Recognizing roadblocks to progress

August 26, 2012


— So, dear friends, we gather again to celebrate Aug. 26, the anniversary of the passage of women’s suffrage. We honor our foremothers in our special way by handing out the Equal Rites Awards for those who have done the most to slow down progress.

This year, the holiday falls all too appropriately between the end of the Olympics and the beginning of the political conventions. Need we remind you that women have achieved greater success in the sports meritocracy than in the political democracy? Forty years after Title IX, women outnumbered men on the U.S. Olympic team and in the gold medals. Ninety-two years after the 19th Amendment, women occupy only 17 percent of the seats in Congress and have never made it to the White House.

But now for our own gold medals, may we have: The envelopes please!

We begin by awarding the Double Standard Bearer Prize to — ta-da! — Rush Limbaugh. Our lifetime achievement awardee attacked Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke as a “slut” and a “prostitute” because she testified before Congress in favor of having contraception covered by health insurance. For saying that Fluke should repay the taxpayers with personal sex videos, we give Rush a special Groupon to be used at the Testosterone Poison Control Center.

In the same toxic vein, the Male-Practice Award does not go to a doctor this year but to Republican bankroller Foster Friess. This super PAC-man had his own reason to avoid covering birth control: “Back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives; the gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.” We send Friess a case of aspirin, a Hypocritic Oath, and a one-way ticket back to “his days.”

Now for his pal Rick Santorum. Our boy Rick lost the presidential battle but won the Battle of the Sexes Badge for a pink panic attack. At a bowling campaign event in Wisconsin, Rick stopped a boy from picking up a pink ball, saying “You’re not going to use that pink ball. ... Not on camera. ... Friends don’t let friends use pink balls.” In the pink and blue world of boys and grrrls, he is already behind our 8-ball.

Ah yes, but what about virtual games-man-ship? The annual Booby Prize for Online Sports goes to video game coach Aris Bakhtanians, who trash-talked player Miranda Pakozdi in the “Cross Assault” video game tournament, quizzing her on camera about her bra size and telling her to take off her shirt. For video harassment, we promise to crash his private hard drive.

Now on to the Backward Trailblazer Award. We censure the Census Bureau for its retro view of kiddie care. When mom does it, according to the bureau, it’s parenting. When dad does it, it’s child care. For sticking to the old script, we give the number crunchers an apron emblazoned: Dad is not a baby sitter!

Let us swing overseas for our (Half-)Blind Justice Award. It is won this year, as so often before, by Afghanistan. There, the good news is that the government finally pardoned a woman named Gulnaz imprisoned for adultery after being raped. The bad news is that Afghan Justice Minister Habibullah Ghaleb claimed that shelters for victims of domestic violence were encouraging immorality and prostitution. A one-eyed burqa for these boys.

The Dubious Equality Award goes annually to the most unwelcome evidence of a sexual parity. This year it is being delivered to Saudi Arabia. Women in the kingdom still cannot drive, can only run in the Olympics covered from head to toe, BUT ... men like Muree bin Ali bin Issa al-Asiri can be equally executed for witchcraft and adultery! Home again, where the war on women thrives. Here, the Taliban Poster Boy Prize goes to Jay Townsend, a now-former campaign adviser to Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth of New York who suggested on Facebook how to deal with women lawmakers who promoted the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay bill — “Let’s hurl some acid at those female Democratic senators.” He has already received our award for him: a pink slip.

Alas this war also has its intra-gender battalions. The Mommy Wars Re-Ignition Prize goes with regret to Hilary Rosen for the sound bite that came back to bite her. She said mom-of-five Ann Romney “never worked a day in her life.” A hair shirt emblazoned with “Every mom is a working mom” has already been FedExed her way.

As for the Romneys, our gal Ann worked not only as a mom but, we now know, also as an anthropologist studying the life of a remote tribe for her hubby. Employer Mitt gets the Patriarch of the Year Award for whining that he does-so understand women because Ann “reports to me” on what they think. To Mitt, a pill for tone-deafness.

Can we top that? Yesss!! The Media Ms-take Citation goes to Time magazine’s cover photo featuring a 3-year-old boy being breast-fed by his buff mom next to the line: “Are You Mom Enough?” For promoting competitive mom-ery via mammary, we write the editors a prescription to Mom Up.

Just don’t try to fill this Rx in Texas. The Over the Counter Sexism Award for retailing stereotypes goes to the CVS pharmacists in Mesquite, Texas, who illegally refused to sell emergency contraception, aka Plan B, to a man. After all, they hinted to this husband, he might be a rapist. We offer these pharmacists Plan D for discrimination.

