
    Brachiator says:

    The male progressive cited is full of shit. The idea that male interests should determine what is progressive is full of shit. It always astonishes me that what someone like Glenn Greenwald and others define as civil liberties issues is supposed to be determinative, while the conservative assault on women’s bodies is for some, not a civil liberties issue.

    Clinton and her candidacy can be a useful platform for discussing the status of women. But it is not going to gain her any extra sympathy votes. And in some ways the rational observation that men do not understand what women go through is a dead end when it comes to the election. It would have been absurd to say, “vote for Obama, because you don’t understand what black people have gone through.”

    And it is still insulting that some pundits want to insist that Obama is president only because white people wanted to feel good or be a part of history in electing the first black president. If this helped Obama get over the top, fine, but if it were the primary reason for a person’s vote, that voter was an idiot. And this does not explain sufficiently why Obama kicked ass in his re-election.

    Also, the blubbering over white male privilege sometimes disguises white privilege, which is simply white racism for people afraid to fess up, and how some white women are not just angry over inequality, but also because they so desperately want a place at the table of power next to white men, where they can kick the shit out of those they see as their inferiors.

  75. 75
    Paul in KY says:

    @Belafon: Going berserker, maybe?

  76. 76
    MattF says:

    @Felonius Monk: Well, also, the managerial types who make hiring decisions are rarely ‘progressive’ and are not generally inclined to have their decisions reviewed by the masses. I get weary of complaints about self-perpetuating power elites, but there’s some truth there.

  77. 77
    maurinsky says:

    @Genghis:

    I think many women are trained to avoid conflict, and I know I have avoided speaking up when my fury was so great that it would turn into angry red faced crying, something to be avoided at all costs. Having been married to a man who laughed at me when I got angry and red-faced and crying (we are now thankfully divorced!), I did eventually learn how to speak my mind without getting too expressive about how I actually feel, something I learned from acting classes. And I taught my daughters, too – when they had a looming conversation with someone who would press their buttons, we would rehearse it.

  78. 78
    Paul in KY says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: I think she should have said that Bill would be involved with all the normal first spouse stuff.

  79. 79

    @Iowa Old Lady: I am about 35 years younger than Hilary Clinton. I, until very recently, had a job that involves a lot of evening meetings, and a lot of travel. I have been asked if my husband minds that I’m out so much and how I prepare dinner (!!!!!!), and, by people who know I am married, who watches my kids when I travel. And I have had a co-worker straight up tell me that they didn’t understand how a mom could do this job and balance things with the kids-while there were about three dads on our team as well.

    Plus ca change…

  80. 80
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    Well, I just found out from my sister that her white wealthy (2nd) husband likes Bernie and Trump because neither can be bought and speak their mind, and that men will no way vote for a woman because it scares them.

    So, that’s the fucking bullshit we’re dealing with here.

  81. 81
    gene108 says:

    whether electing her will emasculate not only Bill Clinton but the nation itself.

    Above is one reason I think it is Hillary or bust to elect a woman to the White House.

    A lot of men and maybe some women, will be uncomfortable with the idea that a man had to put his career and life on hold, in order to support his wife’s professional ambitions.

    With Bill, there’s no way Hillary can top her husband by becoming President.

    The idealized power dynamic of women not usurping a man’s role as head of the house is somewhat left intact.

  82. 82
    Paul in KY says:

    @BGinCHI: Wonder if that goes back to all the overt machismo of the Viking times? Got a lot of them killed back then.

  83. 83
    Monala says:

    @Kropadope: @Betty Cracker: instead of hysterical: hilarious works well for exceedingly funny. As for Michelle Bachmann, “unhinged, sky-is-falling ninny” is quite the good description. :)

  84. 84
    Paul in KY says:

    @randy khan: A man hears what he wants to hear & disregards the rest…

    One of the most true song lyrics ever written.

  85. 85
    Genghis says:

    @mapaghimagsik:

    Thanks for your articulate reply.

    Believe me, I have had to work for folks I didn’t like, but over time I learned to confront problems directly, if subtly and sensitively. Instead of building up resentment, which creates it’s own feedback loop of inner dialog that will be triggered by a slight offense in the future (eg., facepalm), I think it’s better to deal with it as carefully and honestly as possible. I have no problem imagining a scenario where instead of coming up with bs the interviewee thought the interviewer wanted to hear, she could have simply asked questions forcing the interviewer to clarify their statements. A skilled response would have had the interviewer eating out of her hands.

    I’m not suggesting the coffee throwing approach, but kissing a** and simmering isn’t particularly healthy and won’t change the problem at hand.

    What’s the worst that can happen by being honest, sensitive and fair? It may take longer to find your place but you’ll be much happier, more fulfilled, and valued.

  86. 86
    Paul in KY says:

    @Betty Cracker: I think ‘fucking nuts’ works quite well. especially when applied to Ms. Bachmann & her ilk.

  87. 87
    Peale says:

    @Paul in KY: It isn’t the same “job” that it used to be and probably never was that way. The idea that the first lady is the nation’s homemaker, who holds “decorating parties” and meets that wives of the Washington Elite in Rose Garden coffee klatches hasn’t been the function or the role for my lifetime. And even if it were, Bill would probably do as good of job at figuring out how to select a place setting as anyone else. You don’t actually get to be President and Governor by thinking “oh my, that lady stuff is all so complicated and mysterious” like the learned helplessness of a sitcom dad who is asked to help plan a wedding and “gets everything wrong” (hahaha). If those tasks are what he must do, he’ll do that. Just like whomever the first First Gentleman will have to do.

