Worst Enemy

Blue Gal sent me the link to this post by PunditMom about a reporter referring to the plethora of women-centered forums at the Democratic Convention as an "estrogen-fest." PunditMom rightly notes how unfair and demeaning that is:
An estrogen-fest.

Is that supposed to make us think about hundreds of hormonal women creating a ruckus like a bunch of sorority girls? Because I hardly think it's the right turn of a phrase to describe gatherings with the likes of Senator Hillary Clinton, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the scores of other high-profile Democratic women, especially when one Clinton almost became the party's presidential nominee.

…The fact that the media, women members included, continue to write about gatherings presented and attended by women -- especially political women -- in derogatory and dismissive terms like this one never ceases to amaze me.
All spot-on.

But then she notes that the term was used by a female reporter, and asks: "[I]f we can't even get other women to stop describing serious women and serious events with a vocabulary that can only diminish and mock us, how will we ever get the likes of Chris Matthews, Tucker Carlson, or the whole team at Fox News to stop referring to us as 'bitchy' and 'castrating'?"

That's such a common complaint among women—so I wanted to take a moment to make a couple of quick points.

1. Men not being sexist shouldn't be contingent upon women not being misogynist. They should stop being misogynist just because it's the right thing to do.

2. Men and women are misogynist for different reasons: men to marginalize women, and women to ingratiate themselves with the men trying to marginalize them. Neither one is justifiable, but one is oppressive and the other is a (bad) strategy to deal with that oppression.

3. One thus sees that if the men who are misogynists weren't, the women who are misogynists wouldn't have any reason to be. Ergo, exhorting women to stop being misogynists so that men will stop gets it precisely backwards.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't encourage women not to be self-loathing misogynists. It only means that we probably shouldn't treat them as somehow more responsible for sexism than sexist men. They really and truly aren't our worst enemy—if our worst enemy disappeared tomorrow, we'd never have a problem with sexist women again.

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