Sexist Silliness


I’ve been thinking about different levels of misogyny since seeing some of the reactions to Seth MacFarlane’s performance at the Oscars, and I have to suspect this commenter on a Jezebel article might have it right. Sure, Seth told some jokes of the “Women, am I right?” variety because they were easy and guaranteed a cheap laugh, and I think it shows a certain level of laziness and institutionalized sexism. On the other hand, though, is Seth really a misogynist in the more serious sense? I mean, we’ve recently had some fierce opposition to the Violence Against Women Act, and the last election gave us a lot of rhetoric about how women shouldn’t be using birth control. And what about Mitt Romney actually saying whether women get paid less should be the decision of an individual business? I don’t know MacFarlane’s opinions on these issues, but I do get the impression he’s pretty left-wing, and these anti-female ideas are typically right-wing. Doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but I do think MacFarlane is probably smarter than his jokes. It reminds me of how Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann have been called misogynistic largely because of their mocking of Sarah Palin, as if making fun of a specific woman (and a woman who typically sides with the patriarchy, for that matter) is somehow making fun of all women.

Maybe Maher’s referring to her as a cunt was misguided, as that’s a female-specific insult, while Olbermann’s “idiot” is very much not. Then again, isn’t it rather anti-feminist that “cunt” is considered such a bad word in the first place? What’s so bad about a vagina? Last I checked, it was pretty much the thing straight men most desired. Perhaps it doesn’t help that MacFarlane, Maher, and Olbermann are all straight men who aren’t known to be in committed relationships. My point isn’t that misogynistic jokes are A-okay, but rather that there are different sorts of misogyny, and making a joke about how women can’t let things go is hardly on the same level as thinking women should make less money than men for the same jobs.

This entry was posted in Celebrities, Current Events, Feminism, Humor, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sexist Silliness

  1. marbpl2 says:

    Not everyone who exploits women is right wing you know One can have ‘immaculate’ liberal/progressive political credentials and still treat women lousy on a personal basis.

    • Nathan says:

      Yes, and how someone treats women (or ANYONE, really) on a personal level can be totally different from their feelings on a larger scale. That’s a good point.

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