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Monday, March 3, 2008

The Hatred That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Racism is a fact in America. It's been around for centuries, and it's not going away any time soon. While it is wonderful and amazing that a man of African descent may become the next President, and that would be a huge step in the right direction, I think we are all aware that we still have a long way to go before we achieve anything approaching equality for people of color in our society.

But what about the hatred that dare not speak its name? What about misogyny?

Via Atrios, here is a brief but excellent commentary about a horrific op-ed from the Washington Post by a woman named Charlotte Allen. The original title of the piece was "Why are Women So Dumb?" Forgive me if I don't find that very amusing, and forgive me if it makes me want to send Hillary Clinton my entire savings account.

See, if Hillary were not a woman, I'd still choose her over Barack Obama. But seeing the brutal misogyny that has been coming out in the press since she began her run only makes me support her even more strongly. The atrocities have been well-documented at Media Matters, so I won't even bother to list them. But my favorite had to be when Chris Matthews went on a rant about how Hillary only became the Senator from New York because her husband cheated on her.

I know I'm only 40 and make a good living, and thus should be drooling over Barack, apparently. But despite the "generation gap," I just identify so strongly with Hillary and what she faces every day. I have been treated with condescension and dismissal countless times in my professional and personal life simply because I've got a double X chromosome. As Senator Obama said,

"I understand that Senator Clinton, periodically when she’s feeling down, launches attacks as a way of trying to boost her appeal."
FYI, Barack, Hillary is 60. She doesn't menstruate any more, but thanks for playing.

Am I really dumber or more emotional because I'm a woman? Is Hillary? Why in the world do we still have to ask and answer these questions?

It's because misogyny is still widely accepted and promoted in our media, and in large part, because it's a much more hidden hatred than racism. Women were never slaves in this country - at least, not in a societally institutionalized sense.

In fact, misogyny and sexism are so hidden and accepted that a lot of younger women don't even see them. Even though Hillary Clinton's run for the Presidency may not be successful, she can certainly be proud of the fact that she has uncovered this ugly boil on America's backside and given it a good spanking.

Thank you for that and for so much more, Hillary. Perhaps the next time a woman runs for President, she will not have to suffer quite as much of the hatred that dare not speak its name.


bleujean said...

Uh...I believe black women were slaves in this country. And there are some white women, black women, Asian women, etc. who were kept as slaves by prostitution rings.

Otherwise, great post!

madamab said...

bleujean - thanks for stopping by!

Of course you are correct about black women being slaves; but they were slaves because of their skin color, not because of their sex. As for prostitution, I could not agree more; I intended to include it when I mentioned "economic slavery."