  88. 88
    Genghis says:

    @maurinsky:

    VERY TRUE.

    Learning to confront is a valuable skill. The women in my life are rather good at it, fwiw.

  89. 89
    Starfish says:

    @gene108: I really do not like the nepotism aspect of electing Hillary Clinton, and we can have a first woman president without men having to wrestle with the idea of a man being emasculated if we elect a lesbian president. Do I go too far?

  90. 90
    Paul in KY says:

    @maurinsky: Good idea with the daughters. Glad you cast that loser loose.

  91. 91
    Felonius Monk says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne:

    This has really gotten old.

    Yeah, it has gotten old. I think misogyny is basically bullying. Bullys are not usually easy to confront and even when they are called out they revert back to their old ways when the confrontation is over. In the long run, the anti-bullying campaigns that are being implemented in schools will help to make future adult males more sensitive to this problem, but that doesn’t do much for the here and now.

    I don’t know what the solution is, but certainly for us men to ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist is not right.

  92. 92
    Brachiator says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I don’t think Clinton will face worse obstructionism than Obama – but I think she will face much worse, openly and not dog whistled sexist insults. If the idea of more insults than Obama has faced is hard to imagine, strap in.

    I agree with you about the obstructionism, but I don’t know if there is much point in trying to predict or quantify in advance what level of sexism Clinton may be subjected to, or to try to measure racism and sexism on some absolute scale of outrage.

    Also, it sometimes sounds as if people are thinking that Hillary Clinton, if elected, will be the first female leader ever elected in the history of the universe. We Americans need to get over ourselves.

  93. 93
    Paul in KY says:

    @Genghis: That tends to work better when you are a dude, IMO.

  94. 94
    Starfish says:

    @Genghis: How do you carefully address the issue that your employer does not offer short term disability insurance for pregnant employees and is all “The FMLA does not apply to us because we only have thirty employees”? How do you get that dude to realize that he is making it so all the lady employees have to discuss their familial intentions directly with him when they should not have to?

  95. 95

    @henqiguai:
    Because I’m paying attention? I would not hesitate to defer to a woman or minority correcting me, but you just confirmed my statement. There are many, many other elements, but I figured ‘long-winded’ would impede people who don’t get it from accepting a simple, visceral point.

  96. 96
    Paul in KY says:

    @Peale: That stuff still goes on. Probably a small part of the overall duties, but there are still ‘domestic’ kinds of things that Mrs. Obama & Mrs. Bush & so on took part in & (IMO) Bill (if please God Hillary wins) should do too. Might bring a different spin to it.

  97. 97

    […] Ann Laurie’s post  over at Balloon Juice reminded me of the obvious: being aware of the experience of others takes […]

  98. 98
    Paul in KY says:

    @Starfish: Sounds to me like if he is correct about the FMLA thing, then what’s to discuss? If he is wrong, he needs to be educated about his mistake & if he still holds out, then report him to whatever agency is in charge of enforcing the FMLA statutes.

  99. 99

    I don’t know about you when I read the word intersectional or some such academic jargon my eyes just start to glaze over, even though I am largely sympathetic to the issue at hand. How one talks about things also matters.

  100. 100
    Monala says:

    The Salon article Doyle links to is horrifying. Why do some progressives think that if we let the Republicans burn it all down, a progressive utopia will rise from the ashes? Not yo mention all the suffering people will experience in the meantime.

  101. 101
    Mike in NC says:

    I went to the drugstore this morning and encountered three elderly white men in line before me. They were grunting and moaning about Hillary Clinton and when one of them said, “I think she belongs in jail” the other guys nodded enthusiastically.

    They must be at home now, watching FOX News from the comfort of their recliners.

  102. 102
    glory b says:

    @Genghis: Paying for bills/tuition/food/etc.?

    Sheesh. My father and grandparents and great grands and on down the line didn’t like picking cotton and would have thought a job indoors was an improvement (BTW, my Dad went to college and was a teacher, counselor and school principal, my Mom was a nurse).

  103. 103
    Genghis says:

    @Starfish:

    More details please, as many as possible. I am self employed (since I was 17) so I have no experience with this sort of issue. My wife is also self-employed since 1998. Heading to work now, but will look again this evening.

    All of these confrontations benefit from knowing yourself and knowing the personality you will be dealing with, so that sort of info would be helpful as well.

  104. 104
    Starfish says:

    @Paul in KY: Well, in that situation, he could offer short-term disability, and he had mentioned that he was considering it several times. But then nothing came of it. Repeatedly. For years.

  105. 105
    Brachiator says:

    @Peale:

    The idea that the first lady is the nation’s homemaker, who holds “decorating parties” and meets that wives of the Washington Elite in Rose Garden coffee klatches hasn’t been the function or the role for my lifetime. And even if it were, Bill would probably do as good of job at figuring out how to select a place setting as anyone else.

    Being First Lady is a ceremonial position. There has always been a “society” in Washington, and the presumption has been that the wife of the president will be Number 1 as hostess with the mostess.

    Oddly enough, the first person to be officially called First Lady was Harriet Lane, the niece of bachelor president Buchanan in the 1850s.

    I can’t see Bill Clinton doing ceremonial duties as First Gentleman, and would hope to see a President Clinton hire a Protocol Officer, male or female, to handle this social part of the White House.

