Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Still a long way to go, baby

Just when I think we are getting past sexism, it subtly rears its ugly head. Like every other pundit this morning, Esquire's Charles Pierce too weighed in on last night's GOP debate. In the course of trashing Michele Bachmann's performance, Pierce observed that she was "dressed, for some reason, like a Marriott bellhop." Um, exsqueeze me? (as Pierce is fond of saying.) Pierce did not comment on the attire of the other candidates. But he thought it perfectly acceptable to go all Robin Givhan on Bachmann. Pierce is no male chauvinist and he's well-known for his frat-boy writing style (he calls Mitt Romney a "smug, entitled prick"). Yet, in this case, he exemplifies the unthinking tendency by men to reduce women to objects. For some of us, it nearly qualifies as a pre-existing medical condition. (And lest you think I'm picking on Pierce, New York magazine's Dan Amira wrote that Bachmann was "Most Likely to Serve as the Captain on a Carnival Cruise Immediately Following the Debate.") In 1968, the cigarette brand Virginia Slims was marketed to young women using the slogan "You've come a long way, baby." Too bad too many of us guys haven't.

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