Anyone who read this blog during the most recent election knows that I'm not a Republican. This is not an ode to Meghan McCain, about the current strife over identity and direction in the Republican Party, or even about Ann Coulter or Laura Ingraham. I know little about Ms. McCain, Coulter, or Ingraham, other than that one is a famous daughter of a political family, one a cultural critic whose approach to her ideology (and reproach to those who disagree with her) is too distasteful and disrespectful for me to read, and the last I recognize in name only as a conservative media personality. I could not have told you prior to this week if Laura Ingraham opinions appeared in print, on broadcast media, or on the Internet -- or all three.
Meghan McCain recently has written on her blog on The Daily Beast criticizing Ann Coulter and the Republican Party, claiming that they are out of touch, offering little to younger voters. Laura Ingraham, taking umberage with McCain's comments did not attach her views. Rather, she commented about McCain's body size, calling her 'plus size'. McCain's response on The View yesterday: "Kiss my fat ass!"
Kudos to Ms. McCain for clearly identifying two important points: 1. personal attacks do not cultivate intentional, effective discourse; and 2. it is ridiculous to buy into the current unrealistic media images regarding body size. McCain is a size 8 - 10.
To attack McCain's appearance because her opinions differ is unbelievable for someone with a national audience -- or anywhere. What does one's appearance have with one's capabilities? Nothing! Ingraham, continuing her childish spat with McCain today, called her a idiot and a pawn of the liberal media. Unable to sustain her comments from a few days ago, and apparently unable to counter McCain's comments about the failure of the Republican Party to attract young voters, Ingraham continued her ad hominem attack on McCain. She has not moved forward any sort of reasonable debate with McCain and others who have criticized the Republican Party. It would appear that she doesn't care too. Perhaps Ingraham has unwittingly proved McCain's point of why some conservatives are out of touch.
That Ingraham would even suggest that McCain's weight has any bearing on her opinions, her writing, or her capability to comment on current political or cultural events is so beyond the pale of acceptable debate. One's weight should not have any bearing on one's professional capabilities. Haven't women been fighting this type of thing for years - that women must conform to certain stereotypical ideals in order to be acceptable? Had a man said what Ingraham said, he would have been vilified, perhaps asked to resign from his job (cf: Don Imus). In most workplaces, a man would have been fired if his opinions of a women's appearance were made known.
Yet, women often put up with this. We are barraged by unreasonable, unrealistic images of what we are 'suppose' to look like and are considered failures if we don't. As someone who works in a young company, I am one of the 'older' people in the office (I'm in my late 40's). Rarely is anything said about men in my office -- most of them much younger than me -- having gray hair. While nobody has said anything discriminatory to me regarding my quickly silvering hair, I have had many women ask me why I don't dye it. "Aren't you afraid what people will think?" "Will you dye it if you have to look for a new job?" "People will think that you don't care what you look like."
What? I'm always neatly clothed, even for a work environment that is jeans and tee shirts, wear makeup in the office, have nicely styled hair. How could anyone think that I didn't care about my appearance?
Like gray hair, weight is an issue. I've heard comments from men who have had beer bellies for 10 years and hair growing out of their ears regarding women who have a bit too much weight on their backsides, or heavy legs, or flabby arms. And we let them get away with it. We don't stand up against it. We do it to ourselves.
Women shouldn't put up with anyone verbalizing these ideas. We especially can't let other women do it. We can't perpetuate these weight-obsessed images with negative comments about how we look. We need to fight back for ourselves and our daughters -- size 8 is nowhere near a 'plus size'. And is it necessary to call any size a 'plus'? Being healthy and accepting of one's body type -- whatever it may be: curvy, slender, buxom, athletic -- is what we should celebrate. Not adhering to some unhealthy media image is the right thing to do.
Join me in echoing Meghan McCain's retort to Laura Ingraham, telling all who think that it is funny, snarky, or a legitimate response to disagreement to suggest that one's capabilities are determined by the size of one's skirt: KISS MY FAT ASS.
You can read Meghan McCain's response to Ingraham here.