It's hard for a good liberal like me to applaud Meghan McCain. After all, her father wanted to perpetrate perhaps the biggest catastrophe that could ever have happened to this country by putting the idiotic Sarah Palin one heartbeat (or moose shot) away from having her finger on the button that could bring about the apocalypse that Christofascist zombies like her so dearly want. But it wasn't McCain the younger that picked Sarah Palin, and I can hardly blame her for not going public and saying "Dad, what the fuck are you thinking?" And while I cringe every time she tries to paint her dad's party as a young, hip, happenin' bunch, there's one area where she has been applauseworthy, and that is in her attitude towards those whose only focus is her (and other women's) weight.
Apparently there was some fracas this week in which she put a photo of herself in somewhat revealing jammies up on Twitter. Like most women of some size (and Meghan McCain is only a size 10, for God's sake), Meghan McCain has a rather impressive Rack of Doom
. Apparently, among some quarters, most likely the kind of sexually-repressed quarters that represent the part of the political spectrum to which her father belongs, having breasts, and not wearing a tent to cover them, makes you a slut -- at the same time as these very same quarters are no doubt alone in the bathroom with a copy of Juggs
and a jar of vaseline. So McCain did some kind of Twitterish fightback, and now she has a blog entry about our society's attitude about women and weight
at The Daily Beast that no matter how foul and despicable her father is, is worthy of applause from our corner of the blogosphere:
Here’s what I want to know: What is it going to take and how many women have to die from eating disorders until things like this Jessica Simpson cartoon and doctored Ralph Lauren ads end?
This is something obviously very close to my heart because I have been mocked for my weight as well. And I always hit back. My most infamous moment was telling Laura Ingraham to “kiss my fat ass” on The View a few months ago. But here is the reality—as my public profile has grown and people recognize me more and more, an unsettling anxiety has set in, something that has come as a surprise to me. Every time I am on television, give a talk, or have a picture taken, inevitably the weight comments follow. It’s a new part of my life and by far the most consistent. I have started speaking at colleges and was recently asked why the media is so obsessed with my weight. I didn’t have an answer but I did say that I could probably cure cancer and solve all the Republican Party’s problems, and people would still make fat jokes. I am strong and stay strong because I have to be. But I have seen too many of my friends suffer from eating disorders and have seen firsthand how it can quite literally ruin a young woman’s life.
My weight is the great constant in my life, no matter where I am or what I am doing it is an issue that comes up. People approach me in public sometimes to talk about their own body-image issues and commiserate about the cruel treatment I receive. Whether or not the media wants to face this, I believe some women are less likely to speak out publicly about their political beliefs because they see the way I am talked about. Why would any woman want to speak out on television when the inevitable result will be a merciless critique of her physical appearance? God forbid she is larger than a size 4 or under 5 foot 10, because then the way she feels politically is irrelevant. I worry about the long-term damage this kind of weight obsession is doing. We are grooming a generation of women who are less likely to speak out about their beliefs because of the assault that comes on their physical appearance as a result.
Of course she then goes on to equate the treatment of Hillary Clinton, a woman in her 60's who has been subject to relentless hag/crone jokes since 1993 with the Rich-Lowry-sparkly treatment given to Sarah Palin, but McCain IS a young Republican after all, so you can't have everything.
But the fact that Meghan McCain has to be the poster child for young Republicanism (an oxymoron if I ever wrote one) doesn't obscure her larger point about how our society treats women who have curves instead of looking like 12-year-old boys.
I remember the kind of crap I used to read in newsgroups back in 1997-1998 when the movie Titanic
had captured the public consciousness. It usually ran something along the lines of "Kate is fat and Leo is gay." I would note the interesting juxtaposition of these two concepts side-by-side. And I would remember the brilliant Bob Goldthwait bit about gay-bashing:
...and then I would try to remember something from my Formal Logic class in college, and came up with the conviction that anyone who wrote any variation of "Kate is fat and Leo is gay" must think that a woman should be built like a skinny 23-year-old boy. And following that with "...and Leo is gay", given that Leonardo DiCaprio at that time WAS a skinny 23-year-old boy, well, you do the math.
And so it goes today. Any male (and it's usually males) who makes jokes about Jessica Simpson's weight, or Kelly Clarkson's weight, or for that matter, Meghan McCain's weight, is telling us far more about himself than he does about the woman about whom he's "joking."
Labels: closet cases, weight