It's wrong to say a woman resembles a man, except when it isn't
Last February 3, a few hours before that thing happened and I had to go to the hospital and all that, I thought the most interesting event of the day was going to be my dressing-down by something called “Media Matters.” It’s a site about the media and how it matters, and some of the people there were simply shocked that I had made a Rachel Maddow joke.
Earlier that day, I had mocked Keith Olbermann for implying that the women of Fox News are a bunch of dumb bimbos. I thought that was funny, considering he shares a network with the likes of Contessa Brewer. I put up a few pics and videos of various MSNBC newsgals for illustrative purposes. And I added this little, um, cherry on top:
This was in reference to the Daily Caller’s inaugural “Ask Matt Labash” column, which included the following:
For those unfamiliar with me from my day job at The Weekly Standard, I’ll give you a capsule bio by way of introduction: I have the gift of wisdom. Does that sound arrogant? I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention. I didn’t choose wisdom. It chose me. If I had my druthers, I’d have chosen another gift, perhaps the untold riches of Lil’ Wayne, whose teeth are made of actual diamonds, or to be the sexiest man alive, like Rachel Maddow.
Lil’ Wayne didn’t seem to mind this impudent wisecrack, but boy*, were the Maddow fans mad! This unprecedented outrage earned Tucker Carlson a spot on Mr. Olbermann’s Worst Person in the World segment, merely for allowing such a thing to be said at the Daily Caller.
Which is odd for two reasons:
1) Isn’t Sexiest Man Alive kinda… good? If it had been “Stankiest Man Alive” or “Sexiest Corpse That Doesn’t Have a Vagina” or something like that, well, that would be indefensible. But just look at some of the Sexiest Men Alive throughout the years: Johnny Depp. Brad Pitt. Matt Damon. Jude Law. Tom Cruise. Nick Nolte… Okay, forget that last one. But the rest, they’re a bunch of pretty, pretty men. Put ’em in lipstick and a skirt and now we’re talkin’! (Oh, don’t act like you’ve never pictured it.) Therefore: Calling Rachel Maddow the Sexiest Man Alive is arguably one of the greatest compliments she’s ever received, at least outside the realm of intramural sports.
2) Maddow has said the same thing about herself. As pointed out in the follow-up AML column:
Still, who do I think I am, implying that Rachel Maddow has a somewhat mannish appearance? What kind of frat-boy mouth-breather would say that in public? Where would I get such an idea? I honestly don’t know. I can’t imagine anybody else saying such a thing. Wait a second. Actually, I can:
“I am what I am, I look like a dude.” – Rachel Maddow, as quoted by The New Yorker, October 17, 2009
“I’m a big lesbian who looks like a man. I am not, like, Anchor Babe, and I’m never gonna be.” – Rachel Maddow as quoted in GQ magazine, November 2008
Please go easy on her, Media Matters. I’ve watched her show. She’s a good person. I don’t think she meant anything by it.
So anyway, “Media Matters” then scolded me for making a similar joke, even after it was pointed out to them that it’s her joke.
Why bring this up now? Well, because it slipped my mind the last few weeks, for some odd reason. But also because since then, I’ve noticed a few other people making similar wisecracks about prominent women supposedly resembling men. And yet the fine folks at “Media Matters” seem to have missed them! I know those guys are faithful DC Trawler readers, so I’m happy to help them expose this travesty.
Here’s the first instance, courtesy of Max “Son of Sid” Blumenthal:
Now, again, the woman in question is being described as attractive, so I’m inclined to give young Max a break. But if “Media Matters” and Olbermann and all these others are so concerned about Maddow being called the Sexiest Man Alive, apparently it doesn’t matter how attractive the man in question is. You’re simply not supposed to say a woman looks like a man. (Even if she has said it about herself, which to my knowledge Coulter has never done.) I eagerly await the righteous indignation over this egregious insult to women everywhere.
The other example involves my friend Amy Alkon, advice columnist and author of the book I See Rude People. Recently she ran afoul of a site called the Unfortunate Ones or something like that, and in retaliation, they decided to leave phony book reviews on Amazon.com to affect her sales. It’s not enough that they don’t like her; they’re trying to go after her livelihood. Amy has more details about it here, and the indefatigable Patterico explains how you can help her out here.
But the applicable part of the story here is that these Unfortunate Ones keep referring to Amy as “Arnold Alkon.” Arnold is usually a man’s name. Wait, what? Here are a few snapshots of Amy:
You say “Arnold,” I say “Jessica Rabbit.” But then, if your idea of excitement is taking money out of someone’s pocket by lying about her book online, you’re probably not going to be the most observant sort of fellow. Have these witless slugs ever been in the same room as a naked woman in their lives? Sadly, no.
And there you have it: Saying that a woman looks like a man is bad. Unless you don’t like her for some reason. In which case, anything goes.
Hope that helps!
*Sorry, girls. I mean broads. Cupcakes?