  106. 106
    glory b says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: I’m a bit younger. I had an admin assistant who was older than me tell me about a job she had where all of the members of the secrtarial pool had to sit on their boss’s lap in order to get their Xmas bonus checks.

  107. 107
    Starfish says:

    @Genghis: This was a company of about 30 employees. Most of the employees were men. I was an unmarried woman at the time. A married woman asked about perhaps having short-term disability as a benefit, and the main boss said he would consider it. But a manager under him said, “The FMLA does not apply to us because we have less than 50 employees.” As the unmarried woman sitting there, I thought “Shit, if I get pregnant, I could be destitute” even though this is a professional job with reasonable pay.

  108. 108
    rk says:

    @Belafon:

    I had an aunt who was diagnosed with “Hysteria”. She had suffered a severe emotional trauma and was almost incapacitated. She died within 15 days and her family were told she died of “Hysteria”. This happened long before I was born. Later on I read in a book that this was just some made up nonsensical condition which women were told they had. I’ve always wondered what happened to her and had she been a man would the doctor treated her differently.

  109. 109
    MattF says:

    @Mike in NC: Yeah, it’s a RWNJ meme. I’d guess Limbaugh is the source, rather than FOX– but since I don’t listen to or watch either one, I really don’t know.

  110. 110
    Genghis says:

    @Paul in KY:

    It works for my wife just fine, but again – she’s self employed. She got that way (self employed that is) by confronting bs at two companies she worked for. After her confrontation(s), multiple high ranking men, including a company president lost their jobs.

    It’s not an easy road – but it’s the right one.

  111. 111
    PJ says:

    @Genghis: The worst that can happen is that you are perpetually unemployed, which has been known to lead to homelessness, poor nutrition, and lack of medical care. I agree that constructive engagement is the best way to deal with ignorance, but there are times when the power imbalance means that any kind of engagement which does not provide the answer the person with power is seeking will lead to a denial of human necessities or violence.

  112. 112
    msdc says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    I don’t think Clinton will face worse obstructionism than Obama – but I think she will face much worse, openly and not dog whistled sexist insults.

    If the result is to galvanize women against the GOP the way they have already galvanized minority voters, then bring it on.

    Then again, large swaths of the electorate have already shown that they are totally comfortable with the amount of sexism and vitriol directed at Clinton, so maybe nothing will change. But it seems to me that a policy of openly sexist obstructionism has a much more significant downside than the more-or-less openly racist obstructionism of the last eight years, which was mostly aimed at people who already voted against the GOP in large numbers.

    I completely agree that they just won’t be able to stop themselves from trying it anyway.

  113. 113
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mike in NC: You should have said (and I have): ‘You shouldn’t talk that way about our next President’. I do it with a big shit-eating grin.

  114. 114
    Paul in KY says:

    @Starfish: I think he’s been lying to you. Has no intent of doing that. Must cost him some money in some way.

  115. 115
    Paul in KY says:

    @Brachiator: What’s wrong with him doing the duty, if that’s his role? I think Bill could be a great host! I know he can schmooze very well.

  116. 116
    glory b says:

    @randy khan: Last year I saw an HGTV special about the White House at xmas. They host an average of three events a day between Thanksgiving and New Years and putting the whole thing together is a marvel of engineeing, scheduling and performance.

    Trust me, the people who pull off this could lead armies.

  117. 117
    Paul in KY says:

    @Genghis: I still think that * generally * it works better for a dude.

    Glad your wife is able to do that. Wish all women could.

  118. 118
    kc says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Some people would say that’s ableist.

  119. 119
    Starfish says:

    @Paul in KY: I left this job after a little under three years, but it really bothered me that I did not know how to support my married coworker in that situation. The benefits she was asking for were a thing that would have been more relevant to me in a year or two.

    This company was repeatedly rolling out benefits to new employees and not telling existing employees about the new benefits, creating hard feelings among the existing employees. This created a situation where they could have a few senior engineers and a whole bunch of inexpensive junior engineers.

  120. 120
    J R in WV says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Worse yet perhaps, look up and read about JFK’s mentally handicapped sister, who had a lobotomy when she became “hard to handle” – they basically used their fortune to damage her brain even more, and then throw her away when she began to assert a personality and normal human desires. They being Jack’s mom and dad. exert

  121. 121
    henqiguai says:

    @Starfish(#90):

    I really do not like the nepotism aspect of electing Hillary Clinton

    You, um, *do* know the individual running for the Democratic presidential nomination is Hillary Clinton, not Chelsea, right? So nepotism is not in play. Or is English not your first language?

  122. 122
    Origuy says:

    @randy khan:

    I’m going to guess he won’t be let near the interns if HRC wins.

    He’s also twenty years older and has had several heart surgeries. The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is surely weaker.

  123. 123
    Jared says:

    Google “David Brock Anita Hill.” Hillary Clinton isn’t transcending sexism – she’s employing it! How could you support a woman who hired that guy to run her super pac?

  124. 124
    Goblue72 says:

    @nutella: Did I use the word? No. Did I object to the need to be sensitive around its gendered history? No. Was I aware of its gendered history already? Yes.

    So can the idea you know what I did or did not need to learn.

    I was on the thread last night. Some commenter used the word hysterical. Seemingly without knowledge of the sensitivities around its use. He/she was immediately pounded on for being sexist and then lectured at. Because that’s exactly what you should do in a teachable moment. Then you should publicly shame that person.

