On That Weird Moment On The View The Other Day And The Limits of Younger Women's Solidarity
Click here to see the video of The View wherein Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Lisa Loeb (apparently now on the show- who knew?), and Elizabeth Hasslebeck. The Big Feminist Blogs gave it their treatment, as did Gawker, saying:
[Discussion of Plan B] sent young Hasselbeck into a tizzy of earnest "life begins at penetration" arguments, getting herself so worked up that her voice slipped into the trying-not-to-cry quiver. Den mother Barbara Walters eventually had to step in and calm the girl down; after the segment, we're certain that Hasselbeck stomped off to her room and slammed the door. "You'll never understand me, Barbara! I hate this family! I can't wait till I go to college and get away from you people!"
You know what? As much as I disagree with her opinion, I was fucking infuriated by the way Barbara Walters talked to her like she was a naughty child, when she got a bit heated. People keep saying she "wigged out," "flipped out," or "lost her shit": have these people ever seen CNN? She spoke louder. She's allowed.
To make matters worse, after she was condescended to after expressing herself pretty articulately on the show, the "feminist blogosphere" jumped right in with the ageism. She's not a baby. She doesn't appear, from that clip, stupid or childish. I disagree 150% with her point of view, but this proliferation of the youtube clip on every blog disgusts me. Barbara Walters looked like a patronizing older woman who couldn't deal with the passion of a young woman taking over HER show.
The response of feminist bloggers to this, not their disagreement with Hasslebeck which is legitimate, but their characterization of her as a little girl or a dumb blonde, reminded me of a few weeks back when young feminist bloggers couldn't wait to get behind Katha Pollitt against Ana Maria Cox. It was bizarre because Cox's arguments seemed far more aligned to what they express on their blogs everyday. Many of these bloggers laughing at Hasslebeck are the same ones and many of them don't hesitate to make their names specifically as young women whose voices need to be heard/read at least in part because they're young women.
Which also reminds me of a discussion on Bitch|Lab about how someone like Camille Paglia might be using the "feminist" label in some way to get ahead. And I can't help but wonder if that doesn't actually pertain to some feminist bloggers' playing the "youth card". Young women should be listened to, respected, and treated as equals when young women = those particular feminist bloggers.
I think it's entirely possible both to critique what Hasslebeck was saying, while simultaneously critiquing the way Barbara Walters handled the situation. She had no qualms about blatantly humiliating this young woman, just as in Katha Pollitt didn't seem to see anything wrong with tarring a whole generation of young women "featherheads".