From the REgister Citizen, an opinion piece: SARAH DARER LITTMAN: Women who are sick of misogyny and ‘mansplaining’
In case you haven’t noticed, Linda McMahon is a woman. She’s confirmed
the fact in the last three debates. I would like to confirm that I, too,
am a woman. Apparently, those of us of the female persuasion are now a
hot demographic, targeted by campaigns in both presidential and senate
Here’s a secret I’d like to share with all political
strategists: mere pandering just isn’t going to cut it with us. Because
even though we’ve come a long way, baby, it’s the 21st century and we’re
still paid less for doing the same job as a man. We’re still paying
significantly more for health insurance. We’re still putting up with
middle-aged men legislating medical decisions that should be between
women and our doctors. And those of us who are single parents are blamed
for the ills of society.
Now, election time rolls around and all
of a sudden two guys are trying to hit us up for a four-year date and
we’re subjected to pundits “mansplaining” how we think about the issues
of the day.
Mansplaining — UrbanDictionary.com
definition: “To delight in condescending, inaccurate explanations
delivered with rock solid confidence of rightness and that slimy
certainty that of course he is right, because he is the man in this
For examples, see pretty much any dialogue between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
particularly egregious example was Thursday morning’s episode, when
four men told Mika why she and we were “ridiculous” for taking umbrage
at Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment and the fact that news
emerged post-debate that Romney had lied about actively seeking out said
binders. The belittling was bad enough. But then, in response to a
tweet from Cher complaining about the behavior, Mark Halperin, senior
political analyst for Time and MSNBC, tweeted a picture of a Time cover
featuring Cher in a skimpy outfit.
Halperin is Time’s senior
political analyst and that’s how he chooses to respond? Clearly, I need
to rethink my Time subscription.
Unfortunately, demeaning women
personally seems to be the modus operandi in politics. Look at the way
Congressman Joe Walsh, R-Illinois — that prince of a guy who owed his
wife $100,000 in child support — has attacked his opponent, decorated
Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth, saying “the only debate she’ll have is
which outfit she’ll be wearing.”
Duckworth’s response: “Yes, I
do sometimes look at the clothes I wear, but for most of my adult life,
I’ve worn one color — it’s called camouflage.” Boom.
just Republicans. The Democratic House Majority PAC ran an ad against
Martha McSally, who is running for a House seat in Arizona, in which
they superimposed her image into a kitchen setting and criticized her
“recipe cards” for Congress. McSally might well be a fine cook, but the
relevant facts are that she was the first female fighter pilot to fly
combat missions in U.S. history, is a distinguished graduate of the U.S.
Air Force Academy, and has a Masters in Public Policy from the JFK
School of Government at Harvard. Such imagery demeans her service, her
accomplishments, and women in general.
Remember the 1992 “Cookiegate” brouhaha during Bill Clinton’s first
campaign? Hillary Clinton was pilloried for saying, “I suppose I could
have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to
do was to fulfill my profession which I entered before my husband was in
Here’s a woman who is smarter than most men in the
room, and more, one of the few politicians in recent memory to stand up
and say, “I take responsibility,” yet she was forced to hide her light
under a bushel. I can only imagine how she felt:
America? I was class president at Wellesley, graduated from Yale Law
School with honors, was named one of the 100 Most Powerful Lawyers in
America by the National Law Journal, and you want to judge me on my
Listen up strategists: If you want the “women” vote,
don’t demean women. Any of us. I might be a Democrat but if you demean
the impressive and genuine accomplishments of a Republican woman, you
But similarly, pointing out one’s womanhood, as Mrs.
McMahon does on numerous occasions, won’t ipso facto win my vote.
Particularly, you won’t get my vote if you plan to overturn the
Affordable Care Act, which will eliminate in 2014 the excess premium I
pay merely for being female, or if you support the Blunt Amendment,
which would allow employers to deny contraceptive coverage.
is what affects women and we’d really love it if you stick to the
issues. We’re smart enough to bother our pretty little heads about it,
and make damn fine cookies without you mansplaining any of it.
Darer Littman is an award-winning columnist and novelist of books for
teens. Long before the financial meltdown, she worked as a securities
analyst and earned her MBA in Finance from the Stern School at NYU.