“...women exist primarily in terms of their relationships to the men...”
March 27, 2016 6:31 PM   Subscribe

Naked Lady Politics by Jennifer Weiner [The New York Times]
As the world knows, last week, our Republican presidential contenders quit tussling over whose private parts are bigger, and moved on to the equally compelling question of whose wife is hotter. To briefly recap: Before last Tuesday’s primaries, a “super PAC” called — you really can’t make this stuff up — Make America Awesome ran ads on social media targeting Mormon voters in Utah. The spots showed images of Donald J. Trump’s wife, from a 2000 photo shoot with British GQ. “Meet Melania Trump. Your Next First Lady,” read the text, over a shot of a sultry, nude Mrs. Trump, curled up on a fur. “Or, You Could Support Ted Cruz on Tuesday.” (Ted Cruz was not pictured.) Even though the ad didn’t come from the Cruz camp, Mr. Trump was furious — which was more than a little ironic, given the vigor with which he’s been posting provocative shots of his nemesis, the Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, who posed for GQ in a short black slip dress and red high heels. Mr. Trump has retweeted one of his supporters, who called Ms. Kelly a “bimbo,” and has said she lacks the gravitas to question the candidates. Evidently, in Trumplandia, being scantily clad means you’re no longer qualified to be a journalist, but being naked means you’re perfectly qualified to be first lady.

And on it went. On Tuesday, Mr. Trump slammed “Lyin’ Ted” for being behind the Melania ad, and threatened to “spill the beans” on Mr. Cruz’s wife, Heidi. The next day, no beans were spilled, but Mr. Trump retweeted a meme of a picture of Melania, looking appropriately model-rific, juxtaposed beside Heidi Cruz, looking probably a lot like I do when I need my roots touched up and I’ve had it with my kids. “No need to spill the beans,” text with the photos said. “The images speak for themselves.” And what do those images say, exactly? Oh, right: Mr. Trump is obviously better qualified to run our country, because his wife was a professional model.
- Let’s Uproot the Pernicious, Unproven Claim That Ted Cruz Attacked Donald Trump’s Wife. by Philip Bump [The Washington Post]
There is no evidence that Ted Cruz attacked Donald Trump's wife. In a normal election year, this statement would be relatively uncontroversial. After all, it's true. Yes, there was an ad that ran in Utah, suggesting that because she had posed for provocative modeling photos, she was somehow unfit to be first lady. But, no, that ad was not from the Cruz campaign. It was from the Make America Awesome super PAC, a group that raises and spends money without input from any candidate, including Cruz. How do I know that? Well, I know that if such a political action committee were to coordinate with Cruz -- say, by running an ad at his behest -- it would be a federal crime. I know a presidential candidate purposefully violating federal law is almost certainly not worth the risk. I know that Cruz was going to win Utah anyway, by a wide margin, so violating federal law to win with 70 percent of the vote versus 65 percent is a particularly dumb idea.
- The National Enquirer Has Been Right Before by Sam Biddle [Gawker]
It’s entirely possible the magazine’s claim that candidate Cruz has had five separate affairs while married to his wife Heidi is completely false. Maybe they were fabricated by an agenda-toting third party and fed to the Enquirer as true (although fragments of the story have been circulating online for awhile, now). There are innumerable people who will take great pleasure in just seeing this headline reverberate across Twitter, to Cruz’s immense embarrassment, and any number of them would be capable of spearheading a smear campaign. But it’s also possible that the Enquirer’s story, or parts of it at least, are accurate, making Ted Cruz a “family values” fraud and hypocrite. The tabloid is operated in part by a team of real reporters that have launched bombshells before. Their news-gathering process, as documented by Gawker in 2012, is highly unorthodox, and wouldn’t pass muster at any newspaper (or even here!), but it does involve traditional reporting and fact-checking—even when it’s done only to cover their ass legally.
- How Much Should We Care About Ted Cruz’s Alleged Affairs? by Jack Shafer [Politico]
Blackmail aside, why do a politician’s dalliances matter? Why do we care? Why do we hunger to read about them even if we don’t care about hypocrisy or the national security implications? It would take an anthropologist to explain that, but who is shtupping whom is of high interest in almost every culture, and has been so ever since we left the trees for the veldt. Even the sex lives of the low-status fascinate us. Whether valid or not, an individual’s sex life has come to stand as a marker of trustworthiness. Once the subject is breached, it takes superhuman powers by the press to avoid talking about it. Candidates seek extramarital sex for the same reasons civilians do—for adventure, to express status within the group, for love, to obey the command of the selfish gene to throw itself into the next generation. The difference, of course, is that politicians play to a crowd that’s a million times the size of an ordinary civilian, and for that reason the collective judgment is much greater. So is the collective obsession. That’s why we’re all happily gossiping about Ted Cruz’s sex life today: It’s not that he’s sexy (perish the thought), it’s that he’s high profile and high status.
- The Genital Election: Republican “hands” Debate is the Culmination of 50 years of Anti-Feminism. by Amanda Marcotte [Salon]
On the contrary, this has been a long time coming. For literally decades now, the Republican Party has built a huge part of its identity around anti-feminism. This started in the ’70s, when the religious right successfully fought and killed the Equal Rights Amendment, and really became central to the Republican identity when Ronald Reagan’s presidency cemented the marriage between the anti-feminist religious right and his party. This was helped by the fact that Reagan was followed around by a wife who never failed to stare at him in wondrous rapture like being a man made him a god on earth.

The anti-feminism of Republicans manifests in many ways: Kneecapping efforts to pass and enforce equal pay laws, pushing marriage as the best and only way for women to be economically viable, demonizing feminists, minimizing sexual harassment and violence against women, Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. But the biggest, most forceful front of the Republican war on women, since the 70s, has been focused on, what else, genitals. The same week that we witnessed Republican candidates talking unsubtly about big dicks during a debate, the Supreme Court listened to a case about whether women have a right to control our own reproductive organs, no matter what size they may be. It’s yet another case in a long and complex history of Republicans trying to dismantle the legal right to abortion, a right which symbolizes, to conservatives, the collapse of patriarchal authority in women’s lives.
- The Most Vital Feminist Issues Of The 2016 Election, Because Women's Autonomy Is Seriously Under Threat by Chris Tognotti [Bustle]
The 2016 primary campaign season is in full swing, and we've already gotten to hear a little something from both sides of the political spectrum. So far, we've had two Republican debates (four if you count the "kid's table" undercard ones), and the first Democratic face-off went down earlier this week. But sometimes there are issues that you as a viewer and potential voter might be interested in that simply aren't going to get as much play as you'd like in a televised debate. So, without further ado, here are the 4 most vital feminist issues of the 2016 election cycle.

