Hands Off Hillary

Obama staffer caught groping Hillary image

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Hands Off Hillary

Sometimes a joke is not a joke

-Mary Dixie Carter

By now, you’ve probably seen the photos of Obama’s 27-year-old speechwriter, Jon Favreau, circulating on the Web. Standing next to a life-size cutout of Hillary Clinton, Favreau is copping a feel, while his friend (on the other side of the Clinton image) tips a bottle of beer to her lips. Funny, or not funny?

As women, we don’t want to be labeled angry feminists who can’t take a joke. So many of us, myself included, do our best to give others the benefit of the doubt, even when a joke is offensive.

But, if someone with a high-profile job, like Favreau, appeared in a photograph mocking African-Americans or Jews or Muslims, few people would think it was funny, and those who did would know enough to keep quiet. In truth, Favreau never would have made the equivalent joke about Blacks or Jews.

Sexism and racism are very different. Racism often has to do with fear of “the other,” whatever is foreign to us. Rarely does sexism have to do with fear of “the other.” And because women are so very familiar, men and women often don’t feel the need to monitor themselves so carefully or examine their attitudes with sensitivity. Jon Favreau probably believes that he has great respect for women. For a man who considers himself liberal and enlightened, it’s alright to mock women because he doesn’t mean it. There’s nothing malicious or substantive behind the joke. He is just being silly.

The Clinton camp didn’t help matters with its light-hearted, witty response. “Senator Clinton is pleased to learn of Jon’s obvious interest in the State Department, and is currently reviewing his application,” said Clinton advisor Philippe Reines.

Hillary Clinton sometimes comes across as lacking a sense of humor. So I completely understand why she went along with this “harmless” joke. But the fact is Clinton is a role model for many women, young and old. She owes it to them to draw a hard line in the sand and speak out on their behalf when someone – even a future colleague – crosses it.

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0 thoughts on “Hands Off Hillary

  1. april says:

    Why would someone supposedly as smart as this guy not realize the inevitable distribution of this??

  2. CaliGal says:

    Not THAT smart, I guess! Love the “Obama Staff” t-shirt on his buddy!

  3. air_in says:

    plz why do we feel like we have to be so up tight about stuff like this, it’s not like he would really grab a woman like that. get over it

  4. laurachicago says:

    we need to stop being so frivolous. this is just sillyness, not berating women. if it was a cutout of a black person let’s not assume racism. USA has serious things to worry about. use energy wisely.

  5. Liz says:

    This picture is meaningless! if that were women grabbing at Obama’s crotch it wouldnt be sexist would it? It’s JUST a joke. You’re kidding yourself if you think smart adults cant have a since of humor

  6. pitchinwoo says:

    Well as we’re not seeing a rampant amount of sexual assault of men by women, yeah, I wouldn’t say it’s the same thing. I have a great sense of humor, I laughed really hard at your spelling of “since.”

  7. Person says:

    She has a valid opinion and should not be told to just “get over” whatever she feels is wrong.Why don’t you take a second to think about her argument before writing her off?No,we will not get over it.

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