The Widdershins

Feminist Friday: Yes, Virginia: That is Sexism.

Posted on: August 26, 2011

Michelle Bachmann Official Photo

Some will probably disagree, but in my opinion, Michele Bachmann (R-NoFreakingWayIsShe EverGoingToBeTheNominee) doesn’t deserve a lot of attention from anyone. (This is why you can count my posts about her on the fingers of one hand.)  Yes, she may be a decent debater, and present herself in a somewhat normal-seeming manner, but she is a fringe candidate, even in the Republican Party, and she should be treated as such. However, Bachmann is such an easily-ridiculed figure that some female “Feminist” pundits just can’t help themselves. Cue the sexism, stat!

No, I’m not talking about that infamous Newsweek cover, which (to me anyway) looked like most pictures of Michele – including her self-selected publicity shot, which I’ve included in this post to make my point. I’m talking about self-proclaimed feminist Katha Pollitt of The Nation, whose latest opus is entitled, “Michele Bachmann, Wife-In-Chief?.” (I swear I am not making this up.) Katha boldly asks the question we are all dying to have answered: If Michele Bachmann were President, would her husband be the one in charge?

If you vote for Michele Bachmann are you really voting for her husband, Marcus, the pray-away-the-gay psychologist? After all, in 2006 she said she took a degree in tax law, despite hating everything to do with taxes, because he told her to. “The Lord said, ‘Be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands,’” she told the crowd at a Minnesota megachurch. At the recent GOP debate in Iowa, her supporters in the audience booed when the Washington Examiner’s Byron York reminded her of this episode and asked if she would be submissive to Marcus as president. But it was a perfectly reasonable question: people have a right to know who would really be calling the shots in a Bachmann administration. I can hear it now: “Darling, can you believe Paul Ryan wants Grover Norquist on the Supreme Court? Oh, well… If you really think so…” Nor was the question sexist, as some said. During a 2008 debate, Mike Huckabee was asked about an ad he signed supporting the Southern Baptist Convention’s doctrine that wives should “graciously submit” to their husbands. Much like Bachmann, who answered by saying she has a wonderful marriage and that “submission” means “respect,” Huckabee said it was really all about mutual love.

Is this woman for real? That question was so sexist, it was booed by REPUBLICANS, many of whom (being her base) are as religiously fundamentalist as Ms. Bachmann. FYI, Katha, the Presidency is A JOB, not an adult education course – and no one outside of a 30-year-old Jackie Collins novel talks the way she “hears” Bachmann speaking. Further, I really have to wonder if Ms. Pollitt has a significant other, because even in the most non-Christian-y relationships, partners seek job advice from each other. In the case of a Commander-in-Chief and his or her spouse, I’m sure some advice-taking does happen. It’s hardly a matter for the fainting couch. Is it really worth tarnishing one’s feminist cred just to enjoy the nasty thrill of a cheap Bach attack?

What’s even worse about this article, is that Pollitt knows Bachmann isn’t worth it. The very next sentence of her post wryly states,

Let me go out on a limb here and say that Michele Bachmann is not going to become president.

Then why bother?

Look, if you want to turn people off to Ms. Bachmann on a religious basis, it’s very easy to do. Ms. Bachmann has clearly stated that as President, she would bring her extreme religious agenda to an America that wants no part of it. Is that really so hard to write about? Ms. Pollitt, seemingly unaware of any irony, continues,

If the media were to take Bachmann’s religion seriously, most Americans would be repelled.

Katha apparently thinks slinging unattributed generalisms about religious extremists like Michele, and talking about what other people argue about Michele, and quoting a religious nutjob (a man, of course – not Michele herself), is the same as taking Bachmann’s OWN religion seriously. Here’s the token nutjob in question:

 “God has designed men to exercise authority in the home, in the church, in society and in government,” says Bryan Fischer, radio host and director of issues analysis at the American Family Association,  an organization that believes “a culture based on biblical truth best serves the well-being of our nation and our families.” So how can Bachmann run for president? Well, sometimes, Fischer explains, if God can’t find a man, “he’ll send a woman to do a man’s job” as a last resort. (And besides, her husband told her to run, so there.)