1. Reproductive Rights
2. The Equal Rights Amendment
3. Intersectional Feminism
4. The Highest Glass Ceiling
- The Hillary Paradox: How American Women Are Struggling Over Feminism and Clintonism by Joanna Slater [The Globe and Mail]
These impassioned discussions are unfolding across the country, at kitchen tables, at gatherings of friends, over the telephone and via e-mail, as men and women alike grapple with a candidacy that is at once unprecedented and uncomfortably familiar. A fixture of national politics since the 1990s, Ms. Clinton is the only person to occupy the roles of First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State. Her campaign has embraced her role as a history-maker, hoping to sweep up young voters eager to break barriers. But the movement hasn’t materialized. Instead, younger Democratic women – sometimes to the dismay of their mothers and grandmothers – have thrown their support behind Mr. Sanders, preferring his uncompromising authenticity to Ms. Clinton’s hard-won pragmatism.
- Donald Trump’s Huge Problem With Women by Jeet Heer [The New Republic]
One of Donald Trump’s great strengths as a politician is that he’s a hell of a counter-puncher. On the debate stage and campaign trail, he has flummoxed and thwarted much more politically experienced rivals like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio by responding to their jabs with a quickness and confidence they themselves lack. Yet Trump’s self-assurance deserts him completely when confronted with a female adversary, be it Rosie O’Donnell, Megyn Kelly, Carly Fiorina or, most recently, Senator Elizabeth Warren. Which bodes well, of course, for his likely general-election opponent, Hillary Clinton, whose formidable and unflappable character make her exactly the sort of woman that Trump has the hardest time reacting to. An old-fashioned sexist boor, Trump tends to divide the world into a simple binary: men are rivals to be bested and women are potential sexual conquests. When he’s confronted by a strong, assertive woman outside the mating arena, his synapses tend to short-circuit, leading him to odd and often self-destructive behavior. Before Carly Fiorina’s presidential bid fizzled out, she was the only Republican who had managed to faze Trump at all. He walked back his initial attempt to insult her looks and found himself booed by the debate audience on November 10 when he snapped, “Why does she keep interrupting everybody?”
- Women Hate Donald Trump Even More Than Men Hate Hillary Clinton by Jon Schwarz [The Intercept]
If Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the 2016 presidential candidates, gender will be part of the campaign in an unprecedented way. It goes beyond the fact that Clinton would be the first woman nominated by one of the two major parties as its presidential candidate: Polls consistently show that women really, really don’t like Trump, and men — to a lesser but still significant degree — really don’t like Clinton. Americans overall don’t like Trump or Clinton. In polls taken over the past six weeks, Trump’s average net favorable/unfavorable rating has been minus 23 percent, and Clinton’s has been minus 12 percent. However, beneath the surface, it’s the high level of distaste for both of them among the opposite gender that is driving those awful ratings. Women dislike Trump with what’s likely a historically unique intensity for a national politician. Trump’s average net favorability among women over the past six weeks is minus 33 percent — far worse than the minus 2 percent net favorability among women for Marco Rubio or the minus 14 percent for Ted Cruz. Likewise, in a poll taken just before the 2012 election, Mitt Romney had a net favorability among women of minus 2 percent.
- Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright Rebuke Young Women Backing Bernie Sanders by Alan Rappeport [The New York Times]
While introducing Mrs. Clinton at a rally in New Hampshire on Saturday, Ms. Albright, 78, the first female secretary of state, talked about the importance of electing a woman to the country’s highest office. In a dig at the “revolution” that Mr. Sanders, 74, often speaks of, she said the first female commander in chief would be a true revolution. And she scolded any woman who felt otherwise.“We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done,” Ms. Albright said of the broader fight for women’s equality. “It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” Mrs. Clinton, 68, laughed, slowly clapped and took a large sip of her beverage.
- Why Sexism at the Office Makes Women Love Hillary Clinton by Jill Filipovich [The New York Times]
THE poll numbers and primary results so far tell a simple story: Younger Democratic women are mostly for Bernie Sanders; older women lean more toward Hillary Clinton. The mothers-versus-daughters narrative, long an election-year trope, is particularly pronounced now, and tinged with stereotypes on both sides. The idealistic but ungrateful naïfs who think sexism is a thing of the past and believe, as Mr. Sanders recently said, that “people should not be voting for candidates based on their gender” are seemingly battling the pantsuited old scolds prattling on about feminism. Instead, the reality may be another kind of simple numbers game: More time in a sexist world, and particularly in the workplace, radicalizes women. Radicalism isn’t expressed only by supporting a socialist; it can also take the shape of women, increasingly disillusioned by a biased culture, throwing their weight behind someone who shares both their political views and their experiences.
posted by Fizz (87 comments total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
 
A family member recently told me they couldn't imagine Hillary as president because there was no way she would be able to work at the same desk where Bill cheated on her (he used more colorful language). I was speechless - said something along the lines of "I don't understand how that's relevant". This (apparently rather popular in conservative circles) idea that Hillary is somehow disqualified by this just baffles me.
posted by jpdoane at 7:02 PM on March 27, 2016 [22 favorites]


More time in a sexist world, and particularly in the workplace, radicalizes women. Radicalism isn’t expressed only by supporting a socialist; it can also take the shape of women, increasingly disillusioned by a biased culture, throwing their weight behind someone who shares both their political views and their experiences.

Ohhhh, man. I feel very lucky that my workplace is very egalitarian, but...as someone who is now in her forties, this hits very close to home. I've recently been becoming newly aware of how shabbily older women are treated in our culture, especially when they don't have the grace to shut up and sit down and become quietly invisible.

So I love the idea that support for Hillary can be a form of radicalism, because for many women that's exactly what it is. It flies in the face of all of the stereotypes of Hillary supporters as a bunch of out-of-touch, conservative old broads who are practically Republicans or something.
posted by Salieri at 7:17 PM on March 27, 2016 [70 favorites]


I don't believe the Cruz rumors, because if they were true it would mean that at least six women have had consensual sex with Ted Cruz, and that's just inconceivable.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:20 PM on March 27, 2016 [47 favorites]


How do I know that? Well, I know that if such a political action committee were to coordinate with Cruz -- say, by running an ad at his behest -- it would be a federal crime.

Was is a TAL episode, or...maybe a Fresh Air interview? during the last cycle of madness where they discussed this not-coordinating coordination that happens between super PAC staffs and senior campaign staffers. Unless you are dumb as a rock, it is not hard to maintain the appearance of a wall and deniability.

In any case, both Cruz and Trump should be loaded into rockets and fired into the sun.
posted by rtha at 7:38 PM on March 27, 2016 [28 favorites]


and that's just inconceivable.

Stranger things.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:43 PM on March 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


1. Reproductive Rights

Last week, I was reading a book written in ~1307 (The Confessions of Lady Nijo, translated by Karen Brazell) and came across the following passage:
"At dawn a message was sent to His Majesty: 'The baby was aborted this morning because the mother's condition was deemed critical. Its development was sufficient to indicate that it was a girl.'

GoFukakusa [His Majesty] replied by sending medicine and a note that said: 'My physicians tell me that this is a normal procedure when there is a very high temperature. Take care of yourself. I wish you a speedy recovery.'"
Over seven hundred years ago. OVER SEVEN HUNDRED YEARS AGO.
posted by sallybrown at 7:44 PM on March 27, 2016 [115 favorites]


(and thank you Fizz for this excellent post)
posted by sallybrown at 7:46 PM on March 27, 2016 [7 favorites]


I want Bernie/Hillary or A Hillary/Bernie campaign.

