Did you know that there MAY BE a problem with sexism in the media? Bernie Sanders has grudgingly allowed that this may be so, in a New York Times interview with Ana Marie Cox:
Do you think it’s fair that Hillary’s hair gets a lot more scrutiny than yours does? Hillary’s hair gets more scrutiny than my hair?
Yeah. Is that what you’re asking?
Yeah. O.K., Ana, I don’t mean to be rude here. I am running for president of the United States on serious issues, O.K.? Do you have serious questions?
I can defend that as a serious question. There is a gendered reason — When the media worries about what Hillary’s hair looks like or what my hair looks like, that’s a real problem. We have millions of people who are struggling to keep their heads above water, who want to know what candidates can do to improve their lives, and the media will very often spend more time worrying about hair than the fact that we’re the only major country on earth that doesn’t guarantee health care to all people.
It’s also true that the media pays more attention to what female candidates look like than it does to what male candidates look like. That may be. That may be, and it’s absolutely wrong.
Whew! Thank goodness Bernie Sanders, after mansplaining a question about sexism in media to a female interviewer, is willing to admit that there may be a problem. And, if there is a problem with the media treating male and female candidates in a disparate manner, then that is absolutely wrong! I guess that gives us all permission to study this important question which of course no one has ever thought about before, ahem.
Here's the thing. Sanders isn't wrong that the media should be focusing on problems other than the physical appearance of candidates. But he's dead wrong if he thinks we can address economic injustice without also addressing the specifically patriarchal barriers to justice faced by women. Having more jobs doesn't help women as much when we also have to jump through extra hurdles that don't apply to our male competitors as much or at all.
Like having a patriarchally-approved appearance. It means something to women and girls when we see that one of the most politically powerful women in our nation's history still gets the same old sexist shit lobbed at her. One doesn't have to like Hillary Clinton or agree with her policies to get frustrated that a woman running for freaking president of the United States is still judged on how she looks.
It also means something when a man running for the highest office in the land will only say this stuff "may be" a problem, after essentially telling the woman asking to STFU and let him define her problems. And this is Bernie Sanders as a candidate, when he's actually trying to get women's votes, presumably. What will he be like as president? We've had enough Mansplainers-in-Chief, Bernie. Thanks, but I'll pass on supporting another one.