19 June 2008

Susan Faludi Says Presidential Race Between Two Dudes is About "Gender Roles" For Some Crazy Reason

Susan Faludi is a prominent Harvard-edumucated feminist that frequently comments on gender roles and their consequences in American society. Unless you want to jump on the third-party bus with me (no, it's not short), the general election has boiled down to Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain...both dudes. Perhaps it's the male in me that never got in touch with a feminine side, or maybe it was just that I was bit hungover and disheveled when I read this Op-Ed during breakfast, but I am completely baffled when she proclaims in a NY Times Op-Ed that "In choosing between Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain in the general election, Americans will pass a referendum on 200 years of bedrock gender mythology." Uh...what?

Despite the fact that John McCain rarely talks about his time as a POW, she likens the McCain camp to exploiting his military service to be fashioned as the heroic protector of America replete with cowboy hat and spurred boots. Faludi explains:

Senator McCain may fit the model better than anyone. After all, he actually starred in a real-life captivity narrative, having withstood five and a half years of imprisonment by non-white tormentors, declining special treatment and coming home a hero. “I have seen men’s hopes tested in hard and cruel ways that few will ever experience,” he declared from the hustings. A 12-minute video on his Web site dwells on how his faith in the “fathers” and his will “to fight to survive” got the young Navy pilot through Vietcong bayonetings, bone smashings and bondage. The story’s appeal is evident in the flood of news media adulation. The worshipful tone of the last Newsweek cover article on Mr. McCain is typical.

While Huckabee's comments about McCain being the football captain who might ask him to prom were weird, I can assure from personal experience that most Navy officers don't really conform to the macho male stereotype and her understanding of military culture is incredibly poor.

After establishing McCain as "the guy", she then proceeds to attribute feminine characteristics to Obama:

In the campaign ahead, expect a fierce Republican effort to reinstate the nation’s guardian myth — by demonstrating how the other party’s candidate fails to fit the formula. Had Mrs. Clinton been the candidate, she would no doubt have faced more attacks for being too mannishly abrasive or, conversely, too emotional to play the manly role. But Mr. Obama should expect similar damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t gender assaults. He will be cast either as the epicene metrosexual who can’t protect the country or else as the modern heathen with a suspicious middle name.

This whole rambling narrative represents an annoying trend by America's eggheaded zeitgeist to distract the great unwashed voting masses with trivial banter that means little to the future of the country. Now that the primaries are over you'd think it'd be time to take democracy seriously (at least from "respected" media outlets like the NY Times), because I'm half-expecting the Where's the Beef lady to be resurrected and continue the total mockery and embarrassment that is American politics.

Think Glen or Glenda when pulling the lever in November