Thanks for putting this together, I'm sure I'll have more to say later.
posted by AlexiaSky at 8:01 PM on March 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


While I expect Sanders to keep running and hold Clinton's feet to the fire to pull her left, I can't help but remember Clinton's laughing during one of the Benghazi Benghazi BENGHAZI! fishing expeditions and feel comforted that she will be just fine.

This person is made of steel and that's not a bad thing. Woe betide Trump or Cruz.
posted by Max Power at 8:06 PM on March 27, 2016 [43 favorites]


The objectivity in the campaign trail is horrifying. Men romping around to the public about how theirs lovers/ex lovers benefit or harm them, all the while ignoring them as a significant demographic.
The only reason women issues are even in this is because Hillary is a woman, and every moment de humanizing her isn't taken as a huge political misstep, but as the norm.

I feel that people were more upset that Drumpft wants to exile muslims, than the fact he ignores, objectives and wishes to control half the nation for his own political gain.
posted by AlexiaSky at 8:09 PM on March 27, 2016 [12 favorites]


How do I know that? Well, I know that if such a political action committee were to coordinate with Cruz -- say, by running an ad at his behest -- it would be a federal crime. I know a presidential candidate purposefully violating federal law is almost certainly not worth the risk. I know that Cruz was going to win Utah anyway, by a wide margin, so violating federal law to win with 70 percent of the vote versus 65 percent is a particularly dumb idea.

I have a bridge to sell this person if they really believe candidates have not been coordinating with their superpacs from day one. That said, I haven't seen any evidence this specific pac coordinates with Cruz. But, this is the system Republicans wanted. They get all that money in the election system and nobody gets to know who is really directing it. Really a situation where Cruz is being hoisted by his own petard. Live by the plausible deniability of coordination, die by it. It's what makes Trump's claim believable even without any evidence.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:29 PM on March 27, 2016 [9 favorites]


Anyone who has so much as looked at the cover of the National Enquirer in the lately should be able to see that they are fully in the bag for Donald Trump, who is a longtime friend of their CEO. It bugs me to see people going to bat for their record on this stuff without noting this obvious qualifying detail. It's entirely possible that they are right about Ted Cruz, or about anybody, but they are promising a Clinton dirt file too - are you going to feel so bullish about the Enquirer when they start pulling out whatever they can come up with for the general?
posted by atoxyl at 9:48 PM on March 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


I feel that people were more upset that Drumpft ...

Not to stick up for Trump, but unless there is a YUUUGE valid reason to question a person's name, it is always best to use the name someone tells you that they prefer.

The D is called Trump because his grandfather changed the family's last name.
posted by futz at 9:49 PM on March 27, 2016 [23 favorites]


A family member recently told me they couldn't imagine Hillary as president because there was no way she would be able to work at the same desk where Bill cheated on her (he used more colorful language). I was speechless - said something along the lines of "I don't understand how that's relevant". This (apparently rather popular in conservative circles) idea that Hillary is somehow disqualified by this just baffles me.

This fits in with what I experienced (lo, these many years before!) in possibly my first online experience with The Right. When Bill Clinton's indiscretions were first coming to light I got caught up in a discussion on the old CBIX Byte precursor to IRC. My feeling was that it was unfortunate but rightfully private, but the guy I was interacting with was all, "I don't want a Commander in Chief getting oral sex so close to the BUTTON!". I thought about all the drunk presidents, all the ones with head colds or the flu, or all the psychiatrically impaired presidents (well, Nixon) so close to the BUTTON. I'm pretty sure that Hillary, although not my favorite choice, will be able to somehow handle the pressure after still sleeping next to the randy goat for the past 20 frickin' years.
posted by Chitownfats at 10:05 PM on March 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


Not to stick up for Trump, but unless there is a YUUUGE valid reason to question a person's name, it is always best to use the name someone tells you that they prefer.

He doesn't show respect to women or minorities or anyone who challenges him. He's been given way more respect than he's ever deserved.
posted by greermahoney at 10:23 PM on March 27, 2016 [18 favorites]


unless there is a YUUUGE valid reason to question a person's name, it is always best to use the name someone tells you that they prefer.

..The D


Something happened in between those two lines.
posted by bongo_x at 10:25 PM on March 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


Hillary Clinton and the audacity of political realism

Yes, Agenda Trumps Gender—But Women Leaders Still Matter

Let’s get one thing clear: Every other group votes its interests. That’s what democracy enables and encourages us to do. The majority of the white men who control the lion’s share of corporate wealth typically vote Republican, for instance, as is their right. Over 90% of African-Americans voted for Barack Obama (only to get criticized for doing so). The fact is that we all tend to vote for people whom we perceive reflects our values and will best protect our interests.

3 Ways to Tell if Your Distaste For Hillary Clinton is Sexist

There is a concept in the study of racial prejudice, called aversive racism, which is particularly instructive in helping us understand a possible explanation for the visceral nature of some responses to Hillary Clinton. According to Gaertner and Dovidio (2000, emphasis added),

“…many people who explicitly support egalitarian principles and believe themselves to be nonprejudiced also unconsciously harbor negative feelings and beliefs about blacks and other historically disadvantaged groups. Aversive racists thus experience ambivalence between their egalitarian beliefs and their negative feelings toward blacks.”

Because people understand that equality is optimal, behavior and perspectives that support unequal outcomes for blacks are both to be avoided and damaging to how people think of themselves. As a result, prejudicial behavior will emerge “often unintentional, when their behavior can be justified on the basis of some factor other than race (Gaertner and Dovidio 1999, 101).” This allows aversive racists to continue to see themselves as nonracist while simultaneously engaging in racially prejudicial behavior. Simply put, when there is no doubt that one’s behavior would be seen as racist, aversive racists will avoid that behavior. Alternatively, when there are other reasons beyond race that can be used to justify discriminatory behavior, racism will rear its ugly head. It is not that they have a problem with blacks; they just want to live in a safe neighborhood. Thus, crime and safety becomes the explanation for refusals to live among blacks, even those of their own income class.

In recent months, I have thought often about whether a similar process is happening with Hillary Clinton—a form of aversive sexism.


Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Has Earned My Vote

If You Care About Electing Women, Don’t Focus Only on Hillary

A realization has slowly sunk in: Nobody’s saying much about all of the other women running for office right now. There are currently 27 women in the running for the U.S. Senate, and 216 are vying for U.S. House seats. Plus six women running for governor. Not all of them will win their primaries to make it to the ballot in November. But there are hundreds of women campaigning right now — you’re just not hearing much about them.

The silence is a real shame, because in 2016 we could see a record-breaking number of women elected to the Senate. There are nine pro-choice Democratic women running for Senate this year, most of whom have a good shot at election. Compare that to the supposedly watershed "Year of the Woman" in 1992, which only saw four women senators elected. And, this year, four of the nine contenders are women of color, which is huge because only two women of color have ever, in history, been elected to the Senate.

posted by triggerfinger at 10:26 PM on March 27, 2016 [43 favorites]


Well, I could have called him megalomaniac racist mysogynistic zenophobe who uses his wife as a trophy to give his political party a boner but Drumpft was shorter.
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:37 PM on March 27, 2016 [14 favorites]


Well, I could have called him megalomaniac racist mysogynistic zenophobe who uses his wife as a trophy to give his political party a boner but Drumpft was shorter.

