Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Concerned Women [For Some of] America

[TW: Body shaming]

"It takes a really weak, insecure, and spineless man to attack a woman on television....All women, regardless of their political persuasions need to speak out against these kinds of attacks because they harm everyone who is female from age 2 – 92." -Penny Young Nance, CEO, Concerned Women for America (CWA), writing of Bill Maher's sexist attack on Sarah Palin

Quick! Somebody alert the Concerned Women for America (CWA) that their buddy bud Glenn Beck, Famous Mormon Dude, recently attacked a woman on his radio show. And by attack I mean, in response to a skin cancer public service announcement featuring Meghan McCain visibly naked from the shoulders up, Beck reacted by pretending to repeatedly and violently vomit. And, as a presumed dig at her weight, Beck and his pals repeatedly called her "luscious."

I guess Beck doesn't find McCain, who supports same-sex marriage, sufficiently human or conservative enough to be treated with respect.

Other than supporting my maxim that patriarchy exists to give men, attractive and otherwise, the authority to declare women Obectively Out Of Compliance With What Constitutes True Beauty, Beck's display mostly provides evidence of his own immaturity, incivility, and sexism. And, well, no big surprise there. Keeping women in the sex class is basically the point of the religion and politics that men like Beck subscribe to.

I condemn Beck's actions and place the blame solely and squarely on his shoulders. As Naomi Wolf observed in The Beauty Myth, our society's Skinny Mandate for women parallels eating trends in developing countries where food is reserved for the most important members of society- boys and men. Nothing pisses off misogynists in the US more than a woman who unapologetically refuses to starve herself.

At the same time, unfortunately, the prevailing view among female collaborators in patriarchy, sexism, and misogyny- that would be, organizations like CWA- is that some women don't deserve to be defended. Indeed, unlike liberal and progressive feminists who regularly take liberal and "progressive" misogynists to task, those so-called Conservative Feminists who are BFFs to male anti-feminists are usually nowhere to be when their male political allies are sexist.

We get the message loud and clear, ladies. Some of us don't deserve to be defended because we really are ugly or fat or queer or liberal or leftist or socialist or pro-choice or what-have-you, and so the attacks inflicted upon us because of our gender or sex are deserved. And, being attacked for our looks is fair game because, of course, a woman's looks are the most important feature about her.

McCain herself, puts it well, in responding to Beck, many women- including Beck's daughters- "are probably dealing with the sexist, body-obsessed media environment that is difficult for all women. Is this really the legacy you want to be leaving for yourself?"

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