The Ladies “Gender Stereotypes” Does Not Mean What Maureen Dowd Thinks It Means
posted by June 25 at 13:20 PMon
I’m a little late getting to this (no time to Slog these past two deadline days), but did folks read the Public Editor column in last Sunday’s New York Times? The column poses the question that’s suddenly trendy now that Hillary Clinton is safely out of the way: Did sexism color media coverage of the Clinton campaign? Specifically, did it color the NYT’s coverage? The answer, Public Editor Clark Hoyt concludes, was mostly no — except for one notable exception: Editorial columnist Maureen Dowd, whose columns
were so loaded with language painting [Clinton] as a 50-foot woman with a suffocating embrace, a conniving film noir dame and a victim dependent on her husband that they could easily have been listed in that Times article on sexism, right along with the comments of Chris Matthews, Mike Barnicle, Tucker Carlson or, for that matter, [William] Kristol, who made the Hall of Shame for a comment on Fox News, not for his Times work.
What I love is how he lets Dowd hang herself—and how effectively she does so.
“I’ve been twisting gender stereotypes around for 24 years,” Dowd responded. She said nobody had objected to her use of similar images [uh, not true] about men over seven presidential campaigns. She often refers to Barack Obama as “Obambi” and has said he has a “feminine” management style. But the relentless nature of her gender-laden assault on Clinton — in 28 of 44 columns since Jan. 1 — left many readers with the strong feeling that an impermissible line had been crossed, even though, as Dowd noted, she is a columnist who is paid not to be objective.
So, by feminizing male politicians so she can call them fags (or “chick,” or “weak sister,” or “Breck girl”, or “effete,” or “Scarlett O’Hara,” or “so feminized … he’s practically lactating,” or a “debutante”) Dowd is actually twisting gender stereotypes! Same thing for when she calls female politicians icy, manly, ball-busting bitches. Ridiculing men by calling girls isn’t sexism—it’s editorial license. Good to know.