I am on your side. Call him all of the things that you mentioned. The fact that T is 2 generations removed from the name change is not a good line of attack for multiple reasons.
posted by futz at 10:53 PM on March 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


because only two women of color have ever, in history, been elected to the Senate.

Sometimes I think to myself that I am just privileged and need to shut up and I mean, it's not like that's not also true because intersectionality and all, but then I read stuff like this and I am like, Jesus damn.
posted by sunset in snow country at 11:04 PM on March 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


Great post. It's really hard to imagine that all of the boasting about genital size and figurative dick swinging is unrelated to the fact that the front runner for president is a woman.
posted by msalt at 11:13 PM on March 27, 2016 [8 favorites]


"I don't believe the Cruz rumors, because if they were true it would mean that at least six women have had consensual sex with Ted Cruz, and that's just inconceivable."

I am certain that if someone posted a similar speculation about Clinton's desirability or sexual experience, that person would have been thoroughly reprimanded by now, by multiple other posters. So why is this a-ok to say about a male candidate?
posted by mysterious_stranger at 12:03 AM on March 28, 2016 [11 favorites]


quietly hoping for a 2020 Michelle ticket
posted by DreamerFi at 1:11 AM on March 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


So why is this a-ok to say about a male candidate?

cf. post title.

Now, I understand that this question needs a more complex answer than a simple one-liner, but I do think that sexism needs to be understood in a specific context where it is clear that it has more severe consequences for women. In addition, to speak of the very specific context of Trump vs Cruz: is it not they themselves that invite us into their sex lives? It is, apparently inconsequential for men to do this kind of stuff since it is still they who retain their agency by centering their phalli. How to decenter them? Laughter helps maybe, though there's a fine line between a joke and an insult which cannot be decided by a universal standard definition of sexism.
posted by sapagan at 1:12 AM on March 28, 2016 [28 favorites]


That's a good answer, hopefully we leave that conversation there for this particular thread.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:07 AM on March 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


they are promising a Clinton dirt file too - are you going to feel so bullish about the Enquirer when they start pulling out whatever they can come up with for the general?

Why would they need to do that, when Democrats have been obligingly doing it already for the last six months?
posted by happyroach at 2:26 AM on March 28, 2016 [9 favorites]




I don't like Ted Cruz at all, but I do think there's a strain of attacks on him and his looks that boil down to "he's not performing masculinity right." I mean, talking about his "punchable face"? And Trump Tweeting about how his own wife is so much hotter? And people saying "no way that many women would have sex with him" totally fits with that.

If the stories about the affairs turn out to be true it will probably help his image in some ways, by making him seem more virile.

It is interesting that we're seeing more of these kinds of gendered slurs (by men against other men) and literal dick size contests in a race against a woman. I wonder if Trump, with his alpha male act, would have done nearly as well if Hilary weren't running? Like "C'mon, you want to vote for a man, you jnow you do. Well I'm the manliest!"
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:30 AM on March 28, 2016 [7 favorites]


Comments about Cruz's repulsiveness don't have much to do with him badly performing masculinity, but likeability.
posted by emjaybee at 4:41 AM on March 28, 2016 [13 favorites]


I don't like Ted Cruz at all, but I do think there's a strain of attacks on him and his looks that boil down to "he's not performing masculinity right."

The problem is that Ted Cruz isn't performing humanity right. I'd never accuse him of being "soft" or "feminine," because what does that even mean? No, I accuse him of looking and behaving like a half-melted Westworld escapee. Anyone who can overlook this to the point of having sex with him must have what I can only call an unhealthy amount of empathy: crouton-petting taken to a dangerous extreme.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:42 AM on March 28, 2016 [21 favorites]


Not to extend a derail too much longer, but RE "Drumpf": as someone with a German last name growing up in the US, I don't feel comfortable with the idea that you make fun of someone by making fun of their "ethnic" name. There was too much of that in my schoolyards.
posted by Slothrup at 4:43 AM on March 28, 2016 [29 favorites]


Comments about Cruz's repulsiveness don't have much to do with him badly performing masculinity, but likeability.

Yeahbut, comments about Hilary Clinton's likeability also have to do with her gender performance. Like we (even progressives, in spite of ourselves) typically find people more likeable when they're performing their gender correctly, even if we don't exactly realize that's what we like about them...
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:45 AM on March 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


Trump: crazy & dishonest
Cruz: crazy & honest
Clinton: Sane & dishonest
Sanders: ??? & honest
posted by blue_beetle at 4:46 AM on March 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't think the prejudice works the same for men and women. But you can certainly make a good case for calling those Cruz comments immature and wanting people to stop using them.
posted by emjaybee at 4:48 AM on March 28, 2016 [7 favorites]


Trump: Chaotic Evil
Cruz: Neutral Evil
Clinton: Lawful Evil
Sanders: Chaotic Good
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:50 AM on March 28, 2016 [12 favorites]


Regarding Cruz, at least one of his affairs allegedly involves a $500,000 payout of hush money. So...that takes it a bit beyond mere sex.

As for Trump's name, making fun of its original spelling is stupid.

Either way, both Cruz and Trump are horrible.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:51 AM on March 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah but, comments about Hilary Clinton's likability also have to do with her gender performance. Like we (even progressives, in spite of ourselves) typically find people more likable when they're performing their gender correctly, even if we don't exactly realize that's what we like about them...

This is a very interesting comment. I've thought a lot about why I dislike Hillary Clinton. And it has nothing to do with her gender, it has very much to do with her personality and her political stance on various issues. That being said, I still sometimes second guess myself and think: "Would I really be responding this way if she were a he?" I feel like I'm overthinking it, but I find myself wondering if I'm subconsciously being sexist because of cultural norms, media, socialization, etc.

I like to think that I'm a liberal minded person that is not sexist or bigoted in any way. But, I still have these doubts and so I try to think very carefully about how I discuss or think about her as a politician and a person.
posted by Fizz at 5:02 AM on March 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Making whether or not you'll call somebody by a name they agree to be called dependent on whether or not you agree with them is extremely gross.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:16 AM on March 28, 2016 [13 favorites]


[So, suggestion one: let's drop the arguing about Trump/Drumpf/etc. Been there done that over and over and over and over. We can't force you, but it's pretty easy to avoid misnaming, and not doing it means not sideways insulting a whole bunch of other people in the mix. Suggestion two: think of this thread as an exciting opportunity to not just repeat the exact same general stuff from all the other many, many, many, many US election threads, and discuss more specifically about the posted articles if they're of interest. If not, we still have all the other many, many, many US election threads for posting the same stuff.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:22 AM on March 28, 2016 [25 favorites]


> I feel like I'm overthinking it, but I find myself wondering if I'm subconsciously being sexist because of cultural norms, media, socialization, etc.

