So every time I see the kind of cruelty that is leveled against women for the arch-crime of existing, it always catches me flat-footed. I always approach things with a mindset of “naw, people can’t be THAT bad”. I am almost always wrong.
Case in point – watch this video:
Now, if you didn’t make it all the way through the video in one go, I don’t blame you. It took me 4 or 5 bites to actually force that turd down my throat. For those of you who couldn’t watch, I will briefly summarize. On a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC – roughly the equivalent of NPR but less… well, less NPR) program called Power and Politics, Evan Solomon hosts a debate between John Bennett of the Sierra Club and Kathryn Marshall of Ethical Oil. The debate is over the pipeline from this morning’s story.
Ms. Marshall has clearly been instructed to make the following points:
- The Sierra Club accepts foreign donations
- Foreign interests should not be involved in a Canadian regulatory decision
- Ethical Oil is supported by grassroots donations
- The pipeline creates Canadian jobs and is important to economic growth
- Opponents of the pipeline want to oppose any development projects
That’s it. We know that’s it, because for nearly 11 minutes Ms. Marshall staunchly refuses to contribute anything besides these five talking points to the conversation. Even when the moderator asks her directly about the contradictions in her argument (foreign oil companies are allowed to be part of the consultation process, Ethical Oil may receive funding from nationally-owned oil companies), she doesn’t even do a good job of deflecting – she just mindlessly repeats the talking points and laughs unconvincingly.
Kathryn Marshall is absolutely terrible at her job. I didn’t think that John Bennett did a particularly good job either, but then again he’s not a professional PR hack – he’s an administrator. Ms. Marshall has one specific responsibility, which was to relate her company’s position to the public. She made a hash of it, and came across as uninformed and disingenuine. In addition, the position that she is attempting to defend is morally repugnant.
Kathryn Marshall does not deserve to be sexually degraded because she is bad at her job. I am too squeamish to quote all of the comments, but let’s just say that all of the high points were hit: the word “cunt” appears several times, as do many implications (and outright assertions) that she was given that position in exchange for sexual favours, some of which (favours) seem rather humiliating. One person seems to think that his desire to “pound that poontang” was worth sharing with the rest of the world.
Kathryn Marshall is shit at her job. She does not deserve that kind of disgusting invective leveled at her simply because she’s young, female, and pretty (although I’m sure she’d receive similar treatment if she were only conventionally attractive, and would receive a different type of abuse if she was unattractive).
Now maybe it is because I am a feminist, maybe it is because I think of fellow FTBorg like Ophelia and Stephanie as friends, or maybe it’s because I kind of think Ms. Marshall looks like one of my friends form high school. Whatever the reason, I posted this comment:
The level of sexism in some of these comments is unbelievable. Ms. Marshall is a VERY poor spokesperson/spin doctor for her organization. She’s got a bad argument and presents it very ineffectively. That is NOT AT ALL justification for this kind of vile name-calling. I’m shocked and dismayed that anyone would look at a paid corporate spokesperson and then attack her based on her sex. There are legitimate reasons to object to her performance – being female is NOT one of them.
It did not escape me, incidentally, that some comments had been removed. Considering the stuff that was left up, I can only speculate as to how absolutely revolting the removed content must have been.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t this:
It’s like spotting Bigfoot riding a unicorn. It’s the fictional “you make a good point – I should check my sexism” that I often deride as fantasy, particularly with hardcore misogyny on the internet. And it happened like… RIGHT AWAY!
Anyway, single bright point aside (sort of, he still doesn’t back down from the idea that she may have received her position based on sexual performance), this whole thing was an eye-opening exercise for me. They all are. Even when I know they’re coming, they always catch me off guard.
Men don’t call me things. It’s times like this that I thank my lucky stars for that.
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