Monday, June 16, 2008

From The Hair Pulling Files


From the June 16 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

MATTHEWS: Why do you think most women vote Democrat, Heidi? And have for years?

HARRIS: Most women? I don't know. I think women -- sadly, a lot of women are very emotional, and they tend to think with their hearts and not with their minds about some of these issues. They tend to feel more of these kind of things than think it through. I hate to say it, but it's true.

MATTHEWS: You mean it's not hard issues like abortion rights, or Social Security, or minimum wage?

HARRIS: You know --

MATTHEWS: Logical reasons?

HARRIS: You know what it is? I don't think, Chris, that most women under 50 care about abortion rights, and here's why. Because women at that age have -- Roe v. Wade was passed in '73, as you know. So all the women growing up -- my generation, the women 10, 15 years younger than I am, it's always been legal. I don't --


HARRIS: -- think that 30-year-old women have any concept of what it's like not to have that right. So whether you stand left or right on it, it doesn't really matter to most women, 'cause they can't conceive of it. And on the other hand --

MATTHEWS: Well should they have -- well, shouldn't they have a concept of it if the Supreme Court moves further right, and there is no more right to have an abortion?

HARRIS: I don't think it's going to change. I don't think -- no matter who's on the Supreme Court -- it's going to be overturned. And the women who are complaining about it the most are too darn old to get pregnant. So I don't think it's a big issue for young ones.

Ouch. My female heart is bleeding right now. Where did I leave that girl brain, I wonder? Probably in my makeup bag.

Ah! Here it is. Wait while I install it. (Sounds of girly flustering at the task of brain surgery.) Ok.

Note how Harris is creating a false dualism here: Women think with their hearts, and men? What do they think with? Heh.

The false part is the idea that men don't relate to emotional arguments at all, or to arguments which make greed ok or to arguments about kicking the butt of people in other countries. Another false part is to pretend that there is no intellectual reason for women to tend towards the Democratic Party platform. After all, women are, on average, poorer than men, more likely to be the unpaid caretakers whose jobs are made more difficult by the dog-eat-dog Republican view of the world and also more likely to belong to the group for which the Republican ideas of freedom do not apply at all.

But see how sexism can be invited to television, with cucumber sandwiches and tea? See how it's ok to say that women are unable to think about politics, that they are like a giant tribe of lemmings following some sob story in their voting behavior.