I take back what I said before, about how what Weiner wants to do on his text machine is up to him and his spouse. And if she’s cool with it, whatever, let’s move on because people like their little kicks and it all seems consensual, if boneheaded for a public figure, etc. etc.
I take that back because “slutbag”?? A former Weiner intern made some almost hilarious except also offensive claims about the Weiner campaign, and this is how his communications director responds? And she claims she was off the record (which, as savvy media consumers know, is idiotic for any major communications director of anything to assume about any conversation with any reporter ever. And also the reporter notes that she never made an “off the record” claim at the time, which to me is moot because:)
Barbara Morgan, apparently, thinks in those terms when disagreeing with another woman. Also, extra points to her for shockingly extreme inarticulateness.
So here’s the thing about slurs.
Slurs represent how people really feel. Paula Deen. Anthony Weiner’s catfight/sorority/stereotypical/degrading to all women everywhere communications director. Whoever else “caught” in a “slur” he thought was “off the record” or “inappropriate for the situation.” That Macaca guy.
On or off the record, that’s how people really feel.
Like, the mayor of San Diego LICKING WOMEN (in the guise of kissing this woman’s cheek, after asking her if she could take off her wedding ring for the weekend and she said no, and the kiss involved tongue??????) (Citation: Melissa Harris-Perry covering for Rachel Maddow, the podcast of which I listened to the morning after, this morning, on my commute.)
It would be funny. The licking and seemingly confident, un-self-conscious, public groping by an elected official with apparently zero sense that twenty years of sexual harassment training has been given in workplaces all over our country, and which doesn’t mean shit if the Mayor of San Diego publicly grabs and gropes and tongues women with no apparent belief that this behavior is anything but fully appropriate. Till he gets accused by 8 women, and sued, and censured by his city council, who is instituting safeguards against his using public funds for his own defense.
THEN, after all that, he calls it wrong.
He would be funny. Except that there’s also Steubenville, and Ariel Castro, and so many signals everywhere, always, that woman are not actual people, with thoughts and feelings and experiences and, you know, desires not to be licked by the mayor of San Diego. And one of the women suing him, and San Diego, described the worst 6 months of her working life, in which she saw her boss routinely groping women, and whispering sexual provocations to her, and generally making my own experience of workplace sexism seem like the fucking Dr. Phil show.
All of it: not funny. So stop laughing about the licking. Stop it! Stop it!
And then one woman with a public forum has internalized sexism so deeply that her response to a PR scandal is to call another woman a “fucking slutbag” who “totally sucked” at her job and “fuck her with her glamour shots” and seriously? She got paid to say that to a reporter? Why can’t you pay me to be your high-powered political comms director?!?
But back to my point about how it doesn’t matter if she was on or off the record. Because this is how millions of people think about women. Especially woman that disagree.
And Mr. King of What-Does-She-See-In-Him hired her. And fostered a workplace in which that kind of belief is just dandy, let’s all go get ice cream.
So screw you, Anthony Weiner. You’re not getting my symbolic vote. And you’re not getting my sympathy for your mundane, boring kinks. Because those kinks now look like manifestations of an entire sexist worldview, in which you run a campaign like it’s a fucking frat party, and you call all women interns Monica and insult them for working for you.
And Mr. Mayor of San Diego can go off to a island somewhere, full of hostile, wild, dick-eating boars, alone and sad, with his “two weeks” of behavioral therapy that is meant to undo a lifetime of internalizing a society that normalizes objectification of women so completely that most people don’t even notice it. But please, oh please, get him out of office and let’s stop rewarding this shit by excusing it and assuming it will just go away on its own.
And by assuming that all of these episodes are isolated incidents by misguided but basically well-meaning people.
Sexism is the water we swim in. And it’s mixed up in the same water as racism, classism, ableism, fear of sexual and gender minorities. Fear of poor people. Our love of violence and guns. It’s all the same water.
And we drink it every day, till we choke.