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Women, Politics and Bias

October 19, 2010

During the 1970s when I was teaching full time I sensed that some of the most vociferous male advocates of women’s rights actually didn’t like women. Now I know there are misogynists who boldly exhibit bias toward women, but that old sense that something just isn’t right in the attitudes of men who identify with feminists has come back.

I have an eclectic habit of starting my day with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” During the day I leave MSNBC blaring on a nearby television, and then during the evening News hour I’ll watch Wolf Blitzer at CNN, and occasionally catch the very funny ending of Fox News. At 7 pm Eastern, I’ll watch Larry Kudlow. I love Larry Kudlow and am constantly amazed by his energy, quick mind, and advocacy of pro-growth policies.

What I hear and see over at MSNBC and CNN, however, I don’t hear at Fox News or Larry Kudlow and that is hostility to the many women candidates running for office. Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell, and the former wrestling exec running for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut are continually demeaned, as if they are just not as good as their male opponents.

It’s not what is said, but how, that brings back that sense I had years ago that these commentators, who would never say a contrary word about feminism, actually loathe women.

I’m reminded of a professor at Notre Dame serving on a review committee with responsibility for nominating candidates for Rhodes Scholarships. Student after student was asked what do you want to do in life, and student after student responded, “I want to help people.” After a full day hearing this litany, a tired and hungry History professor, heard one of the last students to be interviewed say, “I want to help people.” Whereupon the professor slammed his fist down on the table and said, “Damn it kid, leave people alone.”

I’m afraid I’m at that point.

If I hear another MSNBC, CNN or network news reader make another snide remark about Sarah Palin or any of these other women who had the nerve and courage to push their way through the political glass ceiling to gain nomination to high office, I’m going to throw a brick at that TV.

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