Well, it's not like it would be unusual or out on the fringe-edge of weird for this to be the case - that's how bias works. You don't have to be a card-carrying MRA to have sexist attitudes and perceptions and have them affect how you interpret things and the choices you make.

If you were a single-issue kind of voter and you're against Clinton because she's for something you're against or vice versa, then implicit sexist bias is less likely to be a factor (in this case). But when things like "personality" come into play? Those beans can always stand closer scrutiny.
posted by rtha at 5:40 AM on March 28, 2016 [45 favorites]


This is why I don't watch televised debates. I don't want my opinions of candidates tainted by my subconscious prejudices and judgments of their performativity. When we watch them under the lights, subjectivity becomes too strong.

And I feel really sorry for anyone actually named Drumpf. You didn't deserve this.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:46 AM on March 28, 2016


Here's how I deal with my own internalized sexism, if that is helpful - when people were talking about Biden entering the race, I found myself feeling so much more excited about a Biden candidacy than a Clinton candidacy.* But if someone asked me, even today, what my issues are with Clinton, I would say (1) the Iraq war vote; (2) a sense that she is willing to achieve legitimate goals using illegitimate means or by disregarding people it's convenient to marginalize; (3) her expressed views and work to advance some of Bill Clinton's agenda items I strongly disagree with.* And yet - Biden voted for the Iraq war. Biden participated in the demonization of black communities and black crime and black drug use, and the flagrant discrimination against the GBLT community.* In fact, in my opinion, Biden did far more than Hillary Clinton to advance Bill Clinton's policy agenda I disagree with because he had the privilege of choosing to vote for or against these things throughout Clinton's whole presidency, a privilege very few Americans ever get.* I care about the sense that Clinton is a dishonest person; why doesn't it matter to me that Biden seems to have no sense of personal space when around women, even women strangers, or that he palled around with Kennedy and Dodd, people who were famous in Washington for treating actual women they encountered like trash and/or their personal harem members, or that Biden made that "clean" comment about Obama?*

It's hard because there's not always a yardstick like Biden to use. But to me the key is - Am I "punishing" Clinton in my esteem far more intensely than I would a male candidate in her position? Am I dismissing her out of hand when I would give a male politician in her position a pass? Am I using very real policy disagreements as a cloak for a mysterious "gut" feeling I have about her?

When I watch Hillary Clinton on television, I find myself liking her, and trusting what she says, and thinking "wow, she is really strong on X, Y, or Z." But the abstract idea of President Hillary Clinton gives me a gut feeling of "eh" or sometimes "ugh" or even "I really really want a woman President but I'm mad it's going to be her," even after I think through the Biden analysis I outlined. So I choose to attribute that "ugh" to my internalized sexism.* And I choose to come to terms with the fact that I may not be able to be excited about the first woman President, because that lack of excitement is a result of decades of being told that women are worth less than men.

*(Note: I am not saying this is true of anyone but myself. I'm also not trying to turn this into a discussion of the specific Clinton or Biden stances, because we've been over them in about 50,000 threads, so it would be helpful if people could accept this stuff as purely my opinion and not try to litigate it.)
posted by sallybrown at 6:05 AM on March 28, 2016 [75 favorites]


how shabbily older women are treated in our culture Thanks, Salieri. I'm 60, white-haired, female. Looking for work sucks. Working in tech sucks. I'm sick of fighting discrimination. And I have gotten tougher. I appreciate Hillary Clinton's toughness because I know from experience that she developed it with a lot of work and pain.

I'm an old broad, and not remotely conservative. I'm a feminist. I'm a Social Democrat - I have primarily socialist views, and think democracy is, so far, the best political approach. I'm fiscally conservative in some ways, socially conservative in some ways. I agree with many of Bernie Sanders' ideas, but I don't see him having the ability to execute those ideas unless we magically get a liberal Democratic House & Senate with solid majorities. I believe there has, in fact, been a "vast right wing conspiracy" to discredit Bill and Hillary Clinton and that the intent was to limit Bill Clinton's ability to govern and limit Hillary's future as a candidate for office. I believe that conspiracy of wealthy far-right fuckers will actively spread lies, disinformation, doubt, about any and all Democratic, not-conservative candidates.

I'm a big fan of Hillary Clinton and a Clinton delegate to my state Democratic convention. She accepted the lies of Bush/ Cheney and voted for war in Iraq, a bad choice, but understandable in the context of post-9/11 life in the US. She's a little to accepting of expediency, especially in comparison to Sanders purist politics.

One of the most amazing pictures I saw when Obama was inaugurated was 2 little Black boys looking at Barack Obama with awe and pride. They get to grow up knowing that the presidency is an option for them. That's huge. That changes everything for African-Americans in the United States and the world. I want my descendants to know what boys and girls in Germany, India, the UK, Ireland, Taiwan, Argentina, etc., know - that women can be president(prime minister, etc.) It's not trivial. Would I align with Clinton if she were a man? Impossible to say. Gender can't be removed from the equation. I like her politics; she's genuinely liberal. I like pragmatism. I love that she has made the rights and health of women and children a priority. Clinton is incredibly well organized and has used her time to be Sec. of State and to plan. She has her eyes on the prize, and is wisely keeping her feminism away from the spotlight, because it can only lose her votes.

Some have said that making Clinton's gender an issue is anti-feminist (because they want you to vote for their preferred nominee). Nope. I have all respect for Sanders and his voters, have heard him speak, feel affection for him and would thoroughly enjoy a Sanders presidency. But breaking this glass ceiling is feminism. I guess I not only want little girls to see a grandmother in the White House, I want us old broads to have her there, too.
posted by theora55 at 7:44 AM on March 28, 2016 [60 favorites]


In addition to sallybrown's own internal analysis (which I also do all the time when I'm trying to honestly consider my own bias), there's another good point in the article I linked above - did you decide you hated Hillary first and then collect substantive policy positions as justification? This kneejerk hatred could be the result of decades of the GOP smearing her, which I think has filtered into our collective consciousness, whether we paid attention or not.

That's what makes it so difficult to analyze negative feelings toward her - not only because Bernie is not an easy comparison as, say, Joe Biden; but also because there's so much baggage from her past, so much of it tangled up with Bill Clinton, that I think it's genuinely hard to really separate out (for me anyway) the legitimate issues with her from the things that have been influenced by an already sexist culture which attacked her disproportionately. I don't think there's any way that I haven't been subconsciously influenced by not only the more obvious ridiculous attacks like Benghazi, but also by a near lifetime of the press and GOP using words like "shrill" "dishonest" "unlikeable" "cold" "calculating" to describe her. We're more aware of how things like language influence perception now, but they've had decades of doing this where there was little, if any, blowback at all. There's no way this hasn't helped shaped Hillary's public persona in a pretty big way. I think it's hard, if not near impossible, to separate that subtle influence out from what she has done so as to objectively consider her as a candidate. But I think it's important to try, and I do see people who support Bernie who seem to have done a lot of internal analysis on this and still support Bernie, which I think is great and it's heartening to see more people making an effort to look at it honestly. But I'm not sure if that's the norm yet, because I still see so many insults applied to Hillary that seem really gendered in nature.

