1. Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    i know i have a lot of ladies who read the busblog 

    so i am gonna ask you for direction here

    recently there was a little scandal involving Prez-elect Obama’s speechwriter. on his Facebook someone found a picture of him “groping” a cardboard cutout of the next Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. i put groping in quotes because im not exactly sure if you can grope cardboard.

    Dee Dee Myers, who in the past worked as the Press Secretary for President Bill Clinton seems quite sure that you can grope cardboard. and finds a lot wrong – if not disturbing with the photo of Obama’s speechwriter and the cutout image. an excerpt from her piece in Vanity Fair:

    What’s bugging me is his intention. He isn’t putting his hand on her “chest,” as most of the articles and conversations about the picture have euphemistically referred to it. Rather, his hand—cupped just so—is clearly intended to signal that he’s groping her breast. And why? Surely, not to signal he finds her attractive. Au contraire. It’s an act of deliberate humiliation. Of disempowerment. Of denigration.

    And it disgusts me.

    Oh, I know: If Hillary can get over it, why can’t I? Her spokesman, Phillipe Reinnes, tried to make light of the incident. “Senator Clinton is pleased to learn of Jon’s obvious interest in the State Department, and is currently reviewing his application,” he told the Washington Post in an E-mail. Obviously, she has no interest in making a federal case out of this particular incident, particularly as both the Clinton and Obama camps work on letting bygones be bygones. She has to pick her battles, and for her this ain’t a hill worth dying on.

    But there is a larger issue at stake. At what point does sexist behavior get taken seriously? At what point do people get punished in ways that suggest this kind of behavior, this kind of thinking, is unacceptable? At what point do we insist there will be consequences? Clearly, that didn’t happen during the recent presidential campaign, when Hillary was—as I guess she is now—fair game. The press, the pundits, and the public could say things about her (“She’s a shrew!”) and to her (“Iron my shirt!) that were over-the-top sexist—yet got almost no reaction.

    So my questions to the female readers of this blog are these: am i crazy that when i saw the photo of the speechwriter and the cutout, i didnt think anything of it? is Dee Dee putting too much energy into this? is she the crazy one? or is “groping” a cardboard cutout of a public figure an incredibly sexist thing, that as Ms. Meyers suggests should be punished?

    im very confused in this matter because as you can see from the photos above, real and fake groping appears to be rampant in the world, especially when theres a camera around and people are feeling free.

    top photo by hessiebell, middle photo by Kerplunk Whoops, bottom photo by thatswherebatslive all via flickr