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Gawker Story Was Not Sexist, But It Was Vulgar And Tabloidy

10/29/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
As many of you know by now, thanks to the able reporting of LGR’s Natasia Langfelder, Delaware Senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell has released a statement along with many others regarding the publication in Gawker of what they are portraying as some kind of sexual indiscretion event in the candidate’s past. The attacks on Gawker are the usual standard of how this is ‘sexist’, ‘misogynist’, and wrong. Here are the relevant sections:

From O’Donnell’s camp:

“This story is just another example of the sexism and slander that female candidates are forced to deal with. From Secretary Clinton, to Governor Palin, to soon-to-be Governor Haley, Christine’s political opponents have been willing to engage in appalling and baseless attacks”

From NOW:

“The National Organization for Women (NOW) on Thursday condemned the tabloid website Gawker for publishing an anonymous account: NOW issued a statement late Thursday stating that “sexist, misogynist attacks against women have no place in the electoral process, regardless of a particular candidate’s political ideology.”“

I would like to address something separate from what Ms Langfelder addressed in her article which can be read here. I have a problem with this incident being considered sexist and misogynist. If these are sexist and misogynist, then what were the scandals involving Bill Clinton, Mark Sanford, Mark Foley, and Larry Craig? Where these then sexist and misandric?

What Gawker did was shine a light into Christine O’Donnell’s bedroom and show her to be a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to her values, but it is no more sexist than what was done to those four men. Unfortunately, equality means that we are pulled down into the muck along with the men when it comes to these issues. The big difference is that we women are less likely to do stupid things like men.

The only really horrific part of the story was the rather unflattering and vulgar description of O’Donnell naked. That part was beyond the pale and should not have been printed, but the rest of it, I am sorry, but it is not sexist, and it is no more sexist that the very vulgar stuff that was printed about President Bill Clinton during his whole scandal, including some very intimate details as well.

This is, unfortunately, the world of politics. If you do not like it, then do not get into it.

The peeking into bedrooms is one thing that should not be discussed or made scandal of. In truth, the majority of Americans do not care if politicians are sleeping around. For all the furor over Clinton in the press, the reality is that most Americans did not care at all, and yet his impeachment cost taxpayers large sums of money.

Just because Ms O’Donnell is a woman does not make what is said or done to attack her sexist. Not every attack on Hilary Rodham Clinton was sexist. Was this article vulgar, salacious, and tabloidy, sure, but it wasn’t sexist. In order to be a sexist attack, it has to call into question whether or not O’Donnell is fit to serve as a Senator because she is a woman, not because she is a hypocrite. It must call into question if she is fit to serve because she has never been married or never had children, not if she talks about mice with fully functional human brains.

Pulling the sexism card when what you want to do is force women back into the days where we were not allowed to vote, control our own bodies, or serve in public office is rather ridiculous. It also serves to degrade and destroy the sexism allegations in the same way that pulling racism or homophobia at the drop of a hat does. It muddles up the message and makes it truly hard to change attitudes based upon those issues.

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One Response to Gawker Story Was Not Sexist, But It Was Vulgar And Tabloidy

  1. Natasia Rose

    October 29, 2010 at 11:18 am

    great article bridg. The only thing I would want to add is that Republicans have said that the women in their party are hotter than the ones in ours, so I do think the fact that she doesn’t wax should have been mentioned. :-)