Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Talking Down to Women, Wendy Davis Edition

By Joy Pullmann

Lots of things infuriate me about this Texas abortion spectacle, but one has to be the patronizing way the media has treated Wendy Davis, the state senator who blocked a bill that would require abortion centers to meet safety standards and restrict abortions after a baby can survive outside the womb. Anti-life protesters rallied around Davis and stormed the Texas capitol with such force that police were overwhelmed periodically and senators could not discuss or vote on the bill.

John McCormack listed 20 questions major TV anchors asked Davis. They include serious questions like "It was a remarkable scene. Did you have any idea that it would grow like this?" from CNN's Anderson Cooper, "Why did you decide to wear your [pink] running shoes? Let’s take a look at those … they’ve kind of been rocketing around the Internet" from ABC's Jeff Zeleny, and "Well, after coming under these attacks, do you regret taking the front row that you did on this and leading this charge?" from CBS's Bob Schieffer.

Let me get this straight. A politician blocks a policy that vast majorities of Americans support (some 80 percent or more) because it would prevent mothers from ending the lives of children who could otherwise survive outside the womb in preemie wards, and she gets asked about her pink running shoes?! How much more patronizing can these male TV anchors get?

It really seems to me, first, like these men assume Wendy Davis does not have a brain. That can't be the case--she got herself elected to a public office, and is leading a high-profile cultural campaign. But the other alternative is simply that they don't want to talk about the topic, even though that's their JOB. I understand that abortion makes people uncomfortable. It makes me extremely uncomfortable. But maybe that's because there's something appropriately disturbing about it. And maybe when politicians are pushing people to accept disturbing policies, someone should at least have the courtesy and sense to question them about it. 

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