Is this sexist?

The usual Millie Tants are screaming that it is:

Leno asked MacFarlane on his Tonight Show programme whether he would like to have \”sexual relations\” with Ms O\’Donnell, the Tea party-backed candidate in Delaware.

MacFarlane replied: \”I think the second she opened her mouth, it would probably ruin everything,\” to which Leno said: \”Or make it really good.\”

It\’s certainly about sex and quite possibly not in good taste (see, see what I did there? Little jokule about oral sex!) but that\’s not, at least from where I sit, the same as being sexist.

Did Leno make jokes about that Senator found begging for a bum chum in a public toilet? Did he make jokes about John Edwards\’ inability to keep it in his trousers? About Bill Clinton\’s same?

I have a very strong feeling that he did.

And all of those jokes were about sex but that doesn\’t make them sexist jokes.

3 thoughts on “Is this sexist?”

  1. I think the jokey discussion about them having sex with Christine O’Donnell were worse than the jokes about Clinton and John Edwards on two separate grounds. (I won’t bring in the senator you mention, since I’m not sure who you are referring to.)

    – Clinton and Edwards had both put their sex lives into the public domain by being politicians who had made their appeal to the public at least partly the fact that they were married men and had then proceeded to commit adultery. O’Donnell has put her views about sexual activity in the public sphere but so far as I know not her actions.

    – a sexual joke in the third person about a public figure is significantly less near the knuckle than men discussing how much they themselves would like to have sex with a named woman.

    Women comedians having a similar discussion in which they said how much they would like sex with a named man a would be equally near the knuckle but that scenario about other people is no defence of Leno and MacFarlane in this case.

    Thirdly, although I’ve often attacked extreme feminism for its double standards, non-extreme feminism does have a point: that sort of discussion between men in which they rate women sexually, done in public as entertainment, is a far larger part of our culture than the converse where women rate men sexually.

  2. Natalie – I am persuaded. I guess the difference you make is that Clinton et al invited the comments by their actions, whereas O’Donnell was commented upon simply for being a woman.

  3. the difference you make is that Clinton et al invited the comments by their actions, whereas O’Donnell was commented upon simply for being a woman.

    Exactly. If she’d done something, ws involved in some scandal, or had said something specific about her actions or preferences, mocking that would be fair game.

    But simply discussing her relative fitness as a sexual partner, simply because she’s a female in the public eye? Not really on.

    It is, of course, up to Leno and his network what he wants to make jokes about on his show, just as it’s up to viewers who and what they choose to watch, but I do think it was an innaprpriate joke in the context presented.

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