Thursday, April 08, 2010

Sexist Tennessee Politics: Calling the Woman Candidate "Kimmie Mac"

You don't often see women running for high office in Tennessee. And that's how the good old boys like it.

Kim McMillan has more political experience in her little finger than Mike McWherter has had in his entire lifetime. Nevertheless, she's out of the race for the Democratic nomination for governor and McWherter is in. She served for 12 years in the Tennessee House of Representatives. She was the first woman in the state's history to serve as House Majority Leader. He's never held office in his life. He's the son of a former governor.

It's the tradition in this country to keep women out of high office by portraying us as too dumb, too naive and too childish for the job. Like they say, some traditions seem to last forever. In a recent column, Gail Kerr criticizes local bloggers and campaign staff for the exceedingly sexist practice of disrespecting the woman candidate by tagging her with cute little demeaning nicknames like "Kimmie Mac."

Thank you Gail Kerr:

No one calls Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron Ramsey "Ronnie Ram." Or lone remaining Democrat Mike McWherter "Mikey Mac." So why do some men think it's acceptable to stick a childish, pejorative label on one of the state's female politicians?

. . Calling her "Kimmy Mac"? Come on, boys. This is 2010. Haven't we gotten past the point where men feel the need to belittle women by assigning them childish names? I know they are trying for cute and clever. But it isn't. It's belittling and sexist. And it's decades past time for it to end. . Sexism couched behind snarky humor is still sexism. There's no place for it. Whether they admit it or not, men use it to try and put us "little gals" in our place.

Let this be a reminder to any remaining Neanderthals. A woman's place is in the House. And the Senate. And the White House. And the boardroom.

To this day, Tennessee, like the U.S., remains a male-dominated state because of a shamefully long history of sexist laws and sexist customs. In 2010, some men are still hard at work employing sexism to protect 'men's jobs' from ambitious women. Nashville's Post Politics has given men all over this red state permission to use sexism against the woman candidate. Belittling women is also an excellent way to mark your blog, like your state's politics, as best for men.