Nothin Better than an Algorithm

I’ve already taken it upon myself to issue advice to the GOP once. That was a pretty good post.

The Garance has some advice, too. And it’s a pretty simple, nigh-algorithmic set of principles to guide conservative talking points about Clinton, should she decide to just friggin say she’ll run already.

  1. Can the ad, statement, website, or what have you be seen as encouraging violence against women or perceived as showing a lack of concern for the well-being of female victims of violent crime?
  2. Is it physically derogatory, overtly sexual, or obscene?
  3. Does it suggest the candidate has failed at being a woman in some way — too many kids or too few, too concerned with appearance or not concerned enough, etc. etc.?

Seems simple, right? And obvious? A little more specific (and responsible) than “WOULD YOU SAY THIS ABOUT A MAN?” but covers roughly the same points.

Franke-Ruta’s point is that sexist rhetoric about Clinton pulls the conversation away from policy, which is bad for our public discourse. True! And that the Clinton-haters will vote against her without a barrage of new sexist rhetoric criticizing her. Also true!

The hateful sexist tripe about her from the 90s will live on in their hearts, timeless, like Bogart and Bacall and the smell of apple pie at Grandma’s house.

But also, how sad that so many people given a public forum can’t already think this way on their own. Can’t imagine female subjectivity and experience empathetically enough to come up with these guidelines by themselves?

When we laugh so much at images of punching women, or shooting them, or seeing them trip, any of it: when we make these images part of our normal media world (even the inverse, when these images are on Law and Order all the time as part of a formulaic, orderly 45 minutes of drama), why shouldn’t we expect a “Slap Hillary” game to take off?

I’ve written already about how sexism is the water we’ve been drinking our whole lives. I guess this is called radical feminism? This belief that our society was built upon sexism and that we cannot really, ever get our minds around the idea of a world without it? And that gender norms inform everything we do and every way we see everything? And that most of these norms make men’s and women’s lives worse?

But I see it as incontrovertible fact, everywhere, all the time. Slap Hillary. The need to point out hey! Here are 3 simple rules for criticizing Clinton as a person and not a woman! I’m sick of my daughter dressing like a princess! Women in Hollywood! Women in Congress! Women in publishing!

Women working! Women staying at home!

But all the feminists are going to have to keep pointing this stuff out, endlessly, exhaustingly. Because if more people can even just see the problem with a horrorshow like Slap Hillary, we can maybe keep up the slow, hard work of changing it.

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