Clear and Present MisogynySeptember 20, 2007 at 11:42 pm | Posted in Culture, Historical Fiction, LIfe, Philippa Gregory, Sexual Identity | 3 Comments
Last weekend during her live web-cast, Philippa Gregory was asked on a couple of occasions which historical character she wishes she could have been. She jokingly selected Henry the VIII. In seriousness, she said that she would not want to go into the past to be any historical character before 1920 when women got the vote. More to the point, she would prefer to continue to live after the 1960s when contraception was legalized and made available. Along with many people in the audience, I don’t think that it would be that bad to go back and live as a woman who was born into some status and had strong character. After this week, I feel differently ~ society still hasn’t come far enough.
On the September 14th episode of “Real Time,” Bill Maher made some insulting, degrading, and medically inaccurate remarks about women, the role of their breasts, and their over-appreciation for the role of childbearing and its associated responsibilities. I won’t repeat what he said here. If you’re interested in reading the transcripts or seeing a video of this segment, it’s readily available on-line (it’s been removed from You Tube for violations).
Today is September 20th, six days full days after the episode aired. With the exception of the Internet’s Mommy Bloggers, there has been no other significant reporting about his remarks. Where is the outrage?
In fact now, as I published this post, not even Bill Maher’s wikipedia entry has been updated to reflect this “controversy” yet.
On the other hand, within minutes after Don Imus made his radio faux-pas, we heard of nothing else for weeks. In fact, I stopped watching CBS’ morning show because I couldn’t stand another minute of Julie Chen rehashing it with yet another “expert.” I’m not downplaying what Don Imus said at all. It was a crude comment focused on a group of minority women. Is misogyny only reprehensible under those circumstances? I hate to break it to you, but Maher’s remarks cover just about every single possible minority covered by law. Again, where is the outrage?
I would wager that if Maher had been comparing the fruits of a homosexual relationship to something “dogs can do” that he would have be tarred and feathered 10 times over with more angry crowds headed in his direction. Why aren’t there any angry crowds gathering to support all women and their roles in our society by speaking out against such a public display of misogyny? Why hasn’t HBO suspended him and his show yet? Can it be true that all of the flap about Don Imus had more to do with protecting the dignity of African American males than it did with defending the Rutgers’ women’s basketball team? I’m beginning to wonder.
So, Philippa, I’m beginning to understand what you were saying last weekend. Sure, we can now vote, own property, and use contraception. That’s all fine and good. What I would like, however, is to create and live in a society where men like Bill Maher are not given a pulpit from which to spew their misogynistic viewpoints to the entire world. Unfortunately, it is unrealistic and perhaps counterproductive to attempt to make every single human being fully appreciate all other human beings. There isn’t enough societal pressure in this entire world to keep one subset of humans from thinking and talking poorly about a different subset of humans.
I don’t want my daughters to live in a world where men, like Maher, can say such things to them. Unfortunately, I won’t always be able to protect them without the help of our corporate media. HBO, you, along with your subscribers and advertisers, can prevent those viewpoints from being telecast. Can’t you? Will you?