What are bitches for? Making men money, of course.


Ah, the polite “we both know who’s going to call who a bitch later” smile

Several feminist bloggers have reported on John McCain being asked by a supporter “How do we beat the bitch?” His response was to laugh, not denounce the question, in fact call the question “excellent,” and then answer it.

More than one such thread has devolved into fight over whether the fact that McCain answered the question is something that he should be held responsible for, since, after all, he was not the one who asked it. My immediate (and continued) answer was “yes.” It seemed to me to be the obvious answer.

But some still wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. And though I certainly enjoy being right, I take little glee in the irrefutably proven wrongness of those who did not immediately want to assume that McCain is a misogynist. Because more misogynists in the world is an all around bad thing.

Here they are, though. McCain has had since Monday to either denounce the remark or issue an apology. On Tuesday, his campaign actually argued that McCain showed respect for Clinton in his answer — and hey, I guess instead of saying “that’s an excellent question,” he could have been more disrespectful by saying “that’s a horrible question — Senator Clinton isn’t a bitch, she’s a stupid whore!” In light of that suggestion, maybe McCain’s response was respectful.

But now it seems that McCain’s campaign has had the gall to send out a fundraising campaign based on the remark, claiming that the big bad old liberal media is attacking him over the remark (the one he has refused to denounce or apologize for), even though it was actually, um, Senator Clinton who was called a bitch.

Excellent job there, McCain. No one could ever accuse you of lacking class.


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31 Responses to What are bitches for? Making men money, of course.

  1. meggygurl says:

    I am clearly never going to support McCain in my life, unless he has a frontal labotomy. The only thing this has done was make someone who is supporting Obama in the primary, WANT Clinton to win. Because I think it’s bull that she gets to the be the soul person getting called degrating words that you have only been able to say on tv for the last what, 7 years? If I can still get in trouble saying it in a high school, the the LEADERS OF OUR COUNTRY should not be using it against each other.

    I hope someone called McCain an ugly bastard that masterbates to much and has hairy palms. :P

    I apologize for the horrible spelling that I am sure occured in this post. I’m not on my normal Mac that spell checks every word I type anywhere.

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  3. D.N. Nation says:

    John McCain isn’t going to win the Republican primary.

    And then that will be that.

  4. Cara says:

    And yet, he’s still going to be in the Senate. So I wouldn’t exactly call that a “win.”

  5. JuniorPartner says:

    Why do you assume that McCain is a misogynist though? I mean “bitch” might not be polite but using it or merely acknowledging the term by answering a question doesn’t necessitate a worldview that women are inferior etc. The definition is “a woman whom one dislikes or considers to be malicious or unpleasant.” Certainly such women exist for most people. I think that assuming he is a misogynist is like assuming a woman is a misandrist because she answer the question “Why is he such a dickhead?” etc. etc.

  6. D.N. Nation says:

    Cara, yes. He’ll be in the Senate. And thus subjugated by President Hillary Clinton.

  7. Cara says:

    JuniorPartner, I’m really not going to explain for the umpteenth time why bitch is a misogynist slur. I’m sure that it has been covered on this blog before, and I linked to two other blog posts that have the same exact discussion.

    I will say that the standard for what makes a woman considered “unpleasant” is VASTLY different from the standard for what makes a man considered “unpleasant.” Here’s the response I gave on the thread on my own blog:

    As for bitch, it has a lot of connotations besides “not nice.” It also heavily implies “uppity” — as in, not only a woman who acts like a shitty person, but also one who doesn’t know her place. Or a woman who is considered to be a shitty person simply because she doesn’t know her place.

    Sen. Clinton is considered to be a bitch not because of her personality, which isn’t exactly magnetic but not worse than most of the other candidates, but because she fails to be demure and quiet. It dates all the way back to when she was first lady for a reason — she had her own mind and wasn’t going to pretend otherwise to make other people comfortable. That was enough to make her a bitch. And even, if we were using “bitchy” to mean “nasty,” I can’t think of anything particularly nasty about her.

