Saturday, January 12, 2008

Does Chris Matthews have a problem with women?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

That's the question currently being posed by Media Matters, and it would seem to be an easy question to answer. Matthews has a history of treating women like objects to be simultaneously feared and desired, a tension he resolves, if not consciously, by lusting after them and/or demonizing them. It all depends on who the woman is. When the woman in question is strong and powerful, a woman who is not on her knees, that is, a woman who is a threat to his fragile manhood -- a woman like, say, Hillary Clinton -- Matthews demonizes her, calling her names and otherwise using his prominent public platform (MSNBC be shamed!) to attack her femininity/womanhood and/or to hold her femininity/womanhood against her, in so doing playing on misogynistic stereotypes of femininity and womanhood, for such is his debased understanding of femininity and womanhood.

Thus he calls Clinton a devil and a witch, an unappealing modern woman, the leader of the sisterhood, a castrator of men. Real men, you see -- and Matthews wants so badly to be a "real" man -- do not support Clinton and presumably prefer their women on their hands and knees, cooking, cleaning, and no doubt fulfilling Matthews's profoundly dysfunctional fantasies. Certainly they object to a woman actually making something of herself, worst of all running for president. It doesn't take much to imagine what Matthews would say in response to a Clinton victory in November. And I suspect his penis would explode.

For more on Matthews, make sure to read the Media Matters piece linked above. It includes contact information for MSNBC -- send them your objections.

And see also my post on Matthews the Sexist Jerk from last September.

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  • If the Media Matters article doesn't convince, doing a search for Chris Matthews on the excellent blog feministing will provide plenty of Matthews' sexism samples.

    And don't forget to voice your opinion to MSNBC! Contact info is provided in the Media Matters article.

    While Matthews' sexism seems to extend to all women, I have been deeply troubled by the rampant sexism in the 2008 election "news" coverage. While I am not a Sen. Clinton supporter, I do insist that she be judged on the issues and not on her sex appeal , femininity, her wardrobe , her laugh , her cleavage , more about clothing , her weight , and I'm not sure what this even is!

    And I also like to refer to her by her proper name (I have always wondered why she has never seemed to be referred to as "Sen. Clinton" always "Hillary"-is that another coping mechanism for those uneasy with powerful women?)

    In any event, it is clear to me that Chris Matthews is not the only one with "woman issues".

    By Blogger lindabeth, at 2:55 PM  

  • Great comments, LB.

    I certainly agree that the problem of sexism and misogyny in the media extends well beyond Matthews. Consider, for example, media reaction to Hillary Clinton's display of emotion in New Hampshire. It was, for the most part, critical and condescending. And it's a no-win situation for her. She's either a bitch (too cold) or an emotional wreck (too hot). And yet I think the media's appalling coverage of that incident ended up boosting her support. Many people, including New Hampshire voters, found the coverage appalling. I have renewed sympathy for her, and I must say I was rooting for her to win in New Hampshire (though I'm generally not a supporter of her presidential bid). On this, I agree with you. Judge her on the merits, not on the media's awful portrayal of her.

    And I certainly recommend checking out the great blog Feministing for more.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 5:51 PM  

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