While men who unexpectedly become single parents are often presented as inspirational, women in the same position tend to be vilified. Take Murphy Brown.
The show’s eponymous lead character, a TV journalist, became pregnant in her early forties and soon discovered her baby daddy didn’t want to be a father. So this wealthy, talented, intelligent woman set about raising a baby on her own. Responsible, you might think. At the very least, making the best of things. Not according to then-Vice President Dan Quayle, who considered Murphy to be a scourge of humanity.
Back in 1992, Quayle used the occasion of the L.A. Riots as an opportunity for a little moralizing about family values. While he did at least acknowledge men’s role in creating single parent families (saying, “Failing to support children one has fathered is wrong,”) he focused his criticism on Candace Bergen’s fictional character, ranting: “It doesn’t help matters when primetime TV has Murphy Brown — a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid, professional woman — mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another ‘lifestyle choice’.”
If you watched the second US presidential debate last night I've got four words for you: "binders full of women." (If you didn't watch the debate, here are a few more words for you: In response to a question about equal pay for women, Romney told moderator Candy Crowley that while he was governor of Massachusetts, he sought qualified women for his administration by going to “a number of women’s groups asking, ‘Can you help us find folks?’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.” Yeah.)
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's sexism is old news at this point, but hey, it's election season and he has to stay in the news, right? Romney doubled down on the misogyny last Thursday by hiring Richard Grenell as his national security and foreign policy adviser. Grenell, formerly of the Bush administration, kicked off his first week on the job by deleting a bunch of sexist shit from his Twitter account.
The Republican presidential candidates deservedly get a good amount of critical coverage due to the homophobic, racist, and misogynistic rhetoric that they seem to spout at every campaign stop. This election, though, is one of the first times in my memory that the candidates’ classism and profound oblivion regarding their own privilege have really taken center stage. While I’m sure there will be more gaffes to come, I’m wrapping up this series this week, and I thought a roundup of the more classist political soundbites might be a good parting gift.
The bigger farce, though, is Mitt Romney—the richest candidate in a decade, and the richest plausible candidate in far longer—claiming the President’s policies are class warfare. It’s almost as laughable as Romney referring to Newt Gingrich as "a wealthy man… not a middle-class American" as a criticism. Sure, Newt isn’t a middle-class American. None of the candidates are. But, you know what Mitt? You have $250 million dollars. You’re not even the middle of the top one percent.