Berniebro Culture: Sanders Backer Says Women's Clothing "Invitation" for Harassment
Some may have thought that the day of reckoning for powerful men abusing, harassing and assaulting women is a long time coming, but the bro culture among Bernie Sanders' most ardent backers - even the ones who are women - is real. The same night we found out that Sanders' fellow poverty pimp Tavis Smiley's show was being taken off PBS for serious and credible allegations of sexual abuse.
But you know, Tavis says he never "inappropriately exposed" himself to any colleague. So that's that. I guess he thinks there's a way to appropriately expose oneself in the workplace.
But I digress. This article isn't about Tavis Smiley.
This article is about Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, a yuuuge Bernie Sanders backer in 2016. Yesterday, Kaptur stunned her Democratic colleagues and staffers with classic victim blaming for sexual harassment. Politico reports that according to two Democratic sources, Kaptur blamed cleavage, not penises, for men who choose to be dicks.
It stunned Democratic members and staffers so much - Kaptur has served in Congress since 1973 - no one knew what to say.
Kaptur sprung into damage control mode after the story came out and said that her clearly victim-blaming words should in no way be interpreted to be blaming victims. She just wants decorum. You know, decorum that women are responsible for destroying with their dresses rather than men with their entitled attitudes.
To be quite honest, this is not a surprise. Marcy Kaptur was among the few women who knew about Bernie Sanders' 1972 rape-fantasy essay and backed his candidacy anyway, because she didn't like NAFTA. She acted hardly differently from women who knowingly supported Donald Trump and Roy Moore because for them, ideological dogmatism trumped (pun intended) the dignity of their fellow women, heck the dignity of their fellow humans.
There's a reason I bring up Kaptur's (and even Smiley's) association with Bernie Sanders. It's not as if backers of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primaries haven't had their own problems with sexual harassment - John Conyers and Al Franken come to mind. But Bernie Sanders explicitly campaigned on having ideological economic issues take priority over cultural scars on the national soul, whether it be pernicious institutionalized racism or the seething cultural sexism exhibited by the bro-culture of his most ardent supporters. Over and over, Sanders dismissed deeply rooted cultural attitudes towards women and people of color, pretending that free college and single-payer health care would heal all wounds.
As we have learned from Republicans, women - particularly, white women - can be adept at ignoring the plight of women victims of systematic harassment and bro-culture and even blaming victims. One could say it is almost exactly this attitude that lead white women in pivotal states like Ohio (Kaptur's state), Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan to throw the presidency to an admitted sexual assaulter.
As a nation, we need to reset our cultural priorities. As a society, we need to reject bro culture. We need to reject candidates and leaders who would even for a moment fail to address this deep darkness of our national soul.
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