Chelsea Handler’s comedic personality isn’t always easy to love; like Schumer’s and Sarah Silverman’s, it’s aggressive, raunchy, and thrives on shock value. Ultimately, though, these are all personas meant to undermine the cultural expectations we place on women’s speech. In this particular comedic performance, no one is proverbially safe and there’s little room for niceness.
Bill O’Reilly’s segment from last Wednesday — the one in which he asks Kirsten Powers and Kate Obenshain to expound on some mysterious quality that makes women somehow less qualified than men to be president — has to be the most awkward moment of television.
I sympathize with the urge to respond to the clip with mockery. But sometimes a glimmer of truth can be found even in the tawdriest of settings — and it’s Powers who deserves credit for uttering it here. Wracking her brain for something to say in response to O’Reilly’s flippantly sexist provocation, Powers volunteers that a female president might be more easily goaded than a male president into military muscle-flexing as a way of demonstrating her toughness.
I like this comment not only because it undercuts O’Reilly’s smarmy insinuation that a woman would be too weak to stand toe-t-toe with macho tough guys like Vladimir Putin. I also like it because it may well be true.
Just flip through the opening pages of everyone’s favorite work of secular prophesy — Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America — and you’ll find a provocative alternative interpretation of Christianity’s role in the creation of the revolutionary ideal of human equality. The stunningly rapid rise of support for gay marriage over the past two decades is just the latest in a very long line of victories for that consummately Christian ideal — and it’s unlikely to be the last.
Feminists who oppose name-change — and not all do — tend to assume that name-changers know, deep down, that they’re doing something terrible
We get bogged down in ‘choice feminism’ discussions — can a woman ever choose the option that’s consistent with what’s expected of her? The same comes up regarding use of makeup. Given the pressure on women to wear the stuff, can a woman ever choose to do so? The ‘choice feminism’ conversation makes sense regarding substantive life decisions, but is far weaker regarding symbolic ones.
In 2006, there were 120 males to 100 females…In the 19th century, when males outnumbered females 129 to 100 in the country’s northern region, “roving young men organized themselves into bandit gangs, built forts, and came to rule an area of some six million people.”