Hillary Sexism Watch, Part Ninety: Hide the Bunnies!

[Trying again, because Blogger blows chunks.]

Yep. We're at 90 now. And this one even sweeps in two separate, but related, incidents of misogyny. Actually, there's also a new MoDo column that loosely fits in with the same theme, but since that column is its own special flavor of demented, it deserves its own post.

Despite the fact that Obama has not actually won the nomination yet, there's a lot of end-zone dancing going on, and more calls for Hillary to Take Your Boobs and Go Home. Ah, but these latest calls are themed! The latest theme is Hillary's Your Psycho Ex-Girlfriend Who Won't Accept It's Over, aka "Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction.'"

First up: Wil Wheaton (yes, that Wil Wheaton) with a post called "hillary clinton: the psycho ex-girlfriend of the democratic party":

It's been crystal clear for weeks, yet she refuses to put party and country over personal ambition and drop out of the race, forcing Barack Obama to not only run against McCain and the Media, but also against her. It's particularly galling, because she can only win if her campaign can force Democratic superdelegates (one of the worst creations in the history of politics) to tell millions of Democratic voters -- many of them first time voters who, like me, finally feel truly inspired by someone -- to go fuck themselves.

It's driving me crazy, and I hope that someone sits her down with a calculator so she'll make this primary that is just strengthening McCain -- who, I feel obligated to point out again, is running for Bush's third term. That would be George W. Bush, the most universally hated president in American history.

At times like these, when it would be easy to despair, I find comfort in humor, like this post I saw on Reddit this morning: Hillary Clinton: The Psycho Ex-Girlfriend of the Democratic Party.

It's 2:31 AM. The Democratic Party is sleeping peacefully when it hears its phone buzz on the night stand. It rolls over and sees "Hillary" on the caller ID. It pauses briefly, considering pushing "END" and not dealing with this shit tonight. The thought is appealing but the Democratic Party knows that if it doesn't take this call, another one is only minutes away.

DEMS: ...Hello?

Hillary: Hey baby.

DEMS: C'mon Hillary. Enough with this.

Hillary: Don't you get it? You NEED me.

DEMS: No, I don't. It was fun while it lasted but I'm with Barack now. I made my choice, it's done.

Hillary: You can't really mean that. How can you say that after all the good times we had?

DEMS: To be honest, I started hanging out with you because Bill's pretty awesome.

Hillary: But I'm just like Bill!

DEMS: No, you're not. Bill is charismatic, inspiring, and gets me really good weed.

Hillary: Fuck you. You're elitist!

DEMS: I'm going back to sleep.
Oliver Willis and Michael D. at Balloon Juice also thought this was high-larious and linked approvingly. She's just deluded, after all. She can't win. Nobody really likes her. She's crazy with ambition. Who cares that no other candidate has ever been subject to this kind of pressure to get out when there's still a chance to get the nomination, SHE'S DESTROYING THE PARTY!!!

Women, of course, are not allowed to be ambitious. And they're supposed to know their place, and step aside when they're not wanted anymore. The boys are allowed to finish the game even if there's no way they can win, but the girl has to forfeit when she's told to. Otherwise, she just can't see reality, and she's a crazy stalker ex who just can't let go, even though she wasn't really wanted in the first place -- no, we really wanted to hang out with Bill. Why is she still tagging along?

Message received, gentlemen: This club is for men only. No gurlz allowed!

The kicker? The motto for Wheaton's blog is:
Wil Wheaton says, "Don't be a dick!"
Might want to follow your own advice there, pumpkin.

The next one is rather more disturbing, because it's not just a bunch of bloggers (even one who's FAMOUS) snarking about psycho ex-girlfriends. No, this one is a US Congressman, Steve Cohen, D-TN:

Memphis Commercial Appeal's Blake Fontenay: According to U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, she may be starting to more closely resemble another famous movie character: The psycho lady played by Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction."

When asked about whether Clinton should drop out of the race on Fox 13's "Good Morning Memphis" program today, Cohen said: "Glenn Close should have stayed in that tub."

Man, they really do eat their own.

UPDATE: Here's the video of the Cohen interview. His Clinton remark is about two-thirds of the way in.

UPDATE II: Hmmmmmm. Chris Rock last month: ("It's going to be hard for Barack to be president. . . . Hillary's not going to give up. She's like Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction.' ") (Via comments)
In his post on the Cohen comments, Jake Tapper linked to the Pauline Kael review of "Fatal Attraction," written when it came out in 1987. And Tapper gets why this is misogynist, as well as why it's a big potential problem for Obama:
The "Glenn Close in 'Fatal Attraction'" analogy brings with it a whole carousel's worth of baggage given the meme at the time of the release of "Fatal Attraction" that, as the late great Pauline Kael wrote in The New Yorker at the time, the "film is about men seeing feminists as witches."

