My Bio

My Bio
My name is Sharon Levin and I've been reviewing children's literature for 20 years. I founded and run the Bay Area Children's Literature List. My biggest passion (outside my family) is getting books into the hands of children and teens. My favorite thing is getting non-readers to realize that they're readers. I also LOVE t-shirts that have to do with books or literature. As soon as I figure out how to do it, I'll have a click through on the above picture so you can see my entire collection (and where to get them).

February 24, 2015

Sexism, alive and well, even (especially?) among liberals

This one has been brewing for awhile, but finally boiled up and over after listening to Your Call on KALW www.kalw.org yesterday. (NOTE: Yesterday is actually February 2nd, yes it DOES take me awhile to finish things, especially when the %&#$ computer didn't save half this post, sigh). http://kalw.org/post/your-call-what-political-satire-and-what-are-its-limits-0

The guests were two political cartoonists,  Khalil Bendib http://www.bendib.com/ and Mark Fiore https://www.markfiore.com/ and while I agreed with them on many points (although I think they're looking at the U.S.'s support of free speech through rose colored glasses, it's not as strong as they seem to believe) I didn't start yelling at the radio until near the end of the program (I often yell at the radio, today it was because the S&P 500 admitted they manipulated ratings to line their own pockets, but will not admit to any crime. Plus $1.3 billion is WAY too small of a fine.)

Anyway, I digress (I know, you're saying "DUH, get on with it.")

So, a woman called in and complained about sexism in cartoons in Charlie Hebdo (I had also called in, said that I found what cartoons I had seen of theirs reprehensible, but I still defended their right to publish and I defend my right to choose not to buy their magazine).  Mr Fiore's comment was (and yes I'm paraphrasing, but he definitely used the 'b' word) "I don't care if there are a couple of boobies in cartoons.  I'm not putting them in mine, but it's okay if others do."

WTF?!?!  You, Mr. Fiore think that a woman is complaining because there are occasional naked breasts in cartoons?  REALLY?!?!?  You, Mr. Fiore, are a Dismissive, Chauvinistic  Twit (conveniently this contracts to DCT, yup, say it out loud).

It is AMAZING to me how quickly people (yes, normally men) dismiss sexism, even those who lean left.  Actually, I see it a lot in men who lean left.  Maybe they're so proud of showing how liberal they are about race, that they feel they can dismiss an entire gender out of hand.

Honestly, I don't know the reason, but as I said this has been simmering for awhile.

An earlier seed was planted when we went to Washington DC this past summer.  We went to the Martin Luther King Monument and took the docent tour.  The tour was led by a white male who was probably in his 60's. He came across as vehemently liberal and concerned about civil rights.  That's wonderful, I'm in total agreement with that.

As he was standing in front of the beautiful, looming sculpture of MLK, he talked about the 15th Amendment giving black men the right to vote.  He said, "Imagine if you were African-American or Japanese-American or American Indian, you were not allowed to vote before that."

I said, "And if you were a woman, you couldn't vote until 1920."  He looked at me and shrugged.  SHRUGGED!!  WTF?!?  We're talking another 50 F-ING years before women got the vote!  What is this with the dismissiveness of men toward women?  Men who seem incredibly proud of their 'open-mindedness' but still limit it to their own gender?

Now, I'm not going to just focus on men, because, as I said in a previous post (Women, Are We Our Gender's Own Worst Enemy?) it's not like we women are always supportive of our own.

When we took a tour of the Capitol our female tour guide pointed out with pride the statue of Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony http://www.aoc.gov/capitol-hill/other-statues/portrait-monument  She seemed to be highlighting the openness of our government to include women.  She said that it had been given to the Congress by the National Woman's Party in 1921, commemorating the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.

I vaguely remembered there being a relatively recent brou ha ha about that statue and confirmed via the 'Magic Box' (husband's iPhone) that the statue had been in the Crypt (you know, like the basement where you put those holiday gifts you never want to see again) for over 50 years.

So, I raised my hand and very nicely (REALLY, I can be nice) pointed out that the statue had not been brought up to the Rotunda until 1997, which I think is actually quite interesting. The guide lit into me for 1) wasting time on the tour with this fact and 2) saying that there had been a crack in the base and NOT a reluctance to admit women to the Rotunda that was the issue.  Well, if she reads the website of her BOSS, the Architect of the Capitol, that is not the case.  If you want to read about it (and get really p----d off, check out this article http://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/27/us/3-suffragists-in-marble-to-move-up-in-the-capitol.html 

I do not know what to do about this.  I expect it from conservatives, I wish I didn't, but I do. But, from liberals? What is it that makes those who consider themselves progressive feel perfectly comfortable dismissing or demeaning more than half the population?

I don't know, do you?



2 comments:

  1. OK, I'll admit it. I'm a liberal who sometimes says or does something that indicates either a real bias, OR, a cluelessness that what I'm saying or doing makes it seem like I have a bias. Either way, I appreciate it when someone, in a healthy way, points that out and I get to grow. That's what friends, colleagues, family, and complete strangers can do for each other, transform the world one teachable moment at a time! Thanks, Sharon, for this moment of transformation!

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  2. Craig, we all do it, we are unaware of the stereotypes or preconceptions that we carry within us. However, knowing you I don't believe you would ever dismiss feminism or women's rights with a shrug. I, too, need to be taught and I appreciate it when someone helps me see better and broader (when they do it gently) :-)

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