Saturday, October 06, 2012

Deplorably Dated Discourse

Todd Akin is still hanging around, and as anticipated, the GOP has relented and has started pouring money back into the Missouri Senate race on his behalf.  It's not as if Akin has improved his campaigning skills, however.  He continues to say outrageously stupid things.  His latest?  A complaint that his opponent wasn't being very ladylike.

I think the best analysis of this odd whine came from Leonard Pitts Jr. of The Miami Herald.  His column was featured at McClatchy DC and nails just what that word choice says about the speaker.


It is a telling choice of word. Hearing it used unironically, as would-be Missouri senator Todd Akin did last week, one almost feels as if Amelia Earhart never flew a plane and Sally Ride never rode a space shuttle. As if Madame C.J. Walker never made millions and Meg Whitman never made CEO. As if Lisa Leslie never dunked, Pat Benatar never rocked, Oprah Winfrey never reigned, Hillary Clinton never ran. ...

One struggles to imagine a male lawmaker being chided to behave in a gentlemanly fashion. The person doing the chiding would be laughed into oblivion and deservedly so — the complaint belongs to the era of handlebar moustaches and high-wheeled bikes.

This is not to say that a man ought not strive to behave in ways that reflect class, refinement and manners. He should. A woman should, too. In a nation so rude that a member of Congress hectors the president during a televised speech, many of us could stand to act as if we’d had the benefit of home training.

But this is not about that. It is, rather, about an arrogant, condescending and paternalistic mindset which says a woman cannot be tough, aggressive, competitive, smart or feisty, that if she embodies those traits, so prized in men, she does so at the cost of her own femininity.
In this construction, being a “lady” has nothing to do with good home training, and everything to do with being properly deferential and submissive in the presence of testosterone. And yes, you may just want to chalk all this up to a difference of values, to say that Akin, West and Specter are just old-fashioned guys having trouble finding their way in a newfangled world. But to do that is to give them a pass they do not deserve. It is to tell a little girl she must truncate the sprawl and adventure of her personality, prune it back until it fits into a small, dainty box marked “ladylike.”   [Emphasis added]


It's a shame that the concept of political correctness has fallen into such disrepute, that it has been confused with obfuscating euphemisms.  It's also a shame (as Pitts points out in his conclusion) that we still have people who operate in the realms of the last century and that many of them wind up in elected office.

I guess money really does talk, loud and clear.

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Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I guess money really does talk, loud and clear.

And it owns both parties.

10:08 AM  

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