Ok, this PISSES ME OFF.
The two candidates for US Senate in
New York are women. During their debate on Wednesday night, both were asked if
they’d read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ Kirstin Gillibrand graduated magna cum
laude from Dartmouth, speaks Mandarin Chinese, and is an attorney who clerked for
the Second US Court of Appeals. She heads the Women’s Leadership Forum for the
DNC and served as special counsel for the Secretary of HUD during the Clinton administration.
In 2006, she beat a 4-term Republican incumbent to represent her district in
the US House of Representatives, and was reelected in 2008. When Hillary
Clinton was appointed Secretary of State, Gillibrand was appointed to fill her
US Senate seat, and won the 2010 special election to keep it. She was the first
member of Congress to publish her official schedule, earmark requests, and
personal financial statement. In 2008, she became the sixth woman to have a
child while serving in Congress, and worked up until the day of her delivery.
Wendy Long has never served in public office, so there’s
less information available about her. But she studied at Dartmouth,
Northwestern, and Harvard. She’s also an attorney who worked for two Senators
and for two courts, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, and
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
So why ask these two candidates, these particular two, if
they’ve read this book? I’ll tell you what I think the answer is. Because we as
a society are still unable to de-sexualize women long enough to take them
seriously as professionals. Because we are both titillated by reminding women
of this, and ashamed of ourselves for feeling that way. We want them to say yes
so we can think of them as dirty, and we want them to say no so we can think of
them as ‘good’. We are collectively caught up in a cultural ‘madonna/whore’
fantasy that leaves us with a political process that’s about as mature as an
episode of Beavis and Butthead.
I dearly hope some renegade debate moderator in the next
week asks two male candidates somewhere if they read Penthouse, and brings this
shit up when people freak out.