Dispatch #77 July 26th 2020
Day 1354 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 1282 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings
Despite the mainstream media’s characterization of her speech as being about decency and norms of behavior, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s fierce and furious statement on the House floor on July 23rd in response to Ted Yoho verbally assaulting her was actually about how men’s practice of accosting and assaulting women with violent and degrading language is accepted as the norm in the patriarchal power structure.
Although the media focused on “fucking bitch,” Yoho’s first attack was telling AOC, with his finger in her face, that she was “disgusting, crazy, out of your mind, and dangerous” for talking about how poverty can drive crime. Degrading and dehumanizing language designed to humiliate AOC and shut her up. Apparently frustrated that his initial attack didn’t deter AOC, a short time later Yoho hurled “fucking bitch” at her.
AOC notes all women routinely experience such abuse. Men know they can direct violent, degrading and dehumanizing language toward women with impunity as the male power structure is maintained by policing and punishing women who do not follow the rules of the patriarchy. AOC’s out-rage is transcendent and exhilarating! https://youtu.be/Q3Xjv03Qrtc
In her July 25th Guardian column titled “AOC represents the future of America: women who refuse to be silenced”, Arwa Mahdawi reports that initially AOC planned to move on:
You get used to dehumanizing behaviour when you’re a woman, you get desensitized to it. You don’t report abuse or harassment because nobody is going to take you seriously. You ignore the guy shouting obscenities at you on the street because you’re afraid for your personal safety. You ignore sexist comments from a colleague because you’re worried about your professional security. This is one of the most insidious things about patriarchy – it takes the fight out of you. You let things go.
But, after Yoho’s non-apology, Ocasio-Cortez decided not to let this go. As she explained in her speech, she’s encountered language like Yoho’s a million times before. “[T]his is not new, and that is the problem. This issue is not about one incident. It is cultural. It is a culture … accepting of violence and violent language against women, and an entire structure of power that supports that.”
That structure of power, it’s important to note, encompasses race and gender. The only thing that irritates men like Yoho more than an outspoken woman is an outspoken woman who also has the temerity not to be white…..Ocasio-Cortez represents the future of America: women who refuse to be silenced, refuse to “know their place”, and refuse to apologize for their passion. www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/25/aoc-speech-represents-future-america-women?
In her July 24th article in New York Magazine titled “The Poison of Male Incivility — When a woman dares respond to it, she’s seen as “disruptive,” Rebecca Traister calls out the media’s coverage for (1) trivializing AOC’s speech as part of her ‘young WOC cheekiness’ disrupting the House, and (2) failing to communicate the normative truth of her speech.
What is also true and unsaid here is the way in which degradation and dismissal of women — as disgusting, as crazy, but also as Jayapal’s examples remind us, as infantile, incompetent, irrational, and stupid — has been key to the building and maintenance of disproportionately male power in American political, economic, social, and sexual life. And that’s before we get to the ways in which the ubiquity of dehumanizing and aggressive language toward women can have very real violent implications, as the recent murder of Judge Esther Salas’s son by anti-feminist Roy Den Hollander, and so much contemporary mass violence, shows all too often.
Meanwhile patriarchal power abuse remains so expected as to not be notable as a violation of norms or civility, as disruptive or chaotic. Instead, it simply coexists with the authority, the command, the humanity of white men — it’s just part of what their power looks like. www.thecut.com/2020/07/aoc-speech-ted-yoho-new-york-times.html
To reprise Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “[T]his is not new, and that is the problem. This issue is not about one incident. It is cultural. It is a culture … accepting of violence and violent language against women, and an entire structure of power that supports that.”
Let’s imagine if the coverage of the 2016 Presidential election had called out the campaign to degrade and dehumanize Hillary Clinton — overlooking the white man’s egregious transgressions while reporting/recording ‘lock her up, lock her up’ and ‘crooked Hillary’ and considering whether Hillary should be blamed for Bill’s transgressions. At the Republican Convention buttons featured this slogan: “KFC Hillary Special: Two fat thighs, two small breasts, one left wing.”
Let’s just imagine if Bernie Sanders had been as gracious and collegial with Hillary Clinton in 2016 as he has been with Joe Biden in 2020. Nah, the patriarchy would not allow a woman as President and so a majority of white women voted for the proudly misogynist-rapist-white-supremacist-thug. (BTW, experience shows that oppression works most efficiently when people police and punish themselves.)
Attached to this dispatch is MS Magazine review of The Hunting of Hillary: The Forty-Year Campaign to Destroy Hillary Clinton by Michael D’Antonio (Thomas Dunne Books 2020). D’Antonio argues that, because Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 left the Republican Party lacking strong policies or candidates, Republicans took aim at the president’s wife. Lawmakers, lobbyists and media personalities, funded by a handful of billionaires, built a cottage industry on “Hillary Hate” over four decades — launching media platforms, publishing houses and political careers by way of sexist smear campaigns. D’Antonio asserts that Trump’s “election didn’t mark the start of something new, but rather the logical conclusion of something much bigger.”
Patriarchy cannot abide uppity women.
Misogyny is the enforcement weapon of Patriarchy.
Silence about the systemic violence of Misogyny is complicity.