It isn't that women aren't represented on these shows, it's that only a certain TYPE of woman is welcome. That woman is soft-spoken, tends to listen attentively and nod her head at what the menfolk are saying, and rarely has a contradictory opinion. She is well-coiffed, often with the Sally Quinn Pageboy Hairdo. She is Doris Kearns Goodwin and Peggy Noonan's Heart Will Go On For Ronald Reagan In Perpetuity. They are giddy fangirl Margaret Carlson and the plasticine face of what used to be Katty Kay. She is Donna Brazile only because with Donna you get a twofer token -- a black female who is one micrometer to the left of the semi-loony right that now passes as the center. Perennial girly-girl Arianna Huffington is welcome now that she's become a quasi-conservative again, and while some of these women are livelier than others, no woman is ever allowed on these shows who might tell these people that they are full of shit.
Except on the rare occasions when Rachel Maddow is on Meet the Press.
I deigned to watch the roundtable discussion on David Gregory's excreble weekly exercise in cocktail-weenie hackery yesterday, as I was doing some extremely repetitive work on The Project From Hell, because I wanted to see what Rachel Maddow had to say. And that is when it struck me just how smug and misogynistic the men on these shows are. Most people who read this blog probably either watch The Rachel Maddow Show or at least have a passing familiarity with her. Rachel is passionate without being mean, and she doesnt' just pull stuff out of her ass. But how she got through yesterday's show without going back to the green room and putting her fist through a wall, I have no idea.
If I had been in her shoes, and had this exchange with National Review's Rich Lowry, I would probably be in jail right now for throttling him:
Rich Lowry. Why is this man's opinion even regarded as something people should hear? After all, this is the man who wrote this after the 2008 Vice Presidential debate:
I’m sure I’m not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, “Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America.
I'm sorry, but a man who doesn't know that the person he sees on a TV screen isn't actually sitting behind the glass has no business being taken seriously in punditry.
But this is the typical way that men on these shows have of silencing women (and there really IS only one ) who dare to contradict them. Every time Rachel Maddow is on a show where there is a Republican, she is filibustered by them -- and the male hosts always, always let it happen. It doesn't even matter what the political leaning of the host is, if the host is male, they seem to think silencing a woman by filibustering is perfectly OK. Watch this clip from Real Time With Bill Maher to see what I mean:
Of course Maher, despite the fact that he's largely on our side, is, in fact, a sexist pig. So I guess we should expect this. But if a show is supposed to be about "discussion", it would be nice if they would allow women to actually participate in the discussion instead of sit quietly and look nice and only be allowed to speak when they agree with the Republican men.
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