    Other than that, if someone else wants to spend their time getting into this with you, they’re more than welcome.

  8. cara db says:

    Seriously, do you think that questioner – and McCain’s “excellent question!” response would have gotten away with it if the question had been, say, “How do we beat the darkie?”

  9. Charlie says:

    There are still people coming onto feminist blogs trying to argue over whether “bitch” is misogynist? Give me a fucking break, people. The answer is obvious on so many levels.
    What I find interesting on this whole thing is that I haven’t really seen too much focus on the other meaning of “beat the bitch.” It sounds like a setup for a reply with some variation on “with a stick.”
    (Granted, I haven’t followed this issue all that deeply, so maybe some people did touch on that and I just missed it.)

  10. Cara says:

    Interesting point, Charlie. Quite honestly, I hadn’t considered it. The same language would be used in the political arena for any candidate: “How do we beat Clinton/Obama/Giuliani,” etc. But you’re right that the words “beat” and “bitch” have a strong and negative history together. Honestly, I’m not convinced that this double meaning would have been a conscious one, but I certainly don’t rule it out as being a subconscious reference to a larger social narrative.

  11. nonskanse says:

    The thing about “bitch” that gets to me is that there’s no equivalent word for men… (bastard is often used as an insult but it’s mostly genderless and then we’d be insulting another whole group of people anyway).

    I think i would have been ok with “how do we beat that asshole Clinton” although I think candidate namecalling is kind of dumb.

  12. Cara says:

    Bastard is an interesting word, nonskanse. It’s easy to make the case that it is also a misogynist word. “Bastard” now seems to be used as a generic insult, but it does of course mean “illegitimate” child. The insult is based on the assumption that there is something wrong with being a child of an unmarried woman and with female sexuality. To me, saying “you’re a bastard” is shorthand for “your mom is a slut (and you should therefore be ashamed).” At least, in the sense that it was originally intended.

    Of course, on the list of misogynist slurs I’d like to eradicate, bastard ends up really far towards the bottom. But I still thought that it was worth pointing out the argument.

  13. Bitter Scribe says:

    What’s interesting is that even if you wanted to come up with a comparable racial/gender/religious slur for any of the leading GOP candidates, you couldn’t. The closest you could come would be “How do we beat the Mormon SOB?”, which isn’t really very close.

    Big tent, my ass.

  14. Hector B. says:

    Similar to the doctrine of adoptive admission in evidence, the silence of the normally quickwitted McCain was tantamount to calling HRC a bitch himself. He should have immediately requested his questioner to be civil when discussing his opponents.

    But I wonder about the woman who asked the question. She certainly did McCain’s campaign no good. She might have been planted by McCain’s opposition to embarrass him.

  15. Cara says:

    But I wonder about the woman who asked the question. She certainly did McCain’s campaign no good. She might have been planted by McCain’s opposition to embarrass him.

    Not so sure about that, Hector. Most Republicans hate Hillary Clinton and don’t see anything wrong with calling her a bitch. Talk radio has an audience for a reason. I would be sad, but not surprised, if enough attention over this would cause his rating to go up.

  16. Cara says:

    –Oh, and I keep getting spam comments at The Curvature from some sight that is supposedly selling “How do we beat the bitch?” merchandise.

  17. Brad Jackson says:

    Cara I gave up on Junior Partner last week… He/She is just a troll, higher quality than most, but a troll none the less. He/She either knows perfectly well why “bitch” is misognyst, or simply doesn’t care.

  18. nonskanse says:

    Cara-
    Like i said, insulting more people. The other whole group was the “fatherless” offspring. I didn’t think as much about the mothers b/c when someone says “your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberry”, they are trying to hurt you, not your parents, by insulting your roots.

    Which is what bastard does.
    In a misogynist way, as you pointed out.

  19. Kristen from MA says:

    The thing about “bitch” that gets to me is that there’s no equivalent word for men…

    Personally, I find ‘prick’ to be the equivalent of ‘bitch.’ But I realize that this is very subjective.

