So I'm working on a mini-project here to track mainstream media and politicians calling Obama a faggot, directly or indirectly. This will become a dominant narrative this fall as McCain is a real manly man and Obama can't bowl over 37. We all know who the GOP and the corporate media are going to back.
I was thinking about this during Pansy-gate, that it doesn't really matter if the word pansy was meant as an anti-gay insult or an anti-weak-and-feminine insult - saying that being a pansy is bad is homophobic. Feminine, prissy, anti-gay, sissy, weak, and non-gender conforming insults all come from the same place: that there's only one way to be masculine and one has to be that type of masculine to properly lead an organization, be competent at his or her job, or be a worthy human being. That concept is inherently sexist and homophobic, no matter whether or not someone uses the word "faggot" itself.
I've just barely started going through Maureen Dowd's columns and Media Matters' backfiles, but what I have is after the jump.
What I'm looking for here are comments in the mainstream media (talk radio doesn't count) that call Obama some form of "faggot." It's a narrative that, even if Obama wins this November, still ensures that conservative politicians have an advantage and that conservative policies have a better chance at being advanced.
Masculinity in the media is defined variously in the media as follows, as I've seen it:
- libertarian on social spending
- "universal," i.e against identity politics, against recognizing that not everyone is a white, straight man and has white, straight, male experiences
- not considering valid criticism
- not explaining oneself or one's actions completely
- wearing a flight-suit
I don't think that masculinity actually means those things, or has to mean those things, but from what I've seen about how the mainstream political punditry defines it, those are the attributes that end up on top. And none of them is particularly desirable, in my opinion.
And, of course, they're used to simultaneously construct Democratic men as faggots and faggots as bad. Personally, I'd love to have a queer in the Oval Office, but this is about deriding the personality of politicians because they don't fit the mold for heterosexual masculinity, which, besides holding back good policy, also helps relegate homosexuality, non-traditional masculinity, gender non-conformity, femininity, fabulousness, and women to second-class status.
So here's my list so far. This needs to be followed and denounced, and an LGBT political blog seems to me to be the perfect place to do it. Let me know what you think!
Maureen Dowd 5.14.2008 New York Times column
Obama is acting the diffident debutante, pretending not to care that he was given a raspberry by a state he will need in the fall.
4.23.2007 New York Times column
As the husband of Michelle, does he know better than to defy the will of a strong woman? Or is he simply scared of Hillary because she's scary?
2.24.2008 New York Times column
And when historians trace how her inevitability dissolved, they will surely note this paradox: The first serious female candidate for president was rejected by voters drawn to the more feminine management style of her male rival.
2.21.2008 New York Times column
Barack Obama has made an entrance in Hollywood unmatched since Scarlett O'Hara swept into the Twelve Oaks barbecue. Instead of the Tarleton twins, the Illinois senator is flirting with the DreamWorks trio
2.14.2007 New York Times column title
Obama, Legally Blonde?
7.12.2007 on MSNBC's Tucker
Well, everybody knows that a book club is no place for a man. So why has Barack Obama suddenly turned into Oprah? Willie Geist rounds up the girls, brings the chardonnay, and heads to the Oprah book club -- or the Obama book club -- when we come back.
7.11.2007 on MSNBC's Tucker
I mean, when he gets up there, he says we're waging a war against cynicism. That is too abstract. It has nothing to do with the concerns of ordinary people, and it is also, frankly, kind of wimpy.
7.2.2008 on MSNBC's Tucker
He seems like kind of a wuss, though.
12.14.2006 on MSNBC's Tucker
What a sensitive little man!
3.31.2008 on MSNBC's Morning Joe
[video clip of Obama bowling]
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, that's so dainty. Ugh.[...]
SCARBOROUGH: A very human side? A prissy side.
3.31.2008 on MSNBC's Hardball
Because it isn't the most macho form there, I must say, but who knows?