"Fatal Attraction," Kael wrote, "parrots the aggressively angry, self-righteous statements that have become commonplaces of feminist fiction, and they're so inappropriate to the circumstances that they're proof she's loco. They're also the director Adrian Lyne's and the screenwriter James Dearden's hostile version of feminism."

No matter how you slice it, Alex Forrest was the movie's villain, like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. I'd posit at the very least that it's not keeping with Obama's lofty campaign rhetoric to compare Clinton's tenacity to psychosis. And it will indubitably further alienate women voters whom Obama needs to bring to his side once the Democratic race concludes.
Ironically, Cohen is known as a progressive who has been effective on women's issues. He has offered some apologies: Tapper notes that his office issued an apology, and Cohen (or someone from his office) showed up in comments at Tennessee Guerrilla Women, and also responded to an email from Big Tent Democrat at TalkLeft. In all three cases, the apology offered was the same:

I sincerely apologize for the comments I made about Senator Clinton's campaign. I have great respect for Senator Clinton as a US Senator. She has waged an historic campaign which has done much to break the glass ceiling. My comments obviously do not reflect the sentiments of Senator Obama or the Obama campaign. Nor do they reflect my opinion of Senator Clinton whom I have known for years and admire. My hope is that our party will come together to work to defeat John McCain.
Egalia at TGW and several commenters at TalkLeft noted that this apology was not going over very well. And as an apology, it's very problematic. The biggest problem is that the comments were not made about Clinton's campaign, but about Clinton herself. She's clearly being cast in the Close role, not her campaign. It's not the campaign in the tub, it's Clinton.

In addition, if you have so much respect and admiration for her, why on earth did you make these comments in the first place?

It's also somewhat surprising that he apologized at all, since most instances of misogyny used against Clinton have simply been ignored or just not taken seriously (one exception: Ken Rudin of NPR eventually apologized for his own "Fatal Attraction" comments last month). I've heard, but have not been able to confirm, that the apology came only after McCain made an issue of the comments.

It's just ever so slightly problematic that a US Congressman is insulting a US Senator on the basis of her gender and for stepping outside of prescribed female roles. Because if "Fatal Attraction" was about anything, it was about women's roles, as Echidne laid out brilliantly in this post, written in response to Rudin's use of the analogy:

There are at least two ways of interpreting Rudin's message here. The kinder one (yes, this is the kinder one) is that Hillary Clinton can't be stopped by anything less than being killed by Michelle Obama, that she is an almost unkillable monster.

The less kind interpretation has to do with what that particular movie was all about. It was a parable about bad women: working women, uppity, independent, demanding; and about good women: mothers who stay at home and support their husbands through thin and thick. It was a movie about the loathing, fear and hatred of women who don't follow the "good woman" code of behavior, and what happens to those women at the end.

It could always be the case that Rudin is unaware of that interpretation. And pigs also fly almost every day.
Anne Archer woulda quit, Hillary! What's wrong with you?

[Hillary Sexism Watch: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty, Twenty-One, Twenty-Two, Twenty-Three, Twenty-Four, Twenty-Five, Twenty-Six, Twenty-Seven, Twenty-Eight, Twenty-Nine, Thirty, Thirty-One, Thirty-Two, Thirty-Three, Thirty-Four, Thirty-Five, Thirty-Six, Thirty-Seven, Thirty-Eight, Thirty-Nine, Forty, Forty-One, Forty-Two, Forty-Three, Forty-Four, Forty-Five, Forty-Six, Forty-Seven, Forty-Eight, Forty-Nine, Fifty, Fifty-One, Fifty-Two, Fifty-Three, Fifty-Four, Fifty-Five, Fifty-Six, Fifty-Seven, Fifty-Eight, Fifty-Nine, Sixty, Sixty-One, Sixty-Two, Sixty-Three, Sixty-Four, Sixty-Five, Sixty-Six, Sixty-Seven, Sixty-Eight, Sixty-Nine, Seventy, Seventy-One, Seventy-Two, Seventy-Three, Seventy-Four, Seventy-Five, Seventy-Six, Seventy-Seven, Seventy-Eight, Seventy-Nine, Eighty, Eighty-One, Eighty-Two, Eighty-Three, Eighty-Four, Eighty-Five, Eighty Six, Eighty-Seven, Eighty-Eight, Eighty-Nine.]


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