The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for February 22nd, 2016

How not to be a sexist jerk this election season

I swore I wasn’t going to do an election strip this week, but the alternative was a comic about excessive amounts of cellulose filler found in cans of grated Parmesan cheese. You can guess how well that went.

Let me say up front that I do not consider Bernie to be a sexist jerk, since I know that’s what many people are going to assume. To the contrary, I think he’s a feminist. He did, however, say something uncool that I felt needed calling out (in the same spirit, let’s say, that he publicly criticizes Obama when he disagrees with him). For those unfamiliar with the backstory, Bernie was defending a controversial comment made by the rapper Killer Mike (who was actually quoting a feminist scholar friend) about a uterus not qualifying one to be president. Setting aside the point that I think most Hillary supporters are factoring in more than just the uterus situation, Bernie’s claim that he would never ask voters to support him because he’s a man struck me as an odd case of false equivalence, the kind of context-free, ahistorical argument we tend to hear from right-wingers shooting down affirmative action or calls for greater workplace diversity. Of course he wouldn’t ask people to vote for him because he’s a man. There’s no need!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not particularly attached to either Hillary or Bernie, but I do think we need more women in politics. While gender certainly — obviously! — shouldn’t be the only factor, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a female president. And while I think the “Bernie Bro” phenomenon has been somewhat overstated, I’ve come to realize that a lot of otherwise well-meaning people just don’t quite take our nation’s glaring absence of a single female president or vice president very seriously. You don’t even have to support Hillary to acknowledge that solving the problem is important. Just as President Obama has provided a positive role model and sense of possibility to countless numbers of people, a woman in the Oval Office would have a powerful effect.


Jen Sorensen is a nationally-syndicated political cartoonist whose work has appeared in The Progressive, The Nation, Daily Kos, Austin Chronicle, NPR, Ms., Politico, and many other publications. The recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, she tweets at @JenSorensen.

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