Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Femonomics reads the internet: surprise Senate candidate, wedding weight loss, gay blood ban, and hotness discrimination

So, someone unexpected won the South Carolina Democratic Senate primary, and now everyone is upset, because he probably doesn't have a good shot at beating his Republican opponent and doesn't seem very qualified to be a Senator.  Nonetheless, I'm not so on board with the media and political powers that be running around and calling him mentally impaired just because he's not camera-ready.  Instead of taking credit for their major screw up and apparent unfamiliarity with polling and electoral management, the Democratic Party is calling for this man to step down and casting aspersions about his mental fitness.  He won fair and square and their guy didn't.  So why don't they start pulling him aside for media coaching and setting up a real campaign machine?  And why doesn't the media stop their embarrassing attack on him, and start asking the Democratic Party why they had no idea this fellow had a good chance of winning?  I don't whether to call the media's treatment of this man ableist, or racist, or just plain anti-humanist, but it's making me a little sick.  I'm with this Gawker commenter:
This guy, whether willingly or not, has exposed the pathetic joke that our electoral process is. Maybe he is a soft spoken guy, maybe he is shy, maybe he was not expecting to win and get all this media coverage, maybe he is some average guy that cannot get a job and said, "[F***] it, I'll give this a try," or maybe he does have some problem. I do not know. But the interesting thing in all this, is how the media has been asking him crap questions like:

-Do you have any money?
-Do you do things the way we expect you to, in order to win?
-Do you think you will win?
-Do you have a website with red, white, and blue colors for us to stare at?
-Are you cuckoo? Please answer simply and in 5 seconds because America cannot understand. Also, we will be right back after a word from our sponsors.

And not a single question like:

-What are the issues you hope to take on while in the Senate?
-What is it about those issues that motivated you to run?

The way I see it, you ask stupid questions, you'll get stupid answers.

Amanda Hess writes about why wedding weight-loss challenges aren't about health on The Sexist.  She suggests other "health" related wedding challenges such as, "People Magazine’s Bride-to-Be Cholesterol Reduction Challenge: “I’ll get married in a blanket before I get married with a high density lipoprotein level 50 mg/dL!’ says the 5′ bride.”" It's hilarious, and important.  Go read it.  Also read this piece about Jillian Michaels' (of the Biggest Loser) new show, which essentially consists of her humiliating fat people and giving amateur mental health diagnoses.  This show is part of the broader Reality TV genre that predicated on the idea that people who are overweight do not deserve dignity, respect, or love.  Listen to Kai, a contestant on the Biggest Loser, describe her experience on the show:
You get poked and prodded by complete strangers and nobody will tell you a single thing about what’s going on. And that point was where I really believe that the dehumanization process started, where they start teaching you that because you are overweight you are sub-human and you just start to believe it. Through the whole process, they just keep telling you, over and over, how lucky you are to be there. You’re being yelled at by people [whose] job is basically to keep the ‘fat people’ in line and you start to believe it.
s.e. smith writes compellingly about the reasons for reversing the ban on gay blood:
The ban is not a deferral period, as is the case for most things that exclude people from donation. It is a lifetime ban. If you are a man who  has had sex with a man since 1977, you are not allowed to donate blood in the United States. Period. End of discussion.
Meanwhile, if you are a heterosexual man who has had sex with a woman whom you know to be HIV positive, there’s a year waiting period on blood donation.
Let me reiterate this: The FDA has determined that a year waiting period to eliminate any possible concerns is enough if you have been exposed to a known risk factor for HIV infection and you are heterosexual. Meanwhile, if you are a gay or bisexual man, you are banned from donation for life unless you haven’t had sex with a man since 1977. Regardless of risk factors. Only had one monogamous partner since 1977, and you’ve both been tested? Banned. Only had protected sex since 1977? Banned. Get regular HIV tests that are always negative, and been tested since the last possible window period? Banned.
I'm sure you've heard this story about the banker who was fired for being "too hot" and is now suing Citibank.  And, if that's the case, then you've probably also heard that despite her claims to look the way she does genetically, and consider it a burden, she has breast implants.  Whatever, I don't care about how hot she is or that she has breast implants.  As Susan Antilla points out (in a piece that is kinda slut-shame-y):
Women sue Wall Street all the time only to elicit yawns from the media. The Lorenzana complaint, though, after languishing in the bowels of a New York courthouse for six months, got legs -- and breasts and buttocks -- only after the Voice published those pictures.
If you read the full (salacious) Village Voice article, it turns out this was a pretty basic case of sexual harassment, that the media turned on to because of the hottie angle, which Lorenzana and her lawyer are apparently happy to peddle.  But before she was told she had to cover up her hotness, Lorenzana's appearance and wardrobe were otherwise nitpicked, she was subjected to excessive commentary about her looks, she was asked to hook in clients with said looks, and said clients were then taken away from her and given to male bankers.  Sexual harassment is a very real threat to women's workplace equality, and continues unchecked in many workplace environments.  Claiming this woman was "too hot" to work at Citibank, instead of too female, makes a joke out of a widespread problem.

1 comment:

  1. The Lorenzana thing bothers me too. It's so hard to find clothes that are professional, and fit well enough not to just be dumpy, but that aren't revealing. There's a delicate line between looking nice and looking like you're trying to be hot. And I suspect that the closer you are to the line the better, because actually men prefer to work with women who are attractive, just not with women who they suspect have gotten ahead _because_ they're attractive.

    Correction: probably everybody prefers to work with people who are close to the line.


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