Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bill Maher proves himself sexist

Bill Maher claimed he wasn’t sexist after his “New Rules” segment on breast feeding caught the attention of feminist bloggers, but last Friday he proved himself wrong. Though I don’t agree with absolutely everything he says I usually like Bill Maher and love his show, but after watching his comments Friday about Ellen DeGeneres’ dog adoption drama, I was irate. In drawing out the excess of media attention on her on-air breakdown, Maher says, “At this moment when half of America is saying to itself, ‘can we really have a woman president? Maybe they’re too emotional.’ I don’t think this is helping. … If I was a woman, straight or gay, I would be embarrassed right now.”

Hmm. Isn’t taking one woman’s behavior and applying it to all women not only spreading a stereotype, but the definition of sexism? Isn’t saying that Ellen’s behavior isn’t helping spreading sexist thought? It infuriates me that Ellen is being called weak and “too emotional” for crying on-air when women have been socialized to express emotion, and that women are criticized essentially for playing the role society gave us.

Most importantly, how does Ellen’s breakdown have anything to do with Hillary running for president??? Making that connection is entirely sexist. Yes, Hillary is a woman running for president, but why can’t we see her as a person running for president? Why must her every move be tied to her gender? I really hope one day women running for president, or applying for jobs won’t have to worry about looking too feminine, or having the stereotypical “weaknesses” of their gender count against them.

Here’s the Bill Maher clip. The Ellen discussion starts at 1:00: http://youtube.com/watch?v=MQ1tMMAg7TA