Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Don't believe what you see on the teeve

Back in my academic days I would have the same conversation over and over again with successive waves of (mostly female) students. You know, the one that goes like this:

THEM: I'm not a feminist, but ...

ME: How would you define a feminist? What would you say a feminist is?

THEM: Feminists are hairy-legged lesbians in overalls who go to demonstrations and are shrill and scream a lot and hate men. If I was a feminist I would never get a boyfriend and nobody would ever want to marry me.

[Mass gestures of curl-patting, nose-powdering and swishing of short silken skirts.]

ME: And you know this how?

THEM: We see it on TV!

ME: Okay; what sex would you say the person holding the camera was? The director? The writer? The producer? The station company CEO? The owner of the station?

THEM: Oh. Um.

With that in mind, read the post I've linked to down there. It's not so much 'about' Hillary Clinton as it is about the way she has been represented in the US meeja.

I don't even know if I'm barracking for Clinton. Most people are telling me not to. Yes I know what she said about Iraq and alas yes I also know what she's now said about Iran. Yes I know she tells lies (just like every other politician on the planet, but still). Yes yes yes I know.


Anyway. Read this. And do watch the clip.


lauredhel said...

It gets tiring having the same conversations over and over again.

I can't find myself getting really worked up about Obama vs Clinton; either would be so much less bad than a Republican win, and both of them have been badly maligned and misrepresented by media, campaigners, and so on.

Some of the stuff going on has been really chilling. I just read this at Shakes - a hanging noose was found by an African American officer at a Secret Service training facility, and a veteran agent has been suspended over the incident.

This is not at all to say that Obama has it worse in the media-denigration stakes (or any others, really), because I don't believe that for a second. I'm just saddened and frightened that such a wonderful, hopeful change in the air is resisted so hard by so many people.

Catherine Morgan said...

Hi Kerryn. Thanks for linking to my post at The Political Voices of Women. :-)

Louise Swinn said...

Hi PC,

My experience of these conversations with students and peers is more that they find trouble explaining why they feel as though feminists are nut-jobs, they just know that they are -- which is always a slightly odd and somewhat amusing position to be in when they must know that the they they are referring to is also me.


M-H said...

Thanks for this PC. Apparently we've not come very far since the NZ press made great play of a cat show being held in the same building as the second United Women's Convention (Wellington, 1974).

kris said...

Wow. What a great post. Thank you for the link. I've been trying to hide away from the whole US election thing - it is just too hard to filter it all without getting completely absorbed into the vortex. A montage is very helpful ;-P

As to the student thing - you hit it right on the head. There is a perception that a feminist is somekind of power hungry man hating boot wearing crazy lady. The question is has the concept been hijacked? Or has it's message failed to get through to the Idol, Big Brother generation? I think they have no concept of environmental consciousness either... WHAT TO DO?!

lucy tartan said...

Echoing Kris, it's a great post, and the video actually squeezed out a couple of tears. Some of the language used was gobsmacking. I wonder if someone who's following the Democrats race coverage can tell us whether there is any hint of comparably hate-filled verbal imagery used by media towards Obama. I can't imagine there would be.

Deborah said...

Fantastic clip - I loved it.

Hilary said...

Mind you, reality TV has enlightened me even more than I wanted to be on the extent of the victimisation of the female. Big brother is the most disturbing. The boys have a kind of group loyalty which is used against the girls. I've even seen this sort of thing on The Biggest Loser.

And once I had a uni project on the Adelaide Women's Prison and it's quite disturbing how the legal system discriminates against women, such as that women get longer sentences for the same crime. You don't notice these details as an individual.

Helen said...

Hilary (heh), yes, one of the morons on BB said on the first night that he hoped there wouldn't be too many "girls" or "females" or whatever because you know how boring they are. Noice.

Su said...

Oh great post and I cried during that video too.

I don't know who is the better candidate but I do know that America won't accept a woman president. The vile language directed at her, the smirking faces of the pundits as they spew the same sexist epithets that have been around for decades; it's shattering.

I want to believe Julia wouldn't cop that here, or not as badly.

Chris said...

I voted for Helen. I think I'd prefer to vote for Obama over Hilary, given the chance. Not that I'll get a chance, like 99% of the people following this schmozzle.

David J said...

Well I wouldn't vote for Senator Clinton or Senator Obama if I had the chance - both ruling class reps as far as I am concerned.

But the viciousness of some of the comments in the first half of the video does show enormous sexism. I remember watching Letterman years ago and his top ten was "Top Ten things you wish Bill CLinton would say". Number 2 or 3 was "Pipe Down, Woman" - there was a huge, spontaneous cheer from the studio audience.

BTW have you seen the sketch that the "Women, Know Your Limits" headline was taken from? It's here on YouTube and is very funny.