Are You A Flake?
Like a lot of other people, especially women, I stared in horror at my t.v. screen yesterday when I heard Chris Wallace utter one of the dumbest interview questions of all time…”Are you a flake?” For a minute there, I wanted Michele Bachman to retort, “I know you are, but what am I?” I probably would have…but, that is why I am not presidential hopeful material. I also had a fantasy that Chris-y Poo would follow it up with a Barbara Walters-esqe save…”And if you are, what sort of flake would you be? Snow? Coconut? Parmesan Cheese?” Quite honestly, that would have been the only thing that would have made his line of questioning even slightly okay with me…
Now, I know that most of the critiques of news these days follow a predictable pattern…It’s usually one side saying that one network isn’t “real news”, or the other side saying that one network is “socialist”, bla, bla, bla. I’m sure you’ve heard all that too, and that’s not what this is about. So, for the love of God, let’s put all that aside for awhile, shall we, and focus on what actually happened in the FOXNews studios on Sunday. Now, I should state up front that I’m not very fond of Chris Wallace to begin with. I think he’s rude and haughty, and he consistently delivers rude and haughty interviews and commentary. I’ve seen him come off this way with a lot of his interviewees….male and female, Republican and Democrat, and so on. I think that’s just the way he is. But here’s the real issue–why did it occur to him to be rude in that way? The word flake is typically attributed to females, and a reasonable substitution could be, oh, I don’t know…airhead? Somehow I can’t see Wallace asking Donald Trump the same question. That is, not unless he wanted his toupee to be tossed into the Fox Newsroom shredder, toot sweet.
To her credit, Bachman, although clearly taken aback by the question, handled it with class, grace, and intelligence. Thus demonstrating that, no matter which way you lean politically, she is clearly not a flake at all. She is what she says she is–a serious candidate, not Congresswoman Barbie, playing dress up complete with a red suit, podium, and campaign button. Take that, Chris Wallace!
I have to wonder though, how prevalent is Wallace’s perspective? How many people out there, while not dumb enough to say it out loud, still secretly think that men are always better than women in professional roles? More than any of us care to believe, if you ask me. I see it play out subtly in workplace situations…a lot of women tend to ever so slightly defer to men when decisions need to be made, leaders need to be chosen, etc. Most of the time, I don’t think that they realize they are doing it either, and would probably deny it if confronted. And I’ve also seen women behave just a little differently when men are around too. That’s just my own personal observation, and endlessly debatable to be sure. But, I think that what happened on Sunday, along with the unusually virulent media scrutiny of other political women such as Sarah Palin, Laura Ingraham, Hillary Clinton, etc. begs the question…how far have we really come?
As usual, I don’t have all the answers. Far from it, my observations and musings usually just lead to more questions. But I will say this. I think that we as women need to, as a group, stop spending all our time arguing over which political party is the party for women with a feminist mindset, and broadly refocus our myopic attention that sees only one or two political issues and tends to ignore the rest. True, we have come a long way…not so very long ago we had to fight for the right to even vote in a political election. And ever since, we’ve fought a less clear cut war with several battles and skirmishes, to, when it comes right down to it, be taken seriously. In my opinion, that means being taken seriously in whatever we choose to do with our lives…our choices as independent individuals. Michele Bachman has chosen to pursue a political career. She’s an attorney, and has had a lot of successes in both her life and her career. She also, much to the dismay of many left leaning women out there, has chosen to be a conservative. And we, every last flake in the snowglobe, owe it to her to support those choices, whether they are our choices or not.
And, right about now, we need to stand up and unite to fight for her right to a fair, equitable interview that is in no way related to or based upon her gender….