From pharmacy to cosmetology, we are pleased to give the Ms-Adventures in Advertising Award to yet another makeup artist. This year, giants Cover Girl and L’Oreal took a photoshop-op to alter the eyelashes of Taylor Swift and the skin of Julia Roberts. For their attempt to sell makeup through self-hate, we send them a pre-made PSA announcement: Even Taylor Swift doesn’t have eyelashes like Taylor Swift.

Let us not forgot the Raging Hormonal Imbalance Prize. This was won, hands down, by Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin. While serving an overdose of tea party politics, he justified his opposition to abortion for rape victims by explaining, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” To offset his Boy-ology 101 lesson, Todd gets a two-week vacation from campaigning in a local rape crisis center.

Finally, we are in debt (literally) to China for the Masters of the Universe Citation. This goes to the Mandarins who are updating the concubine for the modern era. It turns out that the Chinese Masters’ latest perk is a mistress. “Keeping a mistress is just like playing golf,” said one such Master. “Both are expensive hobbies.” As we close this awards season, at least we can get teed off. Our motto for next year: FORE!

— Ellen Goodman is a former columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.


Paul R Getto 5 years, 9 months ago

Good job, Ellen. Your annual summary is always instructive.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

Looks like Mary1971(to whom the post below was initially replying to) has already been disappeared.

It's really odd how responding posts get reattributed when a post is removed.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

"It's all the Republican's fault".

And they'd be well over half right in saying it.

voevoda 5 years, 9 months ago

Well, Gotland, "brown people" and women together make up a majority of the country's voters. In a democracy with fair elections, their chosen candidate wins. Or perhaps you would prefer that "brown people" and women not think for themselves, but just let white men make the "best choices" for them?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

I wonder how many forums this new poster is spamming with this bit of propagandistic drivel.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

Looks like Mary1971(to whom the post above was initially replying to) has already been disappeared.

tomatogrower 5 years, 9 months ago

I'll bet Mary never has been raped. There are still people who will ask you what you were wearing, and were you drunk. I'll bet Mary thinks it's a tragedy that the golf course had to start allowing women. Women should know their place. I'll bet Mary buys all the cosmetic products and gets plastic surgery, because that's woman's lot in life - to look sexy for the men. I'll bet Mary, if she works outside the home, doesn't realize that when she was a baby she couldn't have gotten the job she has, until those evil feminists came along. I'll bet Mary thinks it's ok for women to be stoned for getting herself raped. And a woman who got pregnant when she was raped, wasn't really raped (wink, wink). And I'll bet that she thinks that stay at home moms as rich as the Romney's are, really send their kids off to school, then scrub all the toilets in the house, do their own laundry and run to the store to prepare the evenings dinner. Yes, they probably drove their kids to practices, volunteered at school, etc. and did a good job raising their kids, but someone else cleaned their house, or in many cases, houses. So, don't tell me your rich Republican friends have a clue about what most women have to do to survive.

tomatogrower 5 years, 9 months ago

And, Mary1971, try disputing anything that Ellen has written. Everything she said really did and does happen, so you must agree that all these things done to women are good. Are you Republican or Taliban?

tomatogrower 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't know, bozo. She could be a woman. I once had a woman tell me that a man, who did the same job as us, should be making more, because he had a family to support. I was recently divorced from an abusive husband and supporting my family, but to her that was different. Of course, I was supporting my family before I divorced the jerk. His money was going to drugs and other women. That's why it made it so easy to leave. Some women have drunk the koolaid. Just like the women in the middle east who help stone a woman, because she was raped. I used to think that if we gave all the Afghani women gun training then they could shoot the men who tried to rape them or hit them or tell them what they can or cannot wear, but few of them would actually do it. Some of them probably have stoned other women themselves. I'll bet Mary would be one of those women. A traitor to her gender.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

And what's the first sentence of the linked article, you might ask?

"This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source."

tomatogrower 5 years, 9 months ago

Well, that was weird. Where did the posts go? Looks like a hit and run to me.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm guessing the IP address matched that of a serially disappeared poster.

Mike Ford 5 years, 9 months ago

why are clowns and simpletons tolerated?

begin60 5 years, 8 months ago

Thank you for publishing this, LJWorld. I love Ellen Goodman, and this annual column is a special treat. I sometimes read Boston papers but likely would have missed this one.

1southernjayhawk 5 years, 8 months ago

But the grand prize goes to..................Obama, who has done more than anyone to trash this country and send us a long, long way down the wrong road and sink us into a financial situation that we may never recover from.

tomatogrower 5 years, 8 months ago

Do you suffer from memory loss. This deep recession began in 2008. Well the roots of it began before that. President Obama didn't take office until 2009. Maybe you are just too young to remember.

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