  125. 125
    John D. says:

    @Chris: Even if they *do* dismiss it five seconds later, the effort has to be made, because it will never get better without it.

    It may not get better with it. Effort is no guarantee of success. But nothing improves if we don’t try.

  126. 126
    satby says:

    @Genghis: So, you’re from Brigadoon then? Because

    It may take longer to find your place but you’ll be much happier, more fulfilled, and valued

    leaves me feeling like you haven’t met the kind of discrimination that women, and especially older women, face.

    Edited to add: if you need a job, honestly responding to some subtle bigotry is not going to win the interview.

  127. 127
    Paul in KY says:

    @kc: Please teach me. What is ‘ableist’ about calling her (or anyone who spouts her crackpot ideas) ‘fucking nuts’?

  128. 128
    Paul in KY says:

    @Starfish: I’m sorry you & your coworkers were in that situation. I hope things are better for you now.

  129. 129
    Kropadope says:

    @henqiguai:

    You, um, *do* know the individual running for the Democratic presidential nomination is Hillary Clinton, not Chelsea, right? So nepotism is not in play. Or is English not your first language?

    The word nepotism, if you want to take it that literally, would apply to a grandchild, not a child. But in reality, common usage would apply it to any relative.

  130. 130
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jared: Google “recant.”

  131. 131
    Ruviana says:

    @henqiguai: Uhhh, the “nepotism” rule has in the past been used to prevent spouses (usually wives) from being hired at the same place as the other spouse (usually the husband), It might classically refer to offspring but it’s generally meant relatives of all sorts. Perhaps here it’s the “dynasty” quality that’s an issue even though similar arguments could be made about the meaning of that word. It’s come up about the Bush family as well though that seems to be waning, happily.

  132. 132
    Paul in KY says:

    @satby: Like that response! Brigadoon is a great quip!

  133. 133
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Kropadope: I believe “nepotism” taken literally means giving your nephew a job.

  134. 134
    Paul in KY says:

    @Kropadope: I think it can only be ‘nepotism’ when the relative is obviously unsuited for job & only has it due to their relative’s grace. Sen/Sec of State Clinton is quite suited for Presidency.

  135. 135
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Paul in KY: The idea is that “nuts” and related pejorative words are insensitive and derogatory towards actual people with mental illness, like how “lame” might be taken by people with mobility problems. I don’t know if I’m sold on it myself but that’s the theory.

  136. 136
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Goblue72: Aren’t you the person who says that anyone who disagrees with you is probably old and square, even though you’re a self-declared Gen Xer and thus presumably deep into your 30s at best? Teachable moment, teach thyself.

  137. 137
    nutella says:

    @Goblue72:

    Then you should publicly shame that person.

    Nobody did. Last night or today.

    God, you are dim.

  138. 138
    henqiguai says:

    @Kropadope(#129):

    The word nepotism, if you want to take it that literally, would apply to a grandchild, not a child.

    Nephew, not grandchild. The original, Italian, usage referred to the nephew of a pope raised to cardinal. There are other terms which might be more appropriate for what you’re trying to describe, but none of them would be appropriate in this instance. Senator → Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is running on her own damned accomplishments. Or were those other well regarded accomplishments of her’s *also* nepotism?

  139. 139
    Kropadope says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I thought it was nephew too, but I haven’t taken Latin in 20 years so I looked it up. Multiple sources said “nepotes” means grandson.

    @Paul in KY: I would say that she didn’t particularly distinguish herself in her previous roles, to be charitable. You can hold her up against the Republicans and it makes her look way better, but the same could be said of a ham sandwich.

  140. 140
    Applejinx says:

    Actually, I like the idea of Bill Clinton being emasculated, but I’m not sure it’s worth the downside of not having a more Socialist President.

    He’d BETTER be if it goes down that way, because otherwise you have the Cheney problem in another way. We’re not electing both of them. I wouldn’t want Bill again, particularly on economic issues I don’t think he was any good at all. Amazing charisma, though, in a sort of bad-boy way.

  141. 141
    Peale says:

    @henqiguai: In either case, it doesn’t actually apply to positions that are elected. She ran for the Senate and won. And if people think it was a done deal that she would win because New York is so faithfully blue that she might as well have been appointed, I would say that while she had an easier time winning in New York than she would have in Idaho, or Texas, the Senator from New York is still not a spoils post.

  142. 142
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    I think he’s been lying to you. Has no intent of doing that. Must cost him some money in some way.

    @Starfish: @Paul in KY: Not sure why any boss would; the states cover short-term disability.

    Long term is another story.

  143. 143
    Paul in KY says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Sounds like PCism run amok there (IMO). Thank you for answering question.

  144. 144
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    He/she was immediately pounded on for being sexist and then lectured at. Because that’s exactly what you should do in a teachable moment. Then you should publicly shame that person.

    @Goblue72: And that’s how you end up with a lifelong Republican voter. Hooray for counterproductive educational techniques!

  145. 145
    MattF says:

    @Paul in KY: There was a to-do a few years ago when a young writer named Adam Bellow wrote ‘In Praise of Nepotism.’ There’s also the Bill Kristol thing.

  146. 146
    Paul in KY says:

    @Applejinx: I certainly agree that if I’m voting for Hillary, then Hillary is what I want & she should be making all final decisions (after discussing with advisors, including Bill, I’m sure).