Did you catch that? Afraid her readers will awaken from their Michele-hatin’ haze, Pollitt cheats by pretending that Michele is running because her husband told her so. I suppose she was unable to find any actual quote by Ms. Bachmann saying something like that, and I’m pretty sure I know why: Because it’s not true. Bachmann has been widely quoted as saying that the “person’ who told her to run for President was, in fact, God. And last I checked, no one was mistaking Marcus Bachmann for The Almighty.

Frankly, the idea of Michele Bachmann being President isn’t scary because her husband would be in charge. It’s scary because MICHELE would be in charge. Michele Bachmann is an ignorant, inexperienced, and radical politician. She is both pro-Austerity (she voted against raising the debt ceiling and favors massive spending cuts to address the fake deficit crisis) and pro-Theocracy (she believes that the Constitution should be replaced with the Bible). Her eyes are so intense, they could double as X-Rays. Really, what more is there to say?

Mind-reading is not journalism. The “Some people say,” canard, which Pollitt also flings “liberally” around in this article, is also not journalism. And trying to freak people out about how Michele will “submit” to her husband when she’s in the White House, is blatantly sexist.

This is an open thread. Everyone in the hurricane’s path, take care! (Widdershins Lounge tonight.)


28 Responses to "Feminist Friday: Yes, Virginia: That is Sexism."

Those are totally see-through-walls-X-ray-vision-eyes. And I agree with your point about the Newsweek cover; I was a bit puzzled by the fauxtroversy. When I looked at the photo I thought: isn’t that how she looks all the time?

@1 – Me too. I was walking past a news stand in Grand Central and saw the cover, thought, “Oh, jeez, Michele Bachmann’s on the cover of Newsweek,” and went my merry way.

Pollitt was an idiot for Obama in ’08 (I believe she was one of the signatories on that ridiculous open letter begging him to be progressive). So it’s no surprise her writing continues to be vapid, focused on all the wrong things, and incapable of crafting a reasonably logical argument.

“Progressives” who still support Obama, even if only out of habit at this point, have no arguments for his reelection except various R candidates are crazy in one form or another. Bachman’s comments provide an opportunity for allegedly liberal feminists to redeem (ironic quotes) the cred they lost slobbering over Obama by distorting and then attacking this one point over and over. The reams of coverage of Bachman are meant to distract anyone from noticing how pathetic the horse Pollitt backed in ’08 is. You wouldn’t want all those badly-reasoned propaganda skills Pollitt picked up to go to waste, would you?

Frankly, the idea of Michele Bachmann being President isn’t scary because her husband would be in charge. It’s scary because MICHELE would be in charge.

I love that line, mb.

Pollitt was one who suggested that Obama could part the seas and walk on water upon election. Which led me at that time to cancel my subscription to The Nation as the entire magazine was basically behaving like cheerleaders acting on his behalf. Objective? No.

But I do remember when Bill Clinton was running and he guaranteed that we would “get two for the price of one” when referring to both himself and Hillary during that election. It raised plenty of eyebrows at that time and he was challenged to explain what he meant.

Asking Michele the same question is not that far out of bounds IMHO. She has played heavily into the Evangelical base by making these pronouncements and since Marcus himself is a “jerk” by any standards, the question just lays there begging for an answer.

The difference is that you may see it as sexist where I may see it as a viable issue owing to her past references surrounding her decision making.

As we have come to discover over the past few years, Sarah Palin’s inner circle primarily consists of her father and her husband. E-mails produced during her term as governor showed a real involvement by Todd in “mixing it up” in Alaskan affairs. This from a man who for years belonged to a secessionist party who never held public office. He was copied on just about every e-mail and took an active role in whatever passed for her decision making at that time.

It could also be pointed out that one of the supposed drawbacks to Hillary Clinton was the possible interference of Bill behind the scenes.

Fair question? Perhaps, perhaps not. But the issue is out there.

@1, DYB, I thought the same thing when I saw the Newsweek cover.

As a person who is old enough to remember when Reagan was a “fringe” candidate who, I thought, would never be elected President, I don’t take anything for granted with these nuts.

@4 Pat, my thoughts when straight to the Clintons as well. The MSM was very concerned about Hillary’s influence over Bill during the ’92 campaign, just as they were concerned about Bill’s influence over Hillary in ’08. If Michelle is running around saying that wives should submit to their husbands’ wills, why isn’t it fair to as Michelle just how much she would submit to her husband’s will if she were elected President?

I don’t think the point of the criticism is to wonder if a woman President would be led by her husband, I think the point is to see if Bachmann will backtrack on her statement that wives should submit to their husbands.

