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Why Do They Hate Us?

April 5, 2014

I wouldn’t know what Rush Limbaugh ever says or does except for watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert mock what he says and does.

In a recent episode of mockery, Stewart showed a video clip of Limbaugh as he spoke to his listeners on his radio show. Why he creates a visual record of his radio show, I have no idea but that’s beside the point. On the show he posed the proposition that Hillary Clinton could not or should not win a bid for the presidency of the United States…..because America is not ready to watch a woman age badly in front their eyes.

This premise was so offensive to me on so many levels, I felt like my brain was going to explode. My heart rate shot up. The levels of offense coalesced into the question, “Why do some men hate women?” Why have men in general always hated women? When did it begin? This is a question beyond American society today or conservatism vs. liberalism. It’s beyond the kind of topics found in a gender studies classes in colleges. I find myself wondering from a sort of anthropological point of view… did this start? And how do we fight it, change it and end it? Is it a matter of basic physical differences? Does it go back to the hunter-gather vs. nurturer?

The hatred of women manifest itself in so many ways in the world today. Is hatred too strong a word? Think about it. Limbaugh did not criticize Clinton as a person, as a politician, as a thinker, as someone with policies and ideas and a mind and experience. He didn’t even specify her specifically in the quote, though it was obvious who he was talking about. He suggested that the people of this country would not want to have a woman as their leader because they wouldn’t want to see her age. He said a person should not be a leader based on the fact that their gender dictates that they should always project beauty and that an aging woman is ugly and nobody wants to see that. That’s hate. Not hatred of an individual for specific reasons but hatred of an entire group of people based on their gender and the image he feels that gender owes society. He disqualified a person from leading based on the supposition that their physical appearance does not and would not fulfill the standards of beauty that he believes the female gender, at least those in a public leadership role, owes society. She’s not pretty enough. That’s why she could not or should not be president of the United States.

I’m sorry. What the fuck year is this? Really?

Do men understand how incredibly insulting, infuriating and hurtful that is? And I answer my own question: Yes. Many do. Because they’ve experienced the same hate based on their race, sexual orientation or other prejudicial qualifier. The idea that there exists people in the world who hate me because I was born a girl is a thought that fills me with sadness and anger.

One could counter that I’m using the words of one of the most hateful and extreme examples of a human being on the planet as my baseline for what people think. Sure. But the guy is still on the air. He needs listeners and sponsors for that. His existence as a public figure must, to some degree confirm or validate that his opinions are shared by some.

Besides, this example might be a watershed moment of shock for me but there are other extreme and subtle examples of the same hatred around me every day. Malala Yousafzai was shot in the face because she stood up for the right of girls to get an education! At the other end of the spectrum is the man who says, “Smile. You’re so pretty. You should smile more.” In the middle are people who say, “You’re bossy. You’re guarded. You’re unapproachable.”In other words, “I need you to hold in your person-hood, all the expectations I have of what it means to be a ‘woman,’ which changes all the time, and have nothing to do with who you are as a human being. And if I offend you with my expectations with a comment like, ‘Oh, honey, don’t worry, you’re too pretty to be fired,’ then I need you to keep your mouth shut and not be offended. I need you to suck it up and take it because nobody likes a woman who point out injustices. That’s not attractive.”

I don’t expect our differences to be ignored. I glory in the differences between men and women. And I’m not lacking in an ability to laugh at those differences, to mock sexism and stereotypes. Two of my favorite tv shows are Archer and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I love irreverence. I bathe in it, joyfully. But that’s the thing, they’re making fun of the ridiculousness of hatred and stupid stereotypes. Comedy mocks extreme sexism and racism, for that matter. Rush Limbaugh wasn’t joking.

I’ve never prescribed the “good ole days” idea about society. The idea that this generation, this time is so much worse than the ones that came before. My mom used to dream away about the idealistic 1950s that she grew up in. I would remind her about the racism, sexism and nuclear threats. She would claim that no one got pregnant in high school, then remember that most of her friends got married for that very reason. I’m not living in a set of Mad Men. But when I hear someone saying something so hateful on a popular radio show in 2014, it really makes me wonder about our society. Are we treading backwards?

When will girls and women be seen for what we are: Human Beings. Equals. Our lives or not less worthy, our minds, no less sharp. We are more than our sterotypes and the ideals you want us to be. We are more than our uteruses and breasts. We are poeple. Why can’t we get men to see us that way?

Hey Rush Limbaugh, go fuck yourself.


From → Rantings

  1. When Howard Stern was on the air, nearly 3/4 of his audience hated him. They found what he said so outrageous they just needed to hear what he would say next. The result was he had one of the most listened to radio shows in the country. I expect the same is true for Rush. His audiance doesn’t agree with him, but finds him so outrageous they just need to hear what he says next.

    So, not trending backwards. The people raised in the 50’s are people raised in the 50’s and will be people raised in the 50’s until they are dead, even then, they will have been people raised in the 50’s. The fact that social change is happening so quickly that people raised 2 social revolutions ago are still alive and talking is far from evidence that we are trending backwards.

    • Kitten permalink

      Hope. Yes. I feel that way most days. Growth is difficult whether it’s a child growing up or a society—ever reaching for that “more perfect union,” or whatever the case may be. Sometimes it just hurts in a personal way. Thank you for commenting!

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