And for me, there's a real visceral reaction when I see anyone talking about her using really gendered terms. Because I've had those things used against me in ways that are extremely upsetting and unfair. So when someone says "I want a woman president - just not this woman. Just something about her", I hear "We want to hire more women in finance/tech/law, we just can't find any that are qualified/likeable/a good fit". It's true for me that as I've become older, I've become more radicalized. Because this stuff has worn me down over time. And I can honestly say that seeing the treatment of her has made me support Hillary more, because it's confirmed that not only are my fears about sexism in society true, but they're actually worse than I thought, and wow, am I sick of dealing with it.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:45 AM on March 28, 2016 [45 favorites]


That's what makes it so difficult to analyze negative feelings toward her - not only because Bernie is not an easy comparison as, say, Joe Biden; but also because there's so much baggage from her past, so much of it tangled up with Bill Clinton, that I think it's genuinely hard to really separate out (for me anyway) the legitimate issues with her from the things that have been influenced by an already sexist culture which attacked her disproportionately. I don't think there's any way that I haven't been subconsciously influenced by not only the more obvious ridiculous attacks like Benghazi, but also by a near lifetime of the press and GOP using words like "shrill" "dishonest" "unlikeable" "cold" "calculating" to describe her. We're more aware of how things like language influence perception now, but they've had decades of doing this where there was little, if any, blowback at all.

Very well articulated. Thanks for sharing your own thoughts on this specific subject.
posted by Fizz at 7:48 AM on March 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


I really hate that I care about the "personalities" of candidates, which is always a mediated perception. That kind of thinking is a big part of how sexism, racism, and other bigotries are reinforced.

I also think that arguments between Clinton and Sanders supporters illustrate almost everything difficult about intersectionality. And the right is discovering that conservatism has its own long-neglected problems of...well, they wouldn't call it intersectionality, but that's what it is.

Whatever. I know I'm voting for the Democratic nominee, and I know that's going to be tactical and pragmatic. It'll also be quite satisfying to vote for Hillary for a lot of reasons, perhaps chief among them the ones theora55 puts forward. It was tactical but enjoyable when I voted Sanders in the primary, too.
posted by kewb at 7:52 AM on March 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


A few people in my office have made certain remarks about the vindictive way in which Republicans went after President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinski scandal and how that some how legitimises the way certain politicians and the media are exploiting the Ted Cruz sex scandal. And while I can see that this tit-for-tat kind of thinking is easy to make, it is still a nasty situation and makes the entire political process disgusting and tabloid-esque.
posted by Fizz at 8:20 AM on March 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'd be willing to criticize him for an affair because he takes up the "moral christian crusader" type of mantle in his politics and spotlighting hypocrisy in moral crusaders who want to force their morality on others is okay in my book. However, the evidence for this scandal is just not there yet. The only sources reporting it are unreliable and there are a lot of private individuals involved here who can be hurt by this, not just one sleazy politician. The story needs a lot more evidence before it should be taken seriously.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:29 AM on March 28, 2016 [1 favorite]


The biggest thing people want to overlook about Bill Clinton's affair is that HE NEVER TRIED to tell people, oh, I am so moral, vote for me. DOMA aside, which was a shame, he didn't tell people how to live their personal lives. This is in sharp contrast to the behavior of Bill Bennett (who even wrote a book on moral behavior while concealing his own gambling addiction), Jimmy Swaggart, etc., etc., etc.
posted by jfwlucy at 8:52 AM on March 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


A family member recently told me they couldn't imagine Hillary as president because there was no way she would be able to work at the same desk where Bill cheated on her (he used more colorful language). I was speechless - said something along the lines of "I don't understand how that's relevant". This (apparently rather popular in conservative circles) idea that Hillary is somehow disqualified by this just baffles me.

The doubly weird thing about this made up narrative is that the President makes their own choice of furniture for the Oval Office. So even if this were an issue for Hilary, she gets to choose a different desk if she wants. (Surprise! Presidents don’t get given a desk and told to lump it if it wobbles & the third hand office chair is missing a castor or two.)

Apparently most Presidents have chosen the “Resolute” desk that Bill Clinton used, but there’s nothing compulsory about it: as ever, Wikipedia provides more detail than you ever really need to know.
posted by pharm at 8:59 AM on March 28, 2016 [6 favorites]


(Great post on the Resolute desk by felix.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 9:48 AM on March 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


A good way to evaluate whether your feelings on Hillary Clinton are sexist is to compare them to your feelings about Barack Obama. For instance, people seem very upset that Hillary was not always for marriage equality, because they know she's really a bad person and her current view is just a craven flip flop. But Obama was against marriage equality because he had no choice, the political climate didn't allow it, etc and his reversal is lauded as a welcome change of policy.

Now, this isn't to say that Hillary doesn't deserve criticism for this, but it might be worth investigating why Obama gets a pass? If Obama was running for office again, would people attack him on this? No, in fact, this reversal was partly what got people enthusiastic about him in 2012.

She's held to a different standard. Maybe the answer is that she shouldn't be, or maybe the answer is that everybody should be. But as of right now, it's an imperfectly applied standard and we should recognize that.
posted by mpbx at 10:27 AM on March 28, 2016 [19 favorites]


No, in fact, this reversal was partly what got people enthusiastic about him in 2012.

Obama in 2012 was the first Democratic candidate to lose popular votes from the previous election since 1980, and the first incumbent to lose popular and electoral votes since 1940. I don't think anyone was more enthusiastic about him in 2012 than they were in 2008.
posted by Etrigan at 10:37 AM on March 28, 2016 [4 favorites]


sallybrown and triggerfinger, those are the feelings I have had about Clinton.

I was strongly anti-Clinton in 2008. She gave me a bad feeling and I found something wrong in everything she did. It was obvious to me, obvious that she was conservative and in the service of monied interests.

The older I've gotten and the more I've read about who she is and what she's done--specifically articles not written when she's running for things--the more I've started to identify with her and recognize those age-old subtle misogynistic attacks interwoven in criticisms of her.

That "Why Sexism at the Office Makes Women Love Hillary Clinton" article really speaks to me. I have identified as a feminist since I knew what the word meant, but it wasn't until my mid-twenties that I really started appreciating my female friendships, and it wasn't until now, in my early thirties, that my willingness to give the benefit of the doubt for the tone-policing and ageism and "likeability" judgments has completely died out. It is hard to explain this to younger women without sounding condescending, essentially saying "Oh, you'll understand when you're older." But it's true, these were things I knew existed but didn't feel and didn't have the radar for until I was older.
posted by schroedinger at 11:26 AM on March 28, 2016 [23 favorites]


What changed for me between age 20 and 30 after entering the corporate workforce was not finding out that these problems exist, or even how pervasive they are, but finding myself participating in and enforcing sexism. My personal intransigence and desire to contradict or question authority on a project led by one of my few women bosses, as compared to how I typically acted when a man was leading the project. My timidity in leading a project that involved having to "boss around" men. My little flicker of disgust when a female job applicant sent a thank you email filled with exclamation points (one of my most used punctuation marks!!!!) compared to my amusement at the burly male coworker who frequently used smiley faces in his emails. The many many hours I happily spent as a listening ear for a male boss who had anger issues and "needed to unload" his worries about work (I felt "special").

