Saturday, April 6, 2013

by piglet and oogie


So, this happened, and Piglet and I are exhausted.

If you are too lazy to click on the link (and/or have been living under a rock for the past couple of days), President Obama, during a fundraiser, described Kamala Harris, the Attorney of General of California, by saying,

 ““She’s brilliant and she’s dedicated, she’s tough… She also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general…. It’s true! C’mon.”

What I firmly believe is such an innocuous statement has led to such outrage, vitriol, etc., that one would think that the President may have casually thrown out the phrase, “legitimate rape”, was a Supreme Court Justice voting with the majority on the Lily Ledbetter case, may have been hanging out recently with a female French tourist on a bus in Brazil, or may have been selling acid-filled containers to disgruntled men in certain third-world countries.

On the one hand, I understand and acknowledge the arguments of the critics of President Obama's remarks; I really can see the logic driving the sentiments of the critics.   After all, does not every overly-politically-correct argument have some reasoning to it?  You hate it when I use the word "crazy" in a sentence because it might be offensive to true mentally challenged people?  I get it.  You hate hearing about my diet because I may inadvertently be part of the oppression of “fat” people? Yup, I get it.  You hate that time your friends complimented each other on their looks because there may be some aesthetically-challenged people out there?  I get it.  But these are at the extreme end of true problems-i.e., NOT PROBLEMS AT ALL.  There are people walking among us AGGRESSIVELY and very very ACTIVELY engaging in a no-holds barred war to bring down women, demean us, or destroy us, so to choose to be upset over a joke related to looks, all the while claiming it is tied to some "bigger" issue, is exhausting.  As in, exhausting the way that, for instance, screaming “racism” and “death to all White men” over every action against a black person is exhausting.  (See, for instance, the recent race-related riots in Flatbush, New York, over the police-related shooting death of Kimani Gray, a young man with a questionable history and whose culpability is not immediately black or white, and its potential de-legitimization of disturbing and on-going race-related abuses such as the Trayvon Martin death, and the unapologetic Stop and Frisk program of the New York Police Department.)  We have real issues, people, and the resulting brouhaha over President Obama’s comment is dangerous and DOES contribute to delegitimizing of those real issues.

There is also a level of hypocrisy that bothers me about the outrage women have exhibited over this “incident”.  Attractiveness is used by every gender to compliment a female- especially females to other females.  Spend an hour with a group of females and I shall bet you that you shall hear a compliment based on someone’s physical appearance- be it shoes, hair, makeup, anything, at least once within that hour. (I would argue for a 5 minute window, but I dare not be flippant.)  When did it suddenly stop being okay to be attractive? I dare any of my female friends to claim that being called pretty or something based on physical appearance does not matter to them.  No, not being told that their attractiveness is their sole contribution to their position (in whatever form), I’m saying- a simple compliment- I dare them to deny that it does matter.  Wait! Is it because a penis commented on a woman’s attractiveness?  Nope.  According to K, “I think the fact that the President’s comment caused so much buzz is a problem for her and for women, even if he didn't mean it.”  After banging my head on the wall, I chose to ignore K’s comment or to point out that the “buzz” was actually caused mostly by women and what should have been a non-issue became one of the more annoying protests to which I have been subjected to all year. 

President Obama was making a joke.  That joke should not be a story.  Further, before even looking up the identity of other Attorney Generals, I knew she would be one of the few females populating a non-diverse group of primarily White males- a setup that is often perfect for this joke.  Should I break it down further?  When an obscene majority of the State Attorney Generals are male, of course she is likely the most attractive State Attorney General (and the last I checked, Ryan Gosling was still walking his dog around Brooklyn).  So yes, he.made.a. JOKE!  Or… mayhaps we make the argument that instead of calling Kamala Harris attractive, he was actually calling the other Attorney Generals ugly (uh oh… the White House better issue a preemptive apology asap.)  P.s., if we’re going to get on the train of crucifying the man as being anti-woman, let’s make another leap:  President Obama’s comment, if the knee-jerk liberals had thought for a second, would have had a FAR MORE positive effect on gender equality than a negative one because it should have been used to call attention to the woeful disparity evident in the demographical breakdown of the State Attorney Generals. 

The Kamala Harris incident is an example of exaggerated political correctness; knee-jerk liberalism, if you will.  Women should be proud of being attractive AND intelligent and accomplished, etc. Being attractive, having that noted in addition to your accomplishments is not meant to diminish your value and I think it hurts us in the short and long run to harp on this non-issue.  We have so many REAL work-place related issues; we should focus on fighting those.  If we took a second to think, we’d all know that President Obama is a far cry from the Mad Men era. So please, stop the madness because it is for nonsense like this that the fight for equality and the related movement remain a divisive one.

2 comments:

  1. I agree with all of this in theory but I just read about a study kind of demonstrating that mentioning a woman's looks in any way is bad for her political career.

    http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2013/04/when-compliments-arent-helpful.html

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  2. Slate had the same study, with a darling picture of Sarah Palin as the banner image. I still stand firm, however, that the statement by the President does not qualify.

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