Conservative journalist S.E. Cupp’s treatment by Hustler Magazine in their “article” and fake photo depicting a phallus in her mouth is a disgrace. According to an article in Mediaite, this mag thinks it is quite amusing to demean women by wondering, “What would S.E. Cupp look like with a d*ck in her mouth.”
What prompted this behavior is her pro-life stance and desire to defund Planned Parenthood. While I strongly disagree with her views on these issues, no women should be subjected to this disgusting and frankly, violent, treatment.
When later interviewed, Cupp pointed out that no one will remember their disclaimer that “no such photo actually exists” – they will only remember the picture. That is what will be circulated far and wide. After all, the internet is forever. No matter the tasteless source of the article, the result can be used again and again to punish the subject, which is its design:
“The fact that I work very hard and I’m an ivy league educated woman with a pretty good job doesn’t matter when you look at a photo like this.”
She also wondered if Nancy Pelosi or Michelle Obama had been treated that way, would there be the comparative non-outrage. Cupp also spoke about the other degrading behavior aimed at women such as Sarah Palin — but she only mentioned conservative women. As Dylan Stableford reports in Yahoo News:
“The outrage of Sandra Fluke will not be matched on my side,” Cupp said. “It seems that feminism has devolved into an institution that has picked losers and winners and has decided that some women qualify for respect and other women do not.”
Fluke, though, called Hustler’s depiction of Cupp “offensive,” adding on Twitter: “Sexualization of female public [figures] attempts to limit them to being sexual figures and [nothing] more.”
Planned Parenthood also tweeted its support of Cupp.
I was encouraged to see that both Planned Parenthood and Sandra Fluke came out to denounce Hustler Magazine’s behavior. And while Ms. Cupp’s remarks were accurate as far as they went, she should also have stressed the fact that it is not only conservative women that are treated like this. Politically inconvenient women get this kind of treatment, no matter which side they are on.
It is a bad habit of conservatives when noting the insults hurled at Palin, Michelle Bachman, Laura Ingraham, Nikki Haley and others to conveniently forget that mainstream media, social media, comedians and trash mags lobbed disgusting images and slurs at Hillary Clinton, too – and did so for many years with no let up. It was a favorite, longtime hobby to use visual depictions of Mrs. Clinton that were sexually explicit and degrading.
Years ago, SPY magazine had a cover with Hillary’s dress being blown up above her waist, showing male underwear with a bulging penis underneath. That was a milder image and it was just the beginning.
Hillary toilet paper, Hillary nutcrackers, facebook depictions of sex acts being committed on Hillary by animals: was that not degrading treatment, too? She’s not exactly a conservative. Both the left and right were guilty here. In fact, in 2008, the left attacked Hillary Clinton just as viciously as they would any conservative woman. According to them, the ends justified the means.
Conservative women do not deserve to be treated like Cupp was – and no woman does. Just as it is inexcusable that only a liberal woman would be defended against misogyny– both sides need to realize that to be taken seriously, we need to defend any and all women against this kind of treatment. Both sides need to stand up in a loud voice as one and demand that it stop.
And just as Cupp complains no liberal will stand up to defend her, there was not exactly a deafening roar by conservatives when Hillary Clinton’s own party condoned the 2008 verbal and visual media stoning we all witnessed.
An article that was released in Playboy a couple of years ago about “conservative women we’d like to hate f*ck” was likewise horrifying. Hate f*ck? Is that anything like rape? Likewise, Sandra Bernhard commenting that Sarah Palin would be “gang raped if she dared set foot into Manhattan” – is this what we want to wish on a woman just because we disagree with her politically? Bill Maher also wished reporter Lara Logan’s horrid gang assault upon The View’s Elizabeth Hasselback.
No side has a claim to purity and no woman is immune. If a woman’s politics or aspirations conflict with or supersede that which the other players feel is appropriate, sexually degrading material is hauled out to put her back in her place. It is not only insulting, it telegraphs violence — not wit, not humor. This sort of attitude and treatment of any women promotes violence and disrespect towards all women. Not acceptable.
Anita Finlay is the author of Dirty Words on Clean Skin: Sexism and Sabotage, a Hillary Supporter’s Rude Awakening, now available on Amazon in both print and Kindle editions.