    She doesn’t seem to be the type that would let Bill be a defacto President, like Batshit McChimpy allowed Cheney to be.,

  147. 147
    goblue72 says:

    @nutella: I can’t recall the nym of the commenter who used it, but several people went straight to jumping on him/her without first even going to the “um, you may not know this but…”

  148. 148
    C.V. Danes says:

    but smiling is just what you do, if you’re a woman, and a feminist,

    Perhaps that’s part of the problem, and not just with feminists but with progressives in general. Too much smiling.

  149. 149
    Paul in KY says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: Maybe he just erroneously thought it would cost him money or maybe he was a lazy person who didn’t want to take time to fill out whatever paperwork would be necessary?

  150. 150
    Paul in KY says:

    @Kropadope: I think she did a fine job as Sec. of State. Pres. Obama thought she did. Senator from NY, not up-to-speed on that. Would have to let NY voters chime in on that.

  151. 151
    Paul in KY says:

    @MattF: Haven’t read it & probably won’t. Guess that was/is my personal definition of nepotism. Sort of like Justice Stewarts “I know it when I see it”.

  152. 152
    ellie says:

    @Germy: Thank you! Why don’t people remember his behavior? I can’t stand him. Uncle Joe my ass.

  153. 153
    Elizabelle says:

    Margaret and Helen have a great column up. There is a reason big girls don’t cry. We haven’t the time.

    Reminds (younger) women how far we’ve come; offers some cautions on revolutions.

    Worth a read.

    If it is a revolution you want, I can sympathize. I been fighting a revolution too. I just thought you should know that while a revolution might start in your lifetime, it doesn’t necessarily end before you die. I am ready for my revolution… no OUR revolution to come to an end if for no other reason than opening the way for yours to begin. I expect greatness from the women of your generation even if I won’t be around to experience it.

    Personally, I don’t think the Democratic Party running so far to the left is helpful when the Republican Party has gone so far to the right. I might be wrong but I fear Bernie’s revolution won’t even make it to the White House much less through Congress. But if you insist on Sanders and he gets the nomination, I will join you in your revolution. And if Hillary gets the nomination, and I believe she will, I hope you will join me in finishing mine. You might be surprised, however, that Hillary could very well be the one you were looking for all along. She’s been fighting for the underdog all of her career.

  154. 154
    Applejinx says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Say what? I’m absolutely GenX (Atari wave) and I’m 47. What did you think GenX meant?

  155. 155
    gex says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Misogyny is taught by the culture, women aren’t exempt from those lessons.

  156. 156
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Maybe he just erroneously thought it would cost him money or maybe he was a lazy person who didn’t want to take time to fill out whatever paperwork would be necessary?

    @Paul in KY: Perhaps I was not clear. The employer does not have to do anything for his employees to get short-term disability. That’s between the employee and the state. The employer has nothing to do with it.

    Like I said, long term disability is another thing entirely, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

  157. 157
    Kropadope says:

    @Paul in KY: As Senator from NY, she proved particularly unwilling to go out on a limb, even to the point of uncritically signing on to a war effort being sold by bold faced lies.

    As SoS her primary roles were as Obama cabinet’s shill for every war Republicans asked for and leading the economic warfare effort against Iran. Of course she was popular, though. Not being part of the Bush administration, regardless of anything else she did, would make any SoS look like a blessing.

  158. 158
    Brachiator says:

    @Paul in KY:

    What’s wrong with him doing the duty, if that’s his role? I think Bill could be a great host! I know he can schmooze very well.

    A former president escorting the wives of leaders around the Rose Garden? Seems a waste of time and talent.

    Also, as First Ladies increasingly have their own careers, it is an antiquated idea that the First Lady or First Gentleman has to be the unofficial leader of Washington society.

    What if we have another bachelor president? Or a widowed or divorced president? If you need the ceremonial role, just hire somebody to do it.

  159. 159
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Applejinx: Goblue72 goes on benders where he or she decides that the politics of Balloon Juice are defined by the stuffy blue-haired Baby Boomers that allegedly dominate the commentariat, which is why they’re just not hip to the youths of today, like Goblue is.

  160. 160
    Brachiator says:

    @Elizabelle:

    You might be surprised, however, that Hillary could very well be the one you were looking for all along.

    Part of this is a generational thing. There are a lot of young women and men for whom Hillary Clinton is just another political figure, not the presumptive first woman president of the United States. Her time may have passed, and it is somewhat insulting for Steinem and others to act as though all women somehow “owe” Hillary their vote.

  161. 161
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Kropadope: Um, there are in fact wars that Democrats ask for, whether you support them or not — it was one of the big internecine progressive/liberal/left debates of the 1990s. You can fault Hillary Clinton for using that lens to think about war and peace but you can’t say that it’s doing Republicans’ bidding when she does.

  162. 162
    Kropadope says:

    @Brachiator:

    Her time may have passed, and it is somewhat insulting for Steinem and others to act as though all women somehow “owe” Hillary their vote.

    Furthermore, it’s insulting and self-refuting to say that that any woman who doesn’t agree with her conclusion is letting others make their decisions for them.

  163. 163
    Brandon says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Do we have to do this “surrogates” thing every fucking campaign? People who support a candidate say things in public. Rarely are they ordered by the candidate to say these things as a sly strategy.

    Sure. But when the comments are made at an official campaign rally with the candidate standing right next to the person, then I think I think it becomes a bit more relevant.

