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The Sexist, Double-Standard Treatment of Callista Gingrich


I don’t know Callista Gingrich, I’ve never met her, but it seems that the media is very eager to impress upon people like me the idea that she’s a self-centered, diva-nag. An odd thing to do, considering it’s her husband, and not her, running for president. Callista Gingrich doesn’t seem interested in crafting policy; there doesn’t seem to be threat of her using a First Lady title to administrate by-by proxy as other first ladies are wont to do, which would propel her into the ring of political gladiators.

The media has gone all 50s patriarchy on its summation of Callista Gingrich, casting her as the spoiled third wife who probably pressured her husband to have an open credit line at Tiffany’s, to go on a Mediterranean cruise, a woman who refuses early starts because she has to get her hair did; and while I’ve been a critic of Gingrich when due, this seems exaggerated, sexist, and spiteful.

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Gingrich was asked a question by a reporter a couple of weeks ago about his credit line at Tiffany’s. “How does this look to the working families …” the question began. While neither I nor anyone of my acquaintance can afford such at Tiffany’s, I fail to see how it’s his fault that he can. A better question: “how does it reflect on American society that we resent people for achieving the American dream?”

This from a media that had little to nothing to say over Michelle Obama’s multi-thousand dollar dress she wore to meet British royalty (and was out-dressed by the new Duchess of Cambridge whose demure choice of wardrobe cost only a couple hundred dollars by comparison), her $1,000 totebag, or the $540 dollar sneakers Mrs. Obama wore to a food bank. Where was the media asking the First Lady how those being served at the food bank felt upon seeing the First Lady in a pair of tennis shoes that cost a month’s (month’s-plus in some areas) rent?

I don’t begrudge Michelle Obama for her ability to afford any of these things, but I do condemn the media’s hysterical double-standard against conservative women on this issue.

As far as Gingrich’s cruise, no, not the best time to take a vacation, but I hardly credit the media — who hung Christie for being out of town during a blizzard but said little when the President was playing football in Brazil during the first air assault on Libya, or how he threw back pints in Ireland while 21 tornados ravaged Missouri, Alabama, and Oklahoma in a single day (where was the reporter to ask the President how his tossing back a pint would appear to suffering tornado victims?) — to be objective arbitrators of when it is and is not time for a break. Besides, we’re not even in the full swing of the presidential election yet, so if you’re going to take a vacation, might as well do it before you can really be crucified for it. It’s better than role-playing overseas while your constituents struggle to piece their lives back together.

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I’m trying to understand two things:

– The reason behind the media’s insistence at amplifying these cosmetic themes so that they drown out the campaign’s messaging on policy, you know, things Americans actually care about.

– How it’s acceptable in 2011 to use sexist stereotypes against a woman simply because her husband’s politics are opposite yours.

These are the tactics to which we’ve sunk? It sounds more regressive than progressive.


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