And not to put too fine a point on it, but “racist” is the only word that makes white people as crazy as “nigger” makes Black people. It makes them crazier. White people don’t want to hear you talk about ANY white person being racist.
I don’t think the word “sexist” makes liberal guys quite as crazy as the word “racist” makes white people. But sometimes it comes close. Case in point: Some readers (mostly female, mostly feminist, I assume) objected to a sexist ad on the Kos sidebar, and Kos reacted with an over-the-top, condescending attack on the critics. He could have responded respectfully, in a way that didn’t alienate and insult a lot of his readers – but instead, he heard the word “sexist” and went a little crazy.
Kos, and the Kos community, is significant because it’s a window into how many of the most committed Democratic activists think – it’s the biggest, and most important, of the Democratic-party-pushing blogs. It’s instructive to read the comments on Kos’ post. There are many liberal Democrat “allies” eager to put feminists in their place, of course; but also a lot of good feminist comments. Kos reader Shadowthief got to the heart of the issue:
However, there is a larger issue involved here, far more than some silly advert that will be forgotten in about as much time as it takes to watch it–and that is the issue of how women’s issues are treated here on DKos.
Abortion rights, for example…dismissed by Kos as a “special interest” that is not a “core value” of the Democratic Party. I say, if you don’t have control over your own body, you don’t have any human rights, period–and if that’s not a core value of the Democratic Party, then why would any progressive-minded person in his or her right mind want to support it?
There is a consistent pattern on DailyKos of misogyny–yes, you read right–and I have found it on other “liberal” websites which (surprise) were founded and are operated by men.
[I’m trying] to think of other situations where a group that generally falls under the progressive umbrella would be told to basically “fuck off.” And to have their concerns cast aside as not important. It’s not really up to men to decide what is or should be important to women.
And if there are still any idiots who think the objections to this ad have anything to do with sex, I suggest you go back to the original diary and read it more carefully.
The thing we have learned here tonight is the fact that women not only will not be supported, but will also be mocked and otherwise abused when they dare to raise issues important to them.
And this excellent comment from Scribe:
I am an older woman, I love this site and spend much time here. Till now, I’ve been able to ignore most of the posts that were blatantly sexist and disrespectful to women, having long ago learned to pick my battles, and not to sweat the small stuff too much.
I am so sad to read Kos’s response to the objections from some community members members to this ad, and mostly, I see, to his posts that so disrespectfully dismissed their concerns. And also sad to see so many of the guys supporting his stance so strongly.
I am not leaving over this, but I also certainly don’t feel as welcome here as I did at first, or as valued. This was not your intent, I know, Kos, (and supporters of his stance,) but that is the outcome for many of us. I hope that matters to you: it’s hard to think it does, given the tone of your posts, which was generally, “So leave, you don’t like what I think: your opinion doesn’t matter.”
Shakespeare’s Sister has the definitive ass-kicking of Kos’ post.
But she’s not the only one doing first-rate commentary: I’ve really enjoyed the posts on this subject at I Blame the Patriarchy, Echidne, Majikthise, Lauren at Feministe, Shades of Grey, Lawyers Guns and Money, and Pandagon (twice), among others. Also check out Women Kossacks, a blog started by some women in the Kos community.