Tempest in a Lipstick Tube.
I'm usually among the first to jump all over people who criticize women based on their gender or their motherhood. (In the past few weeks, I've slammed the critics who've nastily labeled Sarah Palin a "bad mom" for having the nerve to run for public office when she has a baby at home and a pregnant teenaged daughter, even though her husband is caring for the kids.)
However, when faux claims of sexism are leveled against someone, they sap the power from the rock solid, legitimate claims of sexism (a la the Palin attacks). And that's not good for anybody.
You've, no doubt, heard that the John McCain/Sarah Palin campaign is calling Barack Obama a sexist for using the well-worn phrase "lipstick on a pig" in reference to the attempt by the GOP ticket to market itself as an agent of change, despite its allegiance to the bulk of the current administration's policies.
However, this past May in Denver, McCain himself invoked the "lipstick on a pig" phrase -- well before Palin likened hockey moms to pit bulls wearing lipstick -- in reference to Hillary Clinton's health care plan.
I wouldn't call McCain a sexist for using that phrase (he was, after all, criticizing Clinton's plan as an attempt to dress up an old, rejected proposal and call it new), nor would I call Obama a sexist for using the same phrase in the same way. Can't we just stick to the real issues and ignore the attempts to divert our focus onto abject silliness?
(By the way, the phrase in question is also the title of a book by a former Bush administration Pentagon spokeswoman. Is that GOP pol a self-hating feminist for using the phrase? I think not.)
Decide for yourself by looking at the Slate video with both men.