Monday, June 15, 2009

Slutty Stewardesses And Nasty Women Justices

The 'slutty stewardess' has to do with David Letterman's Sarah Palin jokes. Yes, I know all this is old stuff and we have moved on to some other interesting sex scandal. Heh heh heh. Nudge, nudge.

If you were lucky enough to avoid learning about all this, you can watch a summary by Olbermann here:

It's annoying that the video contains my major point which is that the 'slutty stewardess' joke wasn't only about Sarah Palin but about stewardesses, and that's what is wrong with the joke. It wasn't funny unless you think that you know what a 'slutty stewardess' looks like, that some stewardesses in fact are slutty, and all that is something we can agree about and laugh at. Nudge, nudge. - Of course some pilots (mostly guys) have a very slutty reputation, too, but we tend not to make jokes about that occupational group. Or many other dominantly male occupational groups with possibly slutty members. Whatever 'slutty' might mean here. I assume it means easily beddable.

Actually, that the video contains my main point isn't annoying, but a Very Good Thing, because it gives me hope that some guys out there in Media Land are learning. And some gals, too, I hope, because we all know what the culture expects us to laugh at. It would be nice for the progressive blogosphere to learn that it's possible to dislike Sarah Palin's policies and to make fun of them without cracking misogynistic jokes. Or denying the fact that Letterman's joke was sexist.

Well, stewardesses are sometimes slutty, I have learned. I have also learned that female justices are unusually nasty, and that applies to Sonya Sotomayor:

Serious props to NPR's Nina Totenberg today. Rather than simply reporting about "concerns over Sonia Sotomayor's temperament" or allegations that she's a "bully," Totenberg actually compared audio clips of questions asked by Sotomayor and those asked by her male colleagues -- or those who would be her colleagues if she is confirmed for the Supreme Court. And -- surprise! -- Sotomayor is no "meaner" than your average justice. She is just femaler.

Yes. We do have different expectations about women and men, and this isn't totally due to some crackpot evolutionary psychology popularizations in the media (though those don't help). We expect women to be Nice (and Invisible in public spaces). We expect Good Women not to be Too Nice (nudge, nudge). And we think that making sexist jokes about women in politics doesn't have anything to do with our own inner misogynists.