OT: Chauvinistic Barbs from the Oval Office

Now, I will not use this blog to comment on politics, but I will occasionally comment on things pertaining to being a woman in a male-dominated professional culture.

I happened to hear the beginning of President Bush's press conference today and one comment caught my attention. While Mr. Bush was acknowledging Nancy Pelosi's rise to the post of Speaker of the House of Representatives--the first time a woman has EVER been in this position, regardless of party affiliation--he made the following remark (not a quote but he said something to this effect):

During my conversation with her, I gave her the name of several interior decorators in Washington so she can pick out some drapes for her new office.

That, my friends, is a classic Narcisstic back-handed slam--a tactical, grand gesture meant to put this woman in her place. In short, it says the following to her and the country:

She may be the new Speaker of the House and her party might now be in control, but I will, in a futile attempt to maintain my haughty superiority during this challenge to my personal and political self-esteem, remind the world that she is just a woman. Yes, I will now be forced to work with her on matters of national importance, maybe even compromise with her people, but I'll insert this little press conference comment about helping her pick out her office drapes to degrade her publicly, because we all know that decorating is really what women are best at doing and that's what they should care about. Women aren't really qualified to be Speaker of the House and function as my professional equal--and I'm, deep down, really threatened by the whole thing. And we all know the best defense is a strong offense, so I'll subtly jab at her with this male chauvinistic remark while I'm forced to publicly acknowledge her new position.

Keep a stiff upper lip, Nancy, and move onward and upward. I'm sure it is not the first time and it certainly won't be the last. Incredible. So ladies, know that none of us are immune to being "put in our place". Happens even at the very, very top of the food chain.

Maybe now former athlete/wrestler/coach Dennis Hastert can get some exercise, eat better and take care of himself. That dude does not look physically healthy at all--looks like puffy death warmed over.


Anonymous said…
Well said! I agree with your every word, and sypathise, though I'm afraid that I am a member of the opposite, too-often-moronic gender. Ho hum...
TrainJoe said…
Wow, digging deep! You just did the same thing you were complaining about to Dennis Hassert.
Tracy Fober said…
What!? I said he looked unhealthy, like death warmed over, on corticosteriods. I'm not sure how you can say I'm making a veiled, gender-based slam on him.

It was a honest assessment of his physical appearance--and I meant it when I said I hope he would use his time while not serving as Speaker, to attend to himself. As I would hope any former coach would take care of him/herself, regardless of political affiliation.
Anonymous said…
Personally I can't stand the current president so I can't believe I am going to defend him here. However I think the quote is taken a little out of context. In fact, NPR talked about the comment this morning. You can listen here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6460635

In short, during a campaign rally before the election he said:

"In Washington people have already determined the outcome of the election, like it’s over even before the people actually start voting. You know, we got some people dancing in the end zone here in Washington, DC. They got them measuring their drapes. They’re going over to the Capitol and saying well, ‘My new office looks beautiful; I think I’m going to have this size drape there or this color’."

So when he called Nancy Pelosi he was making reference to that comment. Or at least that is the way I (and NPR) interpreted it. Not all that funny but should at least be fair to him. That doesn't mean that he isn't a chauvinist but in this case I can see how it could be misinterpreted.

Really enjoy the blog. Keep up the good work.
Tracy Fober said…
I might have been a bit harsh, but if you Google "Nancy Pelosi new drapes" you'll see many conservative web sites have been using that term over the last few months. I don't think they would use the "drapes" reference if she were male. I think it was some kind of mantra they were all using to rally against the whole idea of the potential change.

Now that she's in, I think the whole lot of them will stop belittling her (however minor) in that manner.

Thanks for your comments. It is good to have many perspectives and additional info on the issue.
Anonymous said…
Totally taken out of context. Looks like you Googled first, then went from there. Try Googling (or some other research method) to about three weeks ago when a Democratic aid said that the party was confident of victory and that Pelosi was already thinking about remodeling the Majority penthouse (with new carpet and drapes). Of course, this was in jest, but did provide some ammo for Republicans to use. Just enjoy your victory and shut up!
Anonymous said…
If you are at all familiar with the political world, the first thing the new person does (with our tax money) it take a perfectly useable office, gut it, and decorate it they way they want. Bush was likely making jest of that and the fact that the Dems are ready to move in and take over Washington.

this was not posted by the previous anonymous.
Tracy Fober said…
Let's hope the kids play nice together and actually get some positive things done. Thanks for everyone's input. I do read it all and appreciate constuctive responses.


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