    I also don’t think it is any coincidence that right after Iowa, there has been a spate of attacks through articles and surrogates about young women not supporting Hillary that reflect the same mindset. The Clinton campaign has done very little if anything to counter any of this. It’s a bizarre campaign strategy.

  164. 164
    Paul in KY says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: Cool! Thank you for clarifying.

  165. 165
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brandon: Maybe it’s because women who support Hillary Clinton want other women to support Hillary Clinton and are frustrated when they don’t, rather than being orchestrated as a campaign strategy.

  166. 166
    Kropadope says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Hillary gets in line every time someone starts beating the war drums and generally it is the Republicans doing so. She repeats the bogus arguments in favor of war uncritically. This isn’t the behavior of a leader, nor does it demonstrate good judgment.

  167. 167
    Paul in KY says:

    @Brachiator: It might be a waste of talent, but if that’s the job, you do the job. IMO, it is patronizing to think that because this person was once President (and a male, of course) that doing the job of First Spouse is a waste of time or demeaning, etc.

    I’m sure he would have plenty of time to give his 2 cents to Hillary & also to act as an intermediary (when Hillary wanted him to do that).

  168. 168
    Paul in KY says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Get off my lawn!!!

  169. 169
    Brachiator says:

    @Peale:

    I would say that while she had an easier time winning in New York than she would have in Idaho, or Texas, the Senator from New York is still not a spoils post.

    True it’s not a spoils post, but Robert Kennedy was accused of political carpetbagging when he ran for Senator from New York.

    And there was a lot of negative sentiment when Caroline Kennedy considered running for this Senate seat, and she ultimately withdrew from consideration.

  170. 170
    gvg says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Sexism has NOT gotten worse since the 80’s IMO. It hasn’t improved as much as it should have, but it’s not …as bad. Watch some 70’s TV shows you liked at the time or otherwise step back. It’s better, some better.
    We’re going to see it’s not good though if Hillary is elected.

    When the right went nuts over Obama’s election, I learned far more than I wanted to about how the bigots were not the majority, but they became very loud. I think they thought that everyone white agreed with them but was “too polite” to say so. They think political correctness means people aren’t supposed to say certain things and they don’t understand that the reason you aren’t supposed to say those things is that it’s wrong to believe those things and you bring shame on yourself it you show that. Many of them were expecting a really different result than the polls showed so they didn’t really let their hate flags fly till after he was elected.
    Now I think we may experience something like that again from the sexists. Only thing I can think of to do about it is think about any way to exposed clearly that it’s not the majority even if they are loud. I have been warned by the attacks on contraception. There is no way to avoid it. If Sanders is the Nominee, the attacks will be about socialism. these people are in permanent hate the others mode.

  171. 171
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Kropadope: Feel free to question her judgment but I’m still going to deny that it’s in any way a Republican outlook. It’s consistent and continuous with the use of military force in Bosnia/Kosovo/Somalia/Rwanda when Bill was president.

  172. 172
    glory b says:

    @Jared: Bernie Sanders has Tad Devine running his entire election! Google “Tad Devine John Corzine.” He ran the campaign of the CEO of Goldman Sachs!

    He worked for Winston & Strawn, who defended General Electric and was involved in hostile takeovers!

    How could you support a man who hired that guy to run his campaign?

    Gee, that was fun!

  173. 173
    Brachiator says:

    @Paul in KY:

    IMO, it is patronizing to think that because this person was once President (and a male, of course) that doing the job of First Spouse is a waste of time or demeaning, etc.

    I also said that the ceremonial role of First Lady is largely a waste of time for many of the women who have been placed in this role.

    And yeah, considering some of the amazing work that a former president like Jimmy Carter did after leaving office, the idea of Bill Clinton picking out dinnerware patterns and decorating the White House is just stupid.

    Unless of course Hillary wanted to punish him for some of his past bad behavior. Then it would be as funny as shit. Still a waste of time.

  174. 174
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @glory b: Yup. I’ve been thinking that if Devine were running the Hillary Clinton campaign instead, Team Bernie would have made him this year’s Mark Penn, RAHM!, or worse.

  175. 175
    Monala says:

    @Applejinx: Gen X began in 1965 and ended in 1981 (since kids born in 1982 turned 18 in 2000, they were the first Millennials). Gen-Xers today range in age from 34/35 to 50/51. So yeah, someone in their 30’s and a 47 year old can both be Gen X.

    I’m guessing the 72 in goblue’s handle refers to birth year? So goblue is 43/44? I think goblue is getting crapped on for so often crapping on Boomers, as though zhe were a youngin’.

    FYI, fellow Gen-Xer here.

  176. 176
    Barbara says:

    I am beginning to think that the definition of progressive is “equality for all so long as mostly white men still end up being more equal than everyone else.”

    One of the more successful women in my office is not well-liked. Someone (someone I really like) complained to me that whenever you have to deal with her in resolving a conflict over clients or strategy, it’s always so unpleasant. I used to not say anything, now I say things like, “Maybe she has learned that being pushy or seeming abrasive is the only way anyone ever listens to her.” Because that’s the truth. If you are quiet they walk all over you. If you speak up, you’re loud and pushy. Between the two, it’s better to speak up. At least you will not be ignored. It’s just exhausting.

  177. 177
    Emma says:

    @glory b: Don’t waste your time. The Berniebots will find a reason why in that case, and that case ONLY, it’s the right thing to do.

