Here’s how Republicans were fighting for women during the California Republican Party convention on Saturday:
That’s a button that, according to San Francisco Chronicle writer Carla Marinucci, was “popular” at the California Republican Party convention this weekend.
It should be noted that, shortly after Marinucci first reported on the buttons, she followed up with a Tweet indicating that the buttons were removed from the convention.
A friend of mine questioned why this button created such an uproar. “Why is calling a woman fat and small-chested problematic?” He also added something along the lines of, “I wouldn’t be offended if you said I had a small penis. So why should it be different for women?”
Seriously, my jaw dropped. I had to go pick it off the floor of sexism. Then I had to run it under hot water to get all the misogyny off. Then I wanted to scream and pull my hair out. I was at a loss for words — how does one not understand why this button is cruel and unfunny?
So I tried to articulate why this button is not funny. Or at least a few of the reasons. Here is what I came up with:
When black people call white people “crackers,” white people tend to laugh. When white people call black people “niggers,” black people tend to not laugh.
There’s a fundamental difference in the power structures and privilege and history and pressures on each of those groups that — in general — makes the former palatable to white people and the other reprehensible to black people.
As a white person, I can find the former palatable because I have never experienced “cracker” used to intimidate, dehumanize, oppress, or enslave me. Whereas the latter has been used for centuries in the intimidation, dehumanization, oppression, and enslavement of black people. Which is why the latter is not humorous.
As a man, I could care less if you joke about the size of my penis. Joke all you want. (Though, honestly, some men really do struggle with body images, too. So it isn’t funny to some people and is a real struggle for some. And really — can we just stop with making fun of each other’s bodies already? I feel like we should have outgrown that after preschool.)
But joking about women being fat or having small breasts is in an entirely different category.
Joking about women being fat or having small breasts is not funny because those raise very serious, heartbreaking issues.
Women starve themselves to fit a certain body image. They starve themselves. They make themselves throw up. They distend their stomachs because of jokes like this. They cut their bodies with razors because of jokes like this.
They modify their bodies to fit men’s — our — cultural fantasies.
They have killed themselves because of jokes like these.
That’s why it’s not funny.