Media manages to make Senator Gillibrand’s teachable moment about sexism all about her mistakes

The media never ceases to amaze me. Its victim-blaming knows no bounds. Whether its Ray Rice’s then-fiancé who got herself attacked by not taking the stairs, or female celebrities responsible for getting hacked because they had naked photographs of themselves, the women who are assaulted and/or violated are always the focus.

This victim-shaming is so egalitarian and so equal-opportunity, it applies to extremely powerful people — like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Yet again, as Senator Gillibrand tries to raise the issue of sexism within the Senate, the media responds by blaming her for the way she’s doing it. Because… it’s a Tuesday. 

As we’ve covered before, Gillibrand’s new book, Off the Sidelines, recounts how she had to deal with comments about her weight and physical appearance, as well as touching, from her male colleagues. And, as we also covered, several politicians and pundits have responded by casting doubt on her claims, or by shifting the focus onto what Gillibrand is doing wrong. Today, MSNBCS’s Morning Joe show joined this cacophonous chorus. And remember, MSNBC is supposed to be the progressive channel. Host Joe Scarborough is, perhaps, the token conservative, but he is meant to be balanced out by co-host Mika Brzezinski, who is supposed to represent the liberal perspective and the woman’s view (problematic as that concept is…but that’s for another post).

Brzezinski did not hold back in accusing Gillibrand of doing the wrong thing: “Why wouldn’t you name names here?” Gillibrand tried to explain, “I want to elevate the debate. It’s not about a specific insult about one person… What this is about is how we elevate the debate to talk about these broader challenges.” Mika then replied by asking, “Wouldn’t you elevate the debate by naming names?” And Gillibrand said, “I want to talk about the bigger challenges, the fact that we don’t have equal pay in this country.” Continue reading “Media manages to make Senator Gillibrand’s teachable moment about sexism all about her mistakes”

The Daily Show takes on sexist attacks on Senator Gillibrand

Masters of Sexism on The Daily Show
It was infuriating and depressingly unsurprising to hear some of the sexist, inappropriate comments male members of Congress have made to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. As we learned last week, colleagues told the Senator she was pretty even when she was “fat” and urge her not to get “too porky.” But The Daily Show‘s take down of the Senate’s sexism will let you laugh and cry (Watch the full clip here).

Citing the “Don’t get too porky” comment on the one hand, and the “I like my girls chubby” on the other, Jon Stewart quipped “Even when it comes to shitty sexism, the Senate is gridlocked. They can’t get anything done.” He also remarked on the irony of congressmen and senators discussing Gillibrand’s appearance when they themselves “look, on a good day, like a bowl of dried fruit.”

Stewart was especially on-point in his critique of the people criticizing Gillibrand for not naming the men who made the comments. After a clip of conservative CNN contributor Ben Ferguson saying “you’ve got the guts to write about it. Have the guts to name names,” Stewart responds, “The grown-up version of the rich kid from every ’80s movies has a point…. Why wouldn’t the woman making a larger point about the general culture of Washington not turn this into a narrow personal attack on the people she sees at work every day?”

Stewart also shows a clip of Andrea Mitchell, saying that she knows from experience that there are some politicians you don’t want to be alone with in an elevator. He then reflects, “Right. We all have our stories about which person, elected by voters in their state to a six-year term, vested with the powers to advise, consent, and declare war, you would not trust in the three to five seconds it takes to go from two to L.”

The episode also looks at the responses expressed on the Fox News show Outnumbered, which range from “boys will be boys” to the claim that women embrace catcalls as flattering.

The Daily Show certainly won’t run out of material any time soon.

Originally posted on Feministing.