Sexism: (noun) discrimination, chauvinism, gender prejudice, gender bias. (i.e. "Your hiring practices have generated numerous complaints about sexism.")
The Republican party handed out buttons at their convention that said "Hottest Governor from the Coolest State." On almost every TV courtroom drama ever made there's a moment when a lawyer utters the phrase, "The witness opened the door, Your Honor."
I wrote something that a few people call offensive in a post of mine today. Granted, it's pretty offensive. But if you think I'm going to apologize for it, you're out of your mind. In case you missed it, the offending line is, "I want to have sex with her [Palin] on my Barack Obama sheets while my wife reads aloud from the Constitution." In my business there's an old expression, "Never cut funny." And, excuse me, but that one's kinda funny. The debate over whether I'm sexist is somewhat more serious.
"Sexism" is discrimination or unfairly diminishing someone based on gender. I haven't discriminated against Sarah Palin based on her gender and I haven't diminished her based on it. She's diminished based on her intellect and experience and hubris and because they're using her gender in such a crass and cynical manner. I'm discriminating against her based on that fact and that she has as much business on the national political stage as Alice from the Brady Bunch.
I don't give a damn whether Palin has a penis or a vagina. When I wrote about Hillary Clinton during the primary I didn't comment on her gender. I don't care about her gender. Let me point out that I wrote an entire movie about sexual harassment (North Country -- click on the link over there on the right side of your screen). Don't you get it? I'm not insulting Sarah Palin, SHE IS INSULTING ME.
In the first part of her debut interview, she has let us in to a very small, ignorant and reckless mind. If she is going to tell me that the reason she's qualified to follow up on her threats of war with Russia and its thousands of nuclear warheads (that's n-u-c-l-e-a-r, by the way), is because on a clear day she can actually see Russia from her igloo window, then we have every right to take her on in both a serious manner and in the form of boundless ridicule. And, yes, even commenting on her appearance. Frankly, it's all she offers.
Imagine for a moment that McCain had picked the latest winner of The Bachelor as his running mate. Would we be sexist if we commented on her looks? Of course not. Sorry if you don't like it, but in my mind, there's not much that separates Sarah Palin from the attractive yet vapid winner of a reality show. As far as I'm concerned, she IS the attractive yet vapid winner of a reality show.
I'm not required to take her seriously simply because she's a woman and I might offend some people by tearing her down with irony and satire. I'm not required to take her seriously simply because this crotchety old man has insulted all of us, women and men, by smugly assuring us that he is the arbiter of experience and readiness. I'm not required to take her seriously when she actually was chosen, not because of her experience, but because of her appearance.
This is a woman chosen because of her attractiveness, both physically and ideologically, to a particular type of person. That person is not looking for depth. Not remotely. That person is looking for things that are just plain wrong. Not different, wrong. And one of those things is a padlock on your uterus. Now let's talk about sexism.