Fifty Shades of Sexism

I’ve written previously about the negative impact of sexism in politics here and also in the article “Are You Voting for the Hot One, the Bitch, or the Mom? Here’s a recent example of how women also perpetuate this sexism.


During New York Senate debates, moderator Liz Benjamin — a reporter from YNN from NY1 — actually asked female Senate candidates Kirsten Gillibrand and GOP challenger Wendy Long if they’d read Fifty Shades of Grey. WTF kind of question is that? And would a similar question ever have been asked if the candidates were male? “So Senator Bob & challenger Joe, tell me — have you watched any Girls Gone Wild videos lately?” It would be absurd … and just as absurd as asking these women about Fifty Shades of Grey.


By asking female political candidates such an inane question or focusing on their appearance, Research has shown that it damages the credibility of all women who try to run for political office or otherwise hold positions of power:

“[The] unfair treatment of women candidates is extremely detrimental to their campaigns … [You can] identify sexism by using the reversibility test, which states that if terms are being used for women that wouldn’t be used for men, it is sexist. Would this question be asked if it had been a man standing at the podium? Why were these two professional and qualified women asked about a saucy romance novel? Not only did it unfairly trivialize an otherwise well-worded and intellectual match, but asking the candidates about such a sexually explicit novel is essentially asking them about their sexual interests. These comments lead the viewer to see these candidates in an unprofessional, inappropriate, and sexualized light—producing attitudes that gender stereotype and draw attention away from the issues at hand.”


Watch the video here:


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