  20. Henry says:

    What’s interesting is that even if you wanted to come up with a comparable racial/gender/religious slur for any of the leading GOP candidates, you couldn’t. The closest you could come would be “How do we beat the Mormon SOB?”, which isn’t really very close.

    Big tent, my ass

    I don’t know about all that. We’ve got a perfectly good wop you can make fun of. For example: “How do we beat the guinea bastard?”

  21. Manju says:

    what do you think of this:
    <a href=”http://michellemalkin.com/2007/10/13/joy-less-behars-health-care-analysis/” rel=”nofollow”>”Because she’s a selfish bitch, probably.”</a>

  22. hyrax says:

    That someone responded something like “sounds like my ex-wife” implied to me that at least that person was thinking of ‘beat’ as meaning ‘physically hitting’ (and was making a joke about it)

  23. Manju says:

    oops, let me try that hyperling again:
    “Because she’s a selfish bitch, probably.”

  24. Jovan1984 says:

    I am not gonna support McCain either, because of his anti-choice views. It has now been five days since these remarks and not one condemnation. McCain is a typical neocon.

    There is an eqvivalent word for men. ‘Dick’ is the male equivalent of the word ‘bitch’.

  25. John McCain is virulently anti-choice. That he’s a misogynist doesn’t really need much more proof than that, but this does confirm it.

  26. Roxie says:

    Not quite, Jovan.

    If someone had asked Clinton that, she wouldn’t have any IDEA who they were referring. (Yet ABC keeps saying she’s playing the “gender card”)

  27. False Flag Operative says:

    I hate Hillary Clinton too, but John McCain was being an jerk here. I’d never vote for McCain He’s too much of a flip-flopper, he’ll waste all my tax money on wars, he’s a gun grabber, and he’s just like Guiliani.

    As for Hillary, people should attack her views on issues the right way, not attack her gender and engaging in pointless ad hominem attacks. Ad hominem in politics tend to get boring. After all, imagine if McCain attacked Obama’s race. It would be the end of McCain.

    PS: I hate Clinton because she voted on the Patriot Act and has yet to refute her Iraq War vote.

  28. Hugo says:

    Sigh. I’ve been telling my Republican friends to support McCain in the primaries, as on global warming and the environment, he’s hands down the best of the GOP crowd. His position on torture is also better than anyone else’s. I’m a registered Republican, though I only give money to Democrats and to Republicans for Environmental Protection. I assume I’ll hold my nose and still vote for McCain in the primary, and support Clinton (or Obama, or my boy Edwards) come the general. The only other option I have is Huckabee, whose social views are appalling but whose economic views are actually pretty good.

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  30. kate says:

    The amount and the virulence of the misogyny aimed at Clinton is appalling and seems to have no end. She seems to embody the struggle that every women goes through when they seek a position of power, on any level, even within their own home.

    I was wavering with Obama, but I have decided to support Clinton. We need a female president as this country needs to get over this rampant and virulent misogyny and seeing a woman in the most powerful position in the country is a start. I know this for sure, she can’t be any worse than the Republicans and the candidates I share more closely with in view, such as Kucinich, don’t have a flying chance anyway.

    And I have said before and I’ll say it again, I don’t think anyone among any of the candidates could hate the wingnuts more than the Clintons. I don’t think any of the others either have a clue as to how to deal with their machine. The Clintons are well seasoned and I’m ready to put them (yes I said ‘them’) in the leading role to stop this train of social reactionaryism as soon as possible.

  31. kissmypineapple says:

    I don’t think anyone among any of the candidates could hate the wingnuts more than the Clintons. I don’t think any of the others either have a clue as to how to deal with their machine. The Clintons are well seasoned and I’m ready to put them (yes I said ‘them’) in the leading role to stop this train of social reactionaryism as soon as possible.

    Kate, that bothers me so very much. No one acts as though they are also electing a first lady when voting for a man, so please don’t act as though Bill Clinton’s going to be the one you’re voting for when you vote for Hilary. If elected, sheis the one who will be president, not Bill. This isn’t like a third term loophole.

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