by Chris Bodenner
A reader writes:
The examples you cite bear no relationship the issue that John Amato raises. When Joe Biden’s hair plugs are used to dismiss his policies and John Boehner’s orange tan becomes the key talking point in response to his latest political maneuvers, you’ll have equivalency. Amato is noting the very well established tendency to mock some incidental about a powerful woman her looks, clothing, voice to cut her down to size. So Barbara Walters’ lisp is endlessly reduced to baba wawa jokes, but even Barney Frank’s haters don’t go there with his. I don’t know that I would call this “misogyny” so much as unreflective sexism, the kind of thing one has to work at catching himself doing.
But he did call it misogyny - the hatred of women. And not just in regards to the disgustingly sexist comment by Limbaugh, but the "corporate elites who run network news" as well. So, in the same way that Amato said pundits were diminishing Pelosi with sexist remarks, Amato was trying to diminish the substantive charges against Pelosi on torture by crying sexism. Pelosi's tough enough not to need that sort of help. She wouldn't be Speaker otherwise.
Amato is noble to highlight individual acts of sexism. But saying they represent the prevailing media culture is counterproductive I think. (Also: check out every SNL sketch ever made on Barney Frank, or David Paterson; petty ridicule comes with the office, male or female.)