My feminist response to the more obvious sexist incidents that cropped up at our company (and there were MANY) was still strong. But I often caught myself, or looked back after the fact, to see just how enmeshed I was in a pervasively sexist culture.
posted by sallybrown at 12:34 PM on March 28, 2016 [20 favorites]


I saw the top FPP essay when it first went up on NYT, and enjoyed it. It reads a little naive utopic to me — I don't think that we're in a place where naked pictures don't hurt women's careers in a way they don't for men — but it's a future that I think is worth working toward. (It annoys me when folks get all sanctimonious about how people shouldn't take naked pics if they don't want them stolen/shared/whatevs — the problem is in the post-pic judging, not the pics themselves.) But I was recently trying to run down a story based on a rumored bit of anti-revenge-porn activism (from a former coworker who was always half bullshit, about a claimed black bag campaign), and delved into some of the Chan/VOAT cesspool, and it was just too fucking much to deal with — just fucking hatred toward hacked women in a deeply hypocritical way. I couldn't confirm the rumor quickly and couldn't handle the misogyny.

I do hope that this election helps highlight and cleanse some of the horrible double-standard shit that women in public positions have to deal with, but to say that it's over now because Kardassian and Lawrence is to be blind to a pretty privileged media bubble — that they can be naked and not have a huge backlash (despite both of them getting a pretty significant backlash in reality) doesn't mean that a second-grade teacher in Topeka has the same level of impunity.

"In any case, both Cruz and Trump should be loaded into rockets and fired into the sun."

Why do you hate the sun?
posted by klangklangston at 2:01 PM on March 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Ever since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun.
posted by Justinian at 2:10 PM on March 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


Living in San Francisco has brought out my latent vampire tendencies. Sorry, sun-lovers.
posted by rtha at 2:13 PM on March 28, 2016 [2 favorites]




The Onion weighs in.
posted by ckape at 3:39 PM on March 28, 2016 [2 favorites]




I'm not sure if the above link didn't work for other people or if it's just me, but just in case: We Expect Women to Have Impostor Syndrome. That’s Why We Can’t Handle Hillary Clinton.

(thanks andoatnp!)
posted by triggerfinger at 7:22 PM on March 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


That "Why Sexism at the Office Makes Women Love Hillary Clinton" article really speaks to me.

Me too -- I think I only recently realized how deeply I had internalized some of the misogyny that comes baked into corporate office culture. Unfortunately, when I posted the article to Facebook, one of my young white progressive male friends (he just turned 30) went off on a multi-comment screed against the article and I had to delete the entire post when he got on his "equal representation is a crock of shit, having a black president didn't do a damn thing to impact anyone's life and saying so is some feel-good bullshit" trip and hashtagged a popular slogan from a political campaign (oh, you know the one). Clearly it's time to go back to using filters when posting on social media, because until homeslice derailed everything it was sparking some interesting conversations among my female friends about when they started noticing their own participation in sexism, or the subtle ways the system keeps us down. It's a damn shame that in order to have that conversation at all, I have to exclude people who really need to hear those conversations, because they're not actually capable of listening to us.
posted by palomar at 8:21 PM on March 28, 2016 [14 favorites]


We Expect Women to Have Impostor Syndrome. That’s Why We Can’t Handle Hillary Clinton.

That's a great link, andoatnp (and triggerfinger!), and I'm having a hard time picking out the good parts to quote because I pretty much nodded furiously through the whole thing.

I'm so grateful to everyone who has posted about examining their own internal sexism, because that's definitely something I've had to do as well. Even as a woman, you can't escape the self-directed biases from growing up swimming in misogyny.

A political campaign is almost like one complex, extended job interview—and in job interviews, women who ask to be rewarded for their relevant achievements face gendered discrimination. Studies have shown that women who negotiate their salaries are seen as greedy and less likable, while men who negotiate are also deemed less nice, but they don’t suffer the ensuing social cost that women do. Another way to look at a campaign, Kegler says, is as a “huge, public performance review.” In performance reviews, women get far more critical feedback than men, and they’re often critiqued for their personalities while men receive feedback on their work-related skills

YES, exactly. And so many great links backing up the premise that women have the deck stacked against them. I want to emphasize that this is still happening. This is the now we're living in. This isn't, "Oh yeah, back in the bad old days women couldn't vote or own property but we're all better now!" Women are still being punished for behaving in the same way that rewards men, and I'm so fucking tired of it. This isn't good enough. This is not nearly good enough.

I've resigned myself that our first woman president will have a shit time of it, in the ultimate view of history. She will be seen as both weaker and more polarizing, and less "pure" than the women who will later follow her. She will be seen as a necessary evil - someone who had to break the barrier eventually, but was too compromised by doing so to be an effective leader. And some of those historians will shake their heads sadly and talk about what a shame it was that it wasn't someone better who had the honor. Of course, there is no woman in the history of the world who could stand up to that level of scrutiny.

I want Hillary Clinton to be that person, because I think she's incredibly smart and dedicated and will do a damn good job with the shit hand she's been dealt. And yeah, I think she deserves it, after her long years of public service, and I like that she's not afraid to do exactly what male candidates have been doing for decades: stand up and say that she's the best person for the job and why she deserves it. That ugly word "entitled" gets thrown around so much in regards to her. Hell yeah, she's entitled. And she should be. Good for her. More of us should feel the same way. Stupid worthless imposter syndrome. I'm tired of the burdens of internalized misogyny.

So yeah, I want Hillary to be our first woman president. And yet I don't want her to be a martyr for the cause, because she's better than that. But because of the society we live in, that's exactly what will happen. Even if she wins, she loses.
posted by Salieri at 8:34 PM on March 28, 2016 [16 favorites]


And yeah, I think she deserves it, after her long years of public service, and I like that she's not afraid to do exactly what male candidates have been doing for decades: stand up and say that she's the best person for the job and why she deserves it.

Sweet Jesus, no. I don't want anybody who thinks they deserve to be President to be President. It's not an honor to be bestowed; it's a job, and a terribly difficult one. I guarantee you that Trump thinks he deserves to be President, because he has no idea what the position actually entails. If Clinton thinks she's the most qualified, great. If you think Clinton is the most qualified, also great. But don't go bandying about concepts like entitlement or desert. They don't reflect well on any candidate.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:39 AM on March 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


Sweet Jesus, no. I don't want anybody who thinks they deserve to be President to be President.

Deserve doesn't mean entitled. It means earned or worthy of.
posted by billyfleetwood at 7:55 AM on March 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


Deserve doesn't mean entitled. It means earned or worthy of.

