Ranting is Best Served Caffeinated.
Oh hey folks! So that debate, huh? Are we still talking about it? We are? Good. As you know, there was a lot - A LOT - going on during that debate, from nervous water sipping, weird fidgeting, Office-like Halpert 4th wall-breaks, and a slow descent into madness.
So instead, let's talk gender. If you don’t feel like thinking about how existing gender perceptions and biases haunt this election and shaped that debate, take a deep breath, suppress your “actuallys,” and follow along for a bit.
Because while I was doing everything in my feeble power to avoid actually watching the debate, I watched as my feed lit up with tweets of recognition from women in my timeline - I was going to collect them but then I realized that The Mary Sue did a great job and you should go read their round up instead (amplification, what!) In the words of WaPo’s most excellent and wonderful Alexandra Petri in her must-read translation of the debate itself, it was indeed "the mansplaining Olympics.”
What are some of the common observations in the Clinton v. Trump match up?
Immense preparation v. well, not so much
Deliberate speech v. constant interruptions
Steady stoicism v. agitated outbursts
Which brings me to Susan Dominus’s excellent The Reverse-Gaslighting of Donald Trump. Because this is the world we’re living in. His flat-out denial “wrong!” of statements he’d MADE ON TWITTER, his bafflingly patronizing dismissals of fact, his post-debate attacks on former Miss Universe Alicia Machado - oppo that Clinton lobbed up and waited for him to be all over - his obsession with Rosie O’Donnell, all of it, makes me feel like I am taking crazy pills.
After the debate, Trump barely made it off stage before he started crowing about his restraint in not mentioning Bill’s affairs, as if that was him handicapping his own performance. And that his microphone was broken, because if Trump lost to Clinton, to a woman, well then OF COURSE the mic is to blame. After all, there MUST be outside factors preventing him from beating her in a brutal public format she’s spent much of her career attempting to master.
Many of my (granted liberal) friends have asked “how on earth could anyone vote for this man?” And yet, the polls...
I bet you think I have a neat bow for this Missive. HA. Joke's on you, I'd rather leave you with an uncomfortable hot take to read with your coffee. Yesterday, dear friend of the missive Aaron L. sent me Fact-Checking Is Largely Irrelevant Because Deceit Is Not What’s Causing Moral Outrage, Clinton’s Gender Is.
In it, author Soraya Chemaly says
But, a woman president presents very private complications to many people’s sense of self. Her candidacy is not only a challenge to Trump’s, but to deeply held beliefs about men’s and women’s roles and relative status. Regardless of what people think, their implicit biases have sexist outcomes and one of them is that we are being forced to take Trump seriously as a presidential contender.
And on it goes…