    I’m starting to feel like the old and probably completely apocryphal Gandhi quote ‘I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. I like Bernie just fine and will happily support him in the general election if he happens to be the candidate. His fanboys and girls… not so much.

  178. 178
    Monala says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I agree that Albright and Steinem’s* comments are insulting, and I am leaning toward Clinton in this race. Who said upthread that it would be better to use this as a teaching moment in order to win young women’s votes, rather than insulting them? I agree with that.

    * Not really surprised about Steinem, since she made similar insulting comments about Obama supporters back in 2008. Although if I’m not mistaken, she later apologized. Not sure she really learned a lesson, though.

  179. 179
    Paul in KY says:

    @Brachiator: See, that dovetails with my definition! What had Caroline Kennedy ever done to merit a US Senator position?

  180. 180
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Monala: Eh. I don’t remember a lot of sheepishness on the part of the Sanders campaign after he said that Planned Parenthood and Human Rights Campaign were part of the establishment.

  181. 181
    Paul in KY says:

    @Brachiator: That’s not the ONLY thing he would be doing. probably a small part of job. But if picking out the china pattern is one of the minor things a First Spouse is supposed to do, then fucking do it.

  182. 182
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Paul in KY: Do you remember how the prevalent mood of DailyKos regulars was that Caroline Kennedy should get the gig and Kirsten Gillibrand was unacceptably timid and conservative? SMH.

  183. 183
    Paul in KY says:

    @Barbara: It sure helps to enjoy speaking up. No one is going to toot your horn for you.

  184. 184
    John Revolta says:

    @Genghis: Seems to me that a guy who’s been self-employed his whole adult life (and I’m one myself) maybe isn’t the best source for advise on how to act at a job interview? Kinda smells like some of that “Privilege” stuff I hear about.

    @Starfish: Yeah, the “nepotism” aspect of Hillary’s candidacy bothered me for a few seconds, but frankly, even if all she gave us was Bill’s 3rd and 4th terms, it’d still be fine with me. And I suspect she’ll give us more than that.

  185. 185
    Paul in KY says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I have rarely, if ever, been to Kos site. I generally go with one site. Used to be Steve’s. Then it was Salon & Greenwald & then it became Balloon Juice!

  186. 186
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @John Revolta: The thing that doesn’t bother me about Hillary Clinton’s political career and supposed nepotism is that I remember reading (years ago, no cite, just a memory) that if any other Democrat had been elected President in 1992, Hillary Clinton would have been a viable shortlist prospect for Attorney General.

  187. 187
    Monala says:

    @FlipYrWhig: “They did it first, Mom!” Or “all is fair in politics and war”?

  188. 188
    John Revolta says:

    @Monala: GoBlue has, more than once, wished all the Boomers would hurry up and die. Forgive me if I take that shit a little personally.

  189. 189
    John Revolta says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Would’ve been worth it just to see the exploding heads.

  190. 190
    Barbara says:

    @Paul in KY: Absolutely. And to be honest, I can’t help myself, but I can tell you that I have been told in reviews that I talk too much. I’m too old to care any more.There are some things that have improved, there is no doubt, but it pains me to see younger women still having to fight the same GD fights I did and not speaking up because they are afraid of being dismissed.

  191. 191
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @Woodrow/asim: This.

  192. 192
    Barbara says:

    @FlipYrWhig: And when Senator Roth of Delaware nominated his wife Jane to the federal bench in 1986 no one went to pieces. Or when JFK nominated his brother Bobby to be Attorney General, it happened. I think some people were less than thrilled.

  193. 193
    Paul in KY says:

    @Barbara: Well, I’m glad you are speaking up! Hope you can show these younger women that there’s more downside in meekly taking it than in defending yourself or telling it like you see it.

    Best wishes!

  194. 194
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @Goblue72: The commenter could speak for him/herself, no?

  195. 195
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @Barbara:

    That whole Sheryl Sandberg “Lean In” discussion phenomenon of a couple of summers ago had me colored a bright shade of skeptical, then it was quickly followed by the news about Jill Abrahamson being fired for being pushy for what she was entitled to, and for basically doing her job. It’s beyond frustrating.

  196. 196
    Brachiator says:

    @Paul in KY:

    But if picking out the china pattern is one of the minor things a First Spouse is supposed to do, then fucking do it.

    There ain’t no such thing as what a First Spouse is supposed to do. It’s a made up position. It originated to include the White House in the phony bullshit of Washington society, to mimic the social BS of the European court. And it gave president’s wives something to do besides lying around getting drunk while their husbands did business.

  197. 197
    Brachiator says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I remember reading (years ago, no cite, just a memory) that if any other Democrat had been elected President in 1992, Hillary Clinton would have been a viable shortlist prospect for Attorney General.

    From a 1992 Vanity Fair profile, very complimentary to Hillary:

    Which would make Hillary Clinton one of the most formidable women in the world, a model of a full partner in public life. Friends go even further, touting Hillary as the next attorney general by pointing out that she would be better qualified than Robert Kennedy was when his brother named him to the post. Hillary’s own brother Hugh Rodham, a public defender in Dade County, Florida, foresees even higher callings. “Attorney general is only local lawmaking,” he says dismissively. “There’s treaty negotiations she could do. There’s labor stuff. There’s secretary of state. . .”

  198. 198
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Brachiator: Thanks so much!

