Tactics and Substance in U.S. Elections GoogleNews: congressional.election

June 8, 2005

by J

Markos' Blatant Hypocrisy

I continue to read the eruption in some portions of the blogosphere over the exposure of what's been lurking beneath the surface at the Daily Kos. I haven't posted much, although did chime in a couple of times at NYCO's new place. I tend to agree with Shakespeare's Sister that this is indeed not a new struggle. And yet I've been deeply disappointed at just how far we have not come, baby.

But, in this post I want to highlight what seems to me to be blatant hypocrisy on the part of Markos, and a telling signal of how deeply he just doesn't get it. A little while ago, in one of the fraught discussions that led up to the current fissure, susanw posted a diary about how she was tired of all the woman-oriented terms terms being used to insult people (pussy, bitch, and so on.) This is a not infrequent discussion in feminist circles (usually broadening to discuss the power of language generally), and most of the time it is not a call for censorship, but instead is meant to raise awareness. In that instance, Kos came down on the side of letting people say whatever they want. He said (according to comments in this discussion which was what pushed me over the edge into writing this post):
Fuck that (3.91 / 24) we are all adults here. you can't handle a potty mouth word, then you've got alternatives. Sheez, as though we don't have enough to deal with that the language police need to crack down on our vocabulary.

And for the record, I've been using 'bad" words since probably day one of this blog, and we've done just nicely for ourselves, thank you very much.
Okaaaay. It's a position. It does nothing to engage the substance of the critique, but as a policy matter for what he deems acceptable on his site, ok... Got it. (I think.)

Now, in recent days, as women over at the Daily Kos have been discussing (among many other things) demeaning and objectifying ads (including the "pie" ad that started the whole mess), there's been a fair amount of pushback along the lines of "You're all a bunch of anti-sex, humorless bitches." I think there's an interesting and lengthy discussion to be had about sexuality, imagery, marketing, and so forth. And I think it's a much deeper issue than what those knee-jerk superficial responses suggest. But, here's the irony.

In response to all of this (and really, go read all of the threads, it's been really eye-opening what you get when you scratch a bunch of so-called liberal Democratic men and see what's underneath their allegedly enlightened attitudes), Anna in Philly posted a brilliant bit of weblog counter-programming titled "Right now my pussy is so wet..." in which she noted that the new pie ad (which is even closer to soft porn) had really got her juices flowing. (The point, as was perfectly illustrated in the comments that followed, is that people go batshit insane at women asserting their sexuality, even as they denigrate them for being "anti-sex" in other contexts.)

Markos in another display of his rank cluelessness changed the title of her diary and said:
I edited the title (2.60 / 23)

You guys can beat up on me or whatever, and I don't care if people curse. But that title crossed some line. The same line that would be crossed if someone wrote "my dick is so hard".
Notwithstanding the whole issue that those two sentences, given the current state of society, power structures, and women's roles are not analogous (that's another book or three right three), he's just being a complete hypocrite with this reaction.

Markos' position is very clear: using words to refer to female genitalia as insults and weapons, fine. Encouraging an atmosphere on Daily Kos where men can shriek and scream that women are censorious, sanctimonious, killjoys for daring to point out sexist behavior - that's just peachy. Women referring to their own genitalia in a sex-positive fashion: CENSOR THEM. Making money off of exploitative images of women? Dandy! We looooves that! A woman dares to utter the word "pussy" to refer to her own anatomy and the fact that she's a sexual being? Shut down the presses!

Got it.

Oh. I got it alright.

Very loud and clear.
Posted by J at June 8, 2005 7:57 AM

It is so tiresome that we can't get beyond this same arguement -- "words don't matter, except when they matter to me! so ha!" Very nice comments J.

Posted by: Katxena at June 8, 2005 10:45 AM

I'm not sure self-objectification (i.e., calling attention to one's naughty bits and away from one's whole self) is the most effective response to objectification from others. It's like saying, "I'll stop these leches in their tracks by flashing them my boobies!" It doesn't quite work, y'know?

Posted by: Elayne Riggs at June 9, 2005 7:46 AM

Whether it's a good response to objectification or not (which is a whole separate question), it was a quick and incisive way to expose hypocrisy.

Posted by: J at June 9, 2005 2:43 PM

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