And I don't want to support anyone who thinks they've earned the Presidency or are worthy of the Presidency, or indeed any elected office. I believe that the proper mindset of a candidate is "Who's the most qualified person for this job? Oh, shit, I think it's me."
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:05 AM on March 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


That is interesting, Faint of Butt. As someone shadowed by a lot of self-doubt, I really value people who have the reasoned confidence (not overconfidence) to say "I am eminently prepared and qualified for this job, I believe I am the best choice for this job, and I predict I will be great at this job.". Becoming President requires some pretty unusual abilities and qualifications; in some sense there's a very small pool of people who are fit for the position. I don't believe you could just throw a very intelligent person into the role, for example. I wouldn't call this "earning" or "deserving" the position, but I can see how others might, because being seriously considered means you've put the time and work in for decades to get there.

And that kind of self-confidence does not include the Trump-style thoughts "I don't need anyone's help to do this job" or "I'm sure I will always be right and need not consult with others" or "I am the only one who can do this" or "no one dare question my authority."

In some sense I think mounting a run for President in this media and political climate requires that kind of rock solid belief in one's capabilities and qualifications. Why else would you put yourself and your family through that? (Other than Trumpian narcissism?)
posted by sallybrown at 9:34 AM on March 29, 2016 [9 favorites]


Thanks, sallybrown. I can certainly understand your point of view, but I just don't see any difference between self-worth and narcissism. I can't trust anyone who isn't crippled at all times by doubt and self-loathing, like I am, because when you start giving power to people who think they're good at things it only ends in disaster.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:52 AM on March 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


Thanks, sallybrown. I can certainly understand your point of view, but I just don't see any difference between self-worth and narcissism. I can't trust anyone who isn't crippled at all times by doubt and self-loathing, like I am, because when you start giving power to people who think they're good at things it only ends in disaster.

In this instance it's important ti understand that for women and minorities there's always and undercurrent of "you don't deserve to be here/haven't earned a place here" in places where white men get the benefit of the doubt. As we gain access to roles and positions that were previously denied us, it's important for us to be able to claim those roles without doubt or reservation.

If I get a promotion at my job, and co-workers assume it's due to tokenism or affirmative action, you better believe I will proudly point to my record and say "I earned this. I deserve it"
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:05 AM on March 29, 2016 [40 favorites]


I can't trust anyone who isn't crippled at all times by doubt and self-loathing, like I am, because when you start giving power to people who think they're good at things it only ends in disaster.

As a woman, I find this enraging. I'm crippled by doubt and self loathing, and it fucking gets in the way of my work. It does not make me better at my job. It does not encourage me to get things done. It is paralyzing, because it makes it harder for me to focus on my actual work and harder for me to put myself out there. I've been working on making it go the fuck away for years specifically because it is an obstacle to success.

I cannot cosign what billyfleetwood is saying hard enough.
posted by sciatrix at 10:10 AM on March 29, 2016 [24 favorites]


I can certainly understand your point of view, but I just don't see any difference between self-worth and narcissism. I can't trust anyone who isn't crippled at all times by doubt and self-loathing, like I am, because when you start giving power to people who think they're good at things it only ends in disaster.

There’s a world of difference "crippled at all times by doubt and self-loathing" and humility and confidence. I can't trust anyone who is crippled at all times by doubt and self-loathing to do the job, because because that and narcissism are two sides of the same coin, easily and likely to be flipped.

There’s another entire point of view. There are people who are confident but humble, they simply don’t care about those things in the same way.
posted by bongo_x at 10:52 AM on March 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


A person crippled by doubt and self-loathing would never survive politics long enough to hold office as town dogcatcher, let alone make it through the campaign process to be elected President. And frankly I can't understand a mindset that would prefer someone who hates themselves and thinks of themselves as utter shit to be holding an office where they have to interact with other world leaders and make huge decisions that affect millions of lives around the globe. Why on earth would I want someone who has zero confidence in themselves to be in that much control? Wouldn't that mean they're susceptible to being controlled by someone who doesn't have the country's best interests at heart? Have we not already experienced a presidency like that during the George W. Bush years?
posted by palomar at 12:03 PM on March 29, 2016 [11 favorites]


I think actually saying you want to be president should disqualify you from becoming president. Anyone who wants to be president has an ego too big for the job.

Deserve doesn't mean entitled. It means earned or worthy of.

stand up and say that she's the best person for the job and why she deserves it...Hell yeah, she's entitled.

Good thing Salieri used both!
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:30 PM on March 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


From the mega election thread: this study found being reminded of traditional gender roles was enough to swing men from a 16% preference for Clinton to an 8% preference for Trump. The difference is not seen for Sanders. Because masculinity is nothing if not as fragile as the crust of creme brulee.
posted by schroedinger at 4:23 PM on March 29, 2016 [12 favorites]


And yet we are not permitted to smack it with the back of a spoon. Where is the future I was promised.
posted by rtha at 5:50 PM on March 29, 2016 [18 favorites]


"And yet we are not permitted to smack it with the back of a spoon. Where is the future I was promised."

Unfortunately, the results of a fractured fragile masculinity are nowhere near as delicious.

(Of course, if these guys just realized that the reason they're reactionarily reaffirming traditional gender roles is to compensate for all the ways traditional gender roles have failed them, they'd probably be more happy, but the article does mention that the priming tends to make liberal men more liberal, so lemme just say that things are pretty great over here in the land of the quiche-eatin' beardos, where being butch as Tom of Finland can just be a hobby, not a full-time job that takes the power of the president to maintain.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:13 PM on March 29, 2016 [7 favorites]






Trump Wants to Outlaw Abortions and Punish Women Who Still Get Them: "There has to be some form of punishment."

As horrified as I was when I saw the clip of him saying that, it's really just another great example of Trump saying out loud and in very clear terms exactly what the entire anti-choice contingent has been suggesting since the dawn of their existence.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:19 PM on March 30, 2016 [6 favorites]


Yeah I always thought that was a weird disconnect on the anti-choice side. How could you not punish the women? They only say they don't want women arrested in order to be politically pleasing.
posted by LizBoBiz at 5:08 PM on March 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Pro-lifers tend to get pretty mumbly and evasive when they're asked if women should be punished for having abortions.
posted by octothorpe at 5:21 PM on March 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Anti-choicers here in the US, anyway. In El Salvador, women go to prison. Well, the ones who don't die of sepsis, or who can afford to leave the country or have access to discreet medical care.
posted by rtha at 6:00 PM on March 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Trump wants a big, super-invasive government that will reach right up inside women's uteruses. Which ought to be pretty easy for him, with those tiny little hands of his.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:27 AM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah I always thought that was a weird disconnect on the anti-choice side. How could you not punish the women? They only say they don't want women arrested in order to be politically pleasing.

It's also caught up in infantilization of women. If you decide someone isn't qualified legally to make their own medical decisions, why punish them if they choose wrong?
posted by Drinky Die at 4:30 AM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


Exactly. And this point should be hammered home, because it clearly established the bullshit of the "killing babies" rhetoric. A fetus is not a person and when pressed -- even when faced with an unpopular political choice, as here -- anti-abortion activists quickly admit it.
posted by msalt at 12:49 PM on March 31, 2016




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