  199. 199
    PlumpJoan says:

    “Nepotism” comes from (the Italian word for) “nephew” because certain Popes (Borgias, IIRC) ignored the rule of chastity and begot sons–who were referred to as their nephews to avoid confronting the obvious–and appointed those sons/”nephews” to lucrative Church offices.

    But yes, in recent centuries usage extends to any instance of (any) family members’ gaining official positions through relationship rather than ability.

  200. 200
    Aleta says:

    What a great essay by Doyle. Awhile back, AL wrote the best description I’ve ever read of the piece of HRCs public face (if I recall right) that was formed in response to the hostility she’s faced. And when I think of that hostility, I’m mostly remembering things starting from the time that Bill Clinton began to run for president, and a few things I read about her time in Arkansas. We don’t even know her stories (common to professional women her age) related to professors, advisors, early job interviews and colleagues; uncredited or rejected work and ideas; being talked over, patronized, belittled; contributions and suggestions ignored. I’ve seen this or heard about it from every woman scientist I know, and I expect HRC has been through a few jillion examples also. She’s got the strength to keep her focus on the work. I despise her primary attacks on Obama and Sanders, but I would love it if she was tougher than anyone in history on the Republican she might run against next.

  201. 201
    henqiguai says:

    @Paul in KY(#180):

    What had Caroline Kennedy ever done to merit a US Senator position?

    Until they run and win, what has *anyone* done to merit a US Senator position? As someone upthread noted, it’s all about running a campaign and winning in an election. You meet the basic criteria, run the campaign, win; et voilá you’ve merited the position.

  202. 202
    Luigidaman says:

    Thank you Anne for posting this and opening my eyes to Sady Doyle. I am an old liberal who cannot understand why so many “progressives” are failing to back the most qualified person for the job. Sanders is just that old guy who lived next to me who yelled at the kids and kept our football’s. I guess Bromeys never learn.

  203. 203
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Jared: David Brock had a coversionary experience and is spending his life making up for what he did. He makes an interesting contrast with Lee Atwater, who waited until he was at death’s door to recant.

  204. 204
    a different chris says:

    I’m Clinton-wary not because of her sex but because of her enthusiastic neoliberalism, which is a sneaky way to give Republicans 80% of what they wanted anyway while hiding it behind language that tricks liberals into thinking it’s a great deal and that they’ve won something. It’s a sham. I thought our side was supposed to be smarter than that.

  205. 205
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @a different chris: I’m ALSO wary of the things I believe Hillary Clinton believes in! Why does she keep doing that, do I think?

  206. 206
    Kropadope says:

    @Luigidaman: Well, some of us disagree on who the most qualified candidate is.

  207. 207
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Ohio Mom: Brock is still a low-down, lying prick; now he’s just doing it in the service of Democrats rather than Republicans. An improvement to be sure, but IMO, it won’t make up for his fundamental deficits as a human being.

  208. 208
    Genghis says:

    @satby:

    “leaves me feeling like you haven’t met the kind of discrimination that women, and especially older women, face. Edited to add: if you need a job, honestly responding to some subtle bigotry is not going to win the interview.”

    My wife experienced all sorts of subtle and not so subtle discrimination at two different companies, much of which I witnessed, and I certainly experienced the repercussions. It required action on our part, without it we would have lost our house. Not easy, and not quick. That’s as specific as I can be, except to say that one of the many benefits is that my wife is now self employed. This was over a period of 2 decades and the events are another decade in our past.

    Finding an effective response to subtle discrimination is difficult. We found a few keys to being an agent of change. Behaving professionally is critical, as is being generally pleasant. (Most humans are dragged kicking and screaming into change, so those who would be an agent of change are unpopular the instant they speak.) A smile can prevent, or at least delay the defensive lashing out of the *offended* discriminator for example. Skill, subtlety and patience are needed to turn the tables, but it can be done.

    My wife just pointed out, you have to be willing to take a risk, and perhaps risk everything. I don’t know if we risked everything or not, but not facing the discriminators was simply unacceptable to both of us.

    My wife also reminded me that she did directly confront specific gender based discrimination during one of her interviews with the first company. She had to find a way to challenge the interviewer in a way that resonated with him. On the follow up interview, she specifically challenged his main *concern* and was hired on the spot – with an acknowledgement and an apology.

  209. 209
    Genghis says:

    @Starfish:

    It’s tough to go up against a faulty federal law / reg, not a battle to be chosen lightly. Otoh, it might have been worth a discussion with your supervisor at the time. I would have suggested consulting some experts before the negotiation and had a really clear picture of what you wanted to get. I’d have also suggested you start looking for optional employment as a fallback.

    The battles my wife and I fought against this sort of thing were carefully chosen, every alternative we could think of was actively investigated. It was like having another job for awhile.

  210. 210
    mclaren says:

    All excellent points.

    Speaking of hysteria, that seems to be the exclusive providence of Republicans nowadays. And not feminine hysteria — full-on balls-out hammerdown mad-monkey crazy hysteria, the kind of lunacy you get when you feed an overdose of LSD to a chacma baboon and shoot it into outer space in freefall.

    If we’re going to talk about hysteria, we really ought to be talking about the sheer mind-boggling batshit insanity of the Republicans.

  211. 211
    Paul in KY says:

    @Brachiator: I’m sure by now there are established duties/ceremonial occasions that the First Spouse is supposed to be at and/or oversee, etc.

  212. 212
    Paul in KY says:

    @henqiguai: Maybe have a successful career as a legislator of some kind or be a successful lawyer?

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