Sexist piglets

And the woman who called them out.

Published October 24, 2005 11:27PM (EDT)

Broadsheet this week hearts Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman for articulating in her column what I've been struggling with for several weeks now, as I've read and talked endlessly about the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

"I'm having trouble finding any good news in the trashing of Harriet Miers," Goodman wrote on Friday, pointing out that Miers' treatment has so far demonstrated that "we have moved on to ... a postfeminist world in which we can now mercilessly tear down a woman without fear of being labeled a sexist piglet."

Goodman asserted that while she's "not a big fan of Miers," she has noticed and bristled at the trashing of Miers by the left and the right, including the takedowns of her Talbot's-heavy wardrobe, her (single) marital status and her workaholism.

"If sisterhood is powerful, what do you call this?" asked Goodman. "Impotence?"

Goodman wrote that she's not urging women to stand behind Miers just because she's a woman, but that "it is possible to walk and chew gum at the same time, to see sexism even in the criticism of an opponent, to rue the double standard even when it is applied to someone you don't stand with." It's absurd, Goodman wrote, "to think we've moved into a gender-blind era without ever getting rid of the blinders. It's self-deceptive to think we're in a postfeminist world when we never tried a feminist world."


By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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