4.15.2011

I hate sexism and I love Jon Stewart

One of my colleagues sent this video yesterday, and I'm just now getting around to watching it. As I watched, I was reminded of how much I hate sooooo much of mainstream media. This is why I'm a recluse who never, ever, ever watches the news. If I watch any tv at all, it's the very bad (and yet so delicious) Castle.

Have a look.  The media outrage over nail polish mirrors outrage my students share almost every semester in the Intro to Women's and Gender Studies class.  We have a conversation about the social construction of masculinity, and about the ways in which our conceptions and expectations of masculinity are as toxic as our conceptions of femininity.  The nail polish story comes up unprompted:  "I was babysitting my cousin, who's five, and he wanted me to put some of my nail polish on him.  When his dad came home, he was so mad!  It really freaked me out!"

You know what this is about, folks?  In part, homophobia.  "OMG, my son might be gay!"  Yep, your son might be gay.  It has nothing to do with nail polish, but your son might be gay.  And hurray for that!  Would you please make an effort to step outside your narrow-minded ignorance and hatefulness to love your son no matter who his sexual partners might be in the future?  It's also about fear of transgendered folks, although I bet most dads of the cousin in my students' stories aren't familiar with that term.  They just think their son might not be right.  Stewart's response to this in the media is pretty appropriate.

Okay, so watch Jon Stewart, who is much funnier in his outrage than I am.

13 comments:

Danielle said...

I love Jon Stewart, always have, and this.is.the.best.clip.ever!

Raisel said...

The whole idea that someone can be "made gay" ... ridiculous. And by a bottle of nail polish?? That's a powerful little bottle of chemicals.

krlr said...

Jon Stewart is a beacon of light & sanity in a dark world. And, even yesser, those weekends can be sooo long. You want to use 10 lbs of flour to pretend it's winter again? Great idea! You want to use mommy's nail polish to paint mommy's priceless tchoke? Which color would you like? The toes? Ha!

erniebufflo said...

Had to share this link with you: http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/gh8hy/at_least_one_of_these_girls_will_grow_up_to_be/

While on the one hand, I absolutely love that little girl rocking the Batsuit at the Princess Party, on the other hand, can you imagine a little boy dressed as a princess at a Superhero Party? I can't help but think that it's tied to the demonization of the socialized-feminine in our society. A little girl wearing/doing something "masculine" is seen as trading up, but a little boy wearing/doing something "feminine" is trading down in terms of power.

krlr said...

By the way, Jon as 'beacon of light & sanity' isn't my line. Heard it a thousand times but don't know if it's actually urban dictionary/ general reference/ obvious truth enough to say without citing Unknown Author. Being in academia, thought the distinction might matter to you.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy has always preferred clear fingernail polish.

I do love Jon Stewart's rational rejoinders to irrationality. (My favorite is the face painting sequence.) Thanks for sharing this -- apparently I completely missed the controversy.
-Deandra

Taylor said...

And because Colbert also hates sexism....http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/379605/march-31-2011/difference-makers---roy-den-hollander?xrs=share_copy

Kenneth said...

Boo to Fox News analysts who say, of painting little boys' toenails, to put aside money for psychotherapy later. But I'm a little perturbed by Stewart's comments. This isn't about transgendered children, he says, it's about keeping children entertained over the weekend. But can't it also be about trans people? Is there something wrong with trans people? Of course not, but even Jon Stewart backs away from the topic. Transphobia is everywhere.

Alison said...

Kenneth, you're right--Stewart backs away. He does so in a way that points out the stupidity of transphobia, but he doesn't take it on directly.

Kenneth said...

We've come a long, long (long!) way on bigotry against gays and lesbians, but that isn't true of bigotry against transgendered people. It is pervasive, insidious.

Alison said...

Yes, you're absolutely right. I have fourteen things to say, but for now I'll say:

I had a lengthy conversation the other day with a community member who's trans, who shared what it was like in the 1950s and '60s recognizing a lived trans experience without having ANY cultural support. I suspect I'll have more to say about this.

Aaron said...

Do you really think that Stewart was purposefully not mentioning transgender?

When I saw the segment (the day before it appeared on the blog) I was trying to figure out how I would have responded... There are so many different ways to respond (e.g., who cares if the kid is gay, polish doesn't make you gay, why can't hetero men wear polish). He ended up hitting more points than I thought he would have. So, maybe it's just ignorance/an oversight?

On an unrelated, yet contextually interesting, note concerning my statistics class tonight. While reviewing procedures for performing regression analyses, my instructor told us that it isn't correct to use gender as a dichotomous variable (i.e., male or female). I've heard this from psychology/ WGS people, but it was nice hearing this from a statistician.

Kenneth said...

Stewart does mention transgender, and then he says that's not what this is about.