@4 – Agreed when it comes to Hillary & Bill. With Bachmann, my point is, who cares whether she is submissive to her husband or not? Her decision-making process is terrible: whether it comes from her, her husband or “God” makes no difference to me. I am more focused on, “Would she do a good job?” Clearly the answer to that question is, “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” Blame MICHELE for being a bad candidate and making bad choices; don’t blame it on her husband, for heaven’s sake.
@5 – If that was indeed Polliltt’s point, it was not well-made in the slightest, and it didn’t come across in the article. She needs to go back to Argument 101! 🙂

I’m off to Boston. Looks as if I have a “window” of time to get there and back before the storm hits.

Weather is predicted to be nice today and tonight (yay for the Red Sox!) but rain coming in by tomorrow, supposedly in the afternoon. I figure if I leave by 9am I should arrive home by 11.

This storm sounds serious and I am concerned about those living near the coastline. Obama leaving the Vineyard by Saturday.

We could lose power here owing to the high winds predicted but I will try to stay in touch upon my return.

Batten down the hatches!

Charge your battery on the computer up well, Pat. I’m going out for a while Saturday, but will try to stay around the computer last Sat and Sun for moral support. NYC should take a Cat 1 hit, and New England a tropical storm. Those aren;t so bad. The problem will be massive power disruptions.

In NYC all public transportation will stop running at noon on Saturday! Eeck!

And Obama has left the Vineyard to oversee hurricane preparations! So you know we’ll all be safe!

@7 and 8: and also because the damned storm is so B I G.

Also, as of last night Irene was still moving slowly. So, you have a big storm and it’s not moving quickly. That’s a recipe for lots and lots of rain, wind and flash flooding.

Just be careful y’all. Saw Jim Cantore a few minutes ago. He was in Battery Park and the folks were acting like everything was just fine.

Speaking of the Newsweek cover. Funny or Die takes it on. 2nd pic not safe for work.

Fredster, New Yorkers are just being New Yorkers with this storm!

I think my area is safe; I’m on top of a hill. On the map I’m in the white (safest) zone. I’m charging my Kindle all the way so I can spend the weekend reading!

Charge your Kindle, your computer and your phone. get some non-perishable foods such as crackers, peanut butter and that squirty cheese stuff. You will lose power, Your infrastructure is about to get tested, and it may be out for a long time.. If your building has an electric pump, you may not have any water flow. Fill the bathtub up, and either put up some water or buy some for drinking.. You can wash and flush with the tub water. The one source of food is the pizzerias who have nonelectric ovens.
Y’all let us know that you’re all right after the storm please, hear?

See, Dak found some scary stuff about Michele’s religion without being sexist. It can be done!

Happy Women’s Equality to you and all the Sky Dancers, Dak!

Village Voice suggestions on what to do about Irene. (find a hurricane boyfriend)

Oh, and be sure to pull out some cash. ATMs and debit/credit relies on power.

Thanks for all the suggestions chat! We’re hoping for the best here! As long as we don’t lose power – it’ll be fine.

Loss of power – and the length of fhe outages – are the main problem that you’ll face, A Cat 1 isn;t all that awful, but the aftermath can be.

D: There is a good chance you’ll lose power. Have a flashlight and extra batteries. But if you don’t have them now good luck with finding them now.

I agree with what everyone is saying. This is nothing to take lightly. Long Island is going to be slammed, and geographically speaking, Brooklyn is on Long Island (as is Queens).

@20: Right before our big ice storm last winter, I went down to my local hardware store. Only one flashlight and two batteries were left on the shelves. I had to physically fight with an old man over who would get them. Guess who won? 😆 We did lose power and I was grateful for that one flashlight.

Stock up on batteries. Then check to make sure your battery-operated flashlights, radios, etc., really work before the storm hits.

Take care, WT.

@16: Tee hee, Fredster. Romantic love and panic have a lot in common.

D: Check out these lanterns:

Probably too late to find one now, but they are good to have on hand at any time. They are bright enough to see to get around a room and such. I’ve got 2 of them.

Beata @23: When the lites go out whatcha gonna do? 😉

Although, if the a/c is off, that’s gonna get hot and sweaty quickly! 😆


Ahem. We do have a LOUNGE open, ya know.

Just sayin’. 😉

I agree!!

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