Here at Historiann.com we’re so pleased and surprised that anyone other than whiny brilliant, insightful academics reads us that we’re happy to post this rant straight outta Manhattan from Miranda, a twentysomething new MBA who knows a thing or two about having to go along to get along in a male dominated workplace. The Apostle Miranda writes:
Warning: rant ahead.
I’m too late to this topic to post my thoughts on Historiann.com, but felt compelled to email you to let you know that I’m totally, 100% enraged that Jon Favreau has not been fired. The sense of entitlement that underlies this sort of crap is so pervasive and it kills me that people don’t see it. I see this sort of stuff (not this exact stuff w/ cardboard cut outs, but the sexualized frat house antics) all the time and it just sucks. It sucks to be a woman in that situation, where your options seem limited to: saying something about how offensive the behavior is, risking that you’ll be isolated professionally because you “aren’t a team player” or “can’t take a joke” OR you can try to make a joke to neutralize the behavior (which is what I think HRC was trying to do w/ her thing about “reviewing his application”). I’ve tried both and they both suck, but in different ways. Every workshop/dinner/lunch/mentoring session I’ve gone to about being a woman in business recommends the second option, but I often find that I have a hard time thinking of a clever retort in the moment because I’m so enraged by the behavior and, as a result, unable to think of something appropriate.
The other issue is the total lack of professionalism this shows. The Obama transition team rules clearly state that they’ll be going through your Facebook page to find anything embarrassing. So, he was on notice, which indicates that he allowed this to be posted despite the fact he knew that it could become public (or at least that his boss might see it)–totally, 100% unprofessional. (There’s also something about thinking you can get away w/ having something like this on your facebook page and thinking that it’s OK that strikes me as another sign of entitled behavior, but I haven’t fully unpacked that yet.) Ed. note: I think commenter ej made this point on the previous post here–but there’s surely more to say on this topic.
I’m really, really shocked (and saddened) that more liberal male bloggers have not picked up at this story. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Obama fires him. I think it would be a good lesson for guy like this to learn that sometimes there are consequences to this sort of crap. But I’m certainly not holding my breath.
No, please don’t hold your breath, Miranda! We need people like you. I appreciate your perspective as someone who works in an environment that sounds a lot like that of a political campaign, and as someone close to Favreau’s age. If it’s consoling at all, please remember that lesser men with much greater offenses have been appointed to the Supreme Court. (I’m not sure why that should be consoling, now that I think of it…) Here at Historiann.com, we’re no longer shocked at all to see what many so-called liberals and progressives really think women are for: public boob grabs. That’ll keep us in our place!
The events of this year have shown me that feminism is simply not a progressive or liberal value, unless it’s useful in scoring a point against the political opposition or a foreign enemy. (Remember in 2001 the Bush administration’s argument that “we need to go to war against the Taliban because of burkhas?” Good times, good times.) 2008 has clarified a few things for me: I’ll probably save thousands of dollars in 2010 and 2012 because I won’t be donating them to male political candidates, only to women candidates. Yes, I know it’s essentialist, but quite frankly, it’s essential that we get more women of any party elected so that we can expand the nation’s understanding of women in politics.
Readers: your thoughts? Should Miranda and I give up all hope? (And, by the way, if you write in the comments that we have to keep supporting Democrats regardless because of abortion rights, that’s more than a bit of a cliche now. In fact, on feminist blogs, I now delcare that anyone who says “But but but teh Roe!” proves Godwin’s Law.)
Here endeth the Epistle.
UPDATE, 3:30 P.M. MST: Apparently, Dee Dee Myers and Miranda have a mind-meld thing going on. (H/t to Herb the Verb at Corrente for posting on Myers’ comments at Vanity Fair today.) Some flava for you:
I can’t stop thinking about this picture, and I confess I find it really upsetting. And, no, it’s not because I don’t have a sense of humor. I like to think I have a well-earned reputation for often irreverent, sometimes ill-advised humor. But I’m not laughing now.
. . . . . .
What’s bugging me is his intention. He isn’t putting his hand on her “chest,” as most of the articles and conversations about the picture have euphemistically referred to it. Rather, his hand—cupped just so—is clearly intended to signal that he’s groping her breast. And why? Surely, not to signal he finds her attractive. Au contraire. It’s an act of deliberate humiliation. Of disempowerment. Of denigration.
. . . . . .
[T]here is a larger issue at stake. At what point does sexist behavior get taken seriously? At what point do people get punished in ways that suggest this kind of behavior, this kind of thinking, is unacceptable? At what point do we insist there will be consequences?
Thank you, Dee Dee. Don’t worry about staying off the phone because you’re waiting for invitations to appear on cable TV shows to talk about this–it won’t ring.