You have moxie. I can tell. That’s why we’re going to start with political jerkballery and move into things that are more awesome. That way you’ll feel strong and powerful, ready to launch yourself into your weekend.
For starters, you’ve certainly heard about the skullthuddingly stupid furor that was whipped up over Hilary Rosen’s statement that Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life.”
In context, this is really not much problem with Rosen’s remarks. Mitt said he didn’t have the problem with the ladies, on account of he asked his wife what she thought about economic issues, so there. (Mitt, you see, being the one who dragged his wife into this in the first place.) Rosen’s point was that Ann Romney, who has a husband who is wealthier than Satan’s crooked hedge fund manager, has not exactly been out there bussing tables or punching in for a welding shift.
So, if you look at it properly, by which I mean listening to the words that were coming out of Rosen’s mouth and paying attention to when they did so, I believe she’s calling Mrs. Romney’s economic street-savvy into question because Romney is an extremely wealthy woman who is just as out-of-touch as her staggeringly wealthy husband, not taking a swipe at her for choosing to be a stay-at-home mom.
But the Romney campaign’s tin pan and ink cloud machine immediately decided that Rosen was being mean to stay-at-home moms and devaluing the hard work mothers do. Which might make sense if Rosen had no children of her own, but she does, and absolutely knows how hard mothers work.
So everybody just agreed to disagree and shut up about something that was already getting sort of stupid, right? Ha, ha! No. The Romney campaign decided this would be a chance to drive a wedge between nice stay-at-home moms and mean working women, and totally fake yelled about a fake story that they all knew was fake fake fakery faking fake with some pink slime and fillers to hold together the fake.
Rosen apologized – but didn’t stop acknowledging the fakeness of the Romney campaign’s sudden case of the vapors – and then the lone goober who claims to be the “Catholic League” decided to say that Rosen’s adoptive family was somehow less valid because she is a lesbian and her children are adoptive.
Super-productive conversation all around! Forbes, oddly enough, had a really good analysis of why the War on Women charge is sticking on the GOP. (Spoiler: because they’re waging one. And because it has not occurred to many public figures in the party that treating women like they’re full-fledged adult human beings might be the way to go.)
In stranger news, Herman Cain caught himself mid-gaffe but just couldn’t stop the momentum, saying that men are more familiar with politics than “other people.”Gosh, I wonder which other people Cain could mean? Maybe he as a lot of correspondents in the genderqueer community? Who he thinks aren’t up on politics? It’s a mystery.
Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman (R) also checked in from some strange man-planet from the past to let us know that equal pay – which was repealed by Wisconsin last week – isn’t such a big deal because money is more important to men, who have big-boy jobs and all that, while women keep losing focus and having babies and things. So it must mean that we only need a little pin money for fashion magazines and pretty shoes so people can see them when we’re standing on the table screaming at mice.
And for the hat trick, here’s Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell (R) being incredibly condescending to Anna Scholl, the executive director of ProgressVA. ProgressVA released a report on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)’s influence on Virginia politics (in some state, the pro-corporate, far-right-wing group writes laws that the legislators submit verbatim). Howell claimed there were inaccuracies in ProgressVA’s report, and Scholl asked him to name some. Howell couldn’t, but felt that the group should have mentioned other, unrelated information that he liked better. When Scholl pressed him on how that made her accurate information inaccurate, the charming Howell said “I guess I’m not speaking in little enough words for you to understand.”
Since he said it in front of reporters and at least one camera, I’d say the topic of who has better cognitive skills is open to debate.
And if you happen to be wondering why some people get so het up over the government passing increasingly restrictive laws about our ladybits every week, check out Jezebel’s terrifying news item (via the BBC) from Uzbekistan: The Uzbek government would like women to be having fewer children, so doctors are simply told to sterilize them without consent while they are under anesthesia. The doctors have quotas.
And that, right there, is the problem. When you make the decision that it’s not OK for women to be in charge of their own reproductive decisions, someone else starts making them. Because why not? Make your views known to your legislative representatives before you end up with a spoiler or the Keystone Pipeline down there.
Speaking of other people telling you what’s up with your own body, someone with a media outlet and too much time on his or her hands decided Ashley Judd had a puffy face and set off a feeding frenzy over who could tear her down fastest and hardest for aging normally, for being “fat”, for allegedly having plastic surgery, or for all three.
Turns out Ms. Judd is awesome, and is not having it. She beautifully took down every participant in the dehumanization and dissection of herself and, by extension, women in general. Watching her take a sledgehammer to legions of jerks – and the society and assumptions that let those jerks keep right on bottom-feeding – was bracing.
BuzzFeed added a little icing to that cake by running a piece on 11 Beautiful Women the Media Has Called Fat.
And the always wonderful The Mary Sue added an interesting dimension to the body image fervor by pointing the way to this fascinating series of pictures of elite athletes. It’s hard to stop looking at it – it’s such a perfect illustration of how the human body adapts to what you ask it to do. And how many different ways it can be beautiful. (The Mary Sue, by the way, pointed to the athletes as a way of illustrating a point in this cool article on how women totally can wear full-body armor.)
If you’d care for a bigger think about the way the media looks at us and the way we look at each other, pick up Miss Representation, which came out on DVD this week. Time did a Q&A with writer-director Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and you can check out our quick review over here.
Festival of Awesome
Hey! Pat Summitt is Sports Illustrated’s Sportswoman of the Year!
The Mary Sue made my inner nerd (and my once-resentful child self) get all mushy and love Albert Einstein even more with his letter to a little girl who loved science and hated the fact that she was a girl.
Do you know the hilarious ladies of Frangela? I think you should. Because they know that ninjas don’t use batons.
Texts from Hillary was assumed straight into Tumblr Nirvana when Hillary Clinton decided to play along. Because in addition to running the world, she is a total BAMF and the Secretary of Memes.
What could possibly be more delightful than that?
Nina Katchadourian’s series of Airplane Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style. This is a woman knows how to make plane rides productive and hilarious. I may never be fully satisfied with reading trash on my Kindle again.
Now get out there and make your metaphoric lavatory into something magical. And have a wonderful weekend.