S1: This ad free podcast is part of your slate plus membership.
S2: The following podcast contains explicit language.
S3: Hello and welcome to the Waves for Thursday, April 9th. The EROI Cosplay Edition. I’m Christina Cutter Achi, a staff writer at Slate and host of the Slate podcast Outward.
S2: I’m Marcia Chatwin, a professor of history at Georgetown University. I’m Nicole Perkins, writer and co-host of First Aid Kit.
S3: And I’m June Thomas, senior managing producer at Slate Podcasts. How are you all holding up on this third, fourth week of quarantine?
S4: I am in the bread making phase.
S5: Oh, gosh.
S4: Been there so I don’t know how to do groceries for just two people for long periods of time. And so my cousin in law brought over a fresh box of produce. And I’m also at the ramps pesto of this. So I’ll be going to culinary school.
S6: I’m excited to get to the ramps phase. How about Unical? Well, I actually celebrated my birthday Tuesday.
S7: Happy birthday. Oh, and it was kind of sad. But, you know, I also got a cat. I finally adopted a cat. Wow.
S8: That’s definitely made up for it. I hope that she doesn’t join us today as we record.
S9: I hope she does. That was that was my cat. Just making a noise. And I think she must have known. Yeah.
S10: Did you think June’s cat believes we’ve been neglecting the cat community in our. Yes. Yes. Yes.
S9: June, how are you doing? I’ve been eating the same food over and over, which is kind of something I do. I’m not a huge variety of food person, but I got into these lemon wafers and I swear like that will be the taste of quarantining me. Like, you know, presuming that it ends, the sort of strongest memory would be this particular flavor of lemon wafers that I’ve been gorging on for what is now weeks.
S5: I wanted to share some social isolation updates from listeners who have written in. One person said that she’s bought duffel bags and sand to mimic the weight lifting experience.
S10: Wow. Another gave us a whole list of recommendations, which I’m really thankful for, including night queen scented incense. I don’t know what a night queen smells like, but it sounds delicious. One way to find out. Home yoga, specifically, the needles stretch a nice hip opener. This listener said Roy Boese tea with honey and the my therapist says Instagram feed shot. I know if you or your husband are familiar with that, I’m a little bit more of a contemplative note. One person wrote, and this is the duffel bag person. I don’t know if it’s a millennial thing, but I feel as though every time I’m about to turn the corner into adult measures for success, there’s an intervening event. 9/11 kicked off high school. I graduated college in 2009, which was bad timing for sure. Got married to an immigrant right as Trump was sworn in. I want to emphasize, I understand that I have a lot of things going for me. So this pity party is subdued, but sometimes it feels like there’s no winning. And I will just marinate in anxious expectation that there’s no point in feeling happy or proud because it will go away.
S1: And that’s real.
S5: Yeah, I think that this moment, whether or not the virus itself has affected you or your family. This moment has definitely brought out a lot of anxiety and feelings of hopelessness and a lot of people.
S10: So I just want to send a hug to all of our listeners and please keep writing us in with your thoughts, your tips, and also any requests for what kind of content, hashtag content you might want from us in this time. I’m really excited for our episode this week. So a lot of other listeners wrote in talking about the specific challenges that parents are facing right now, specifically working moms. So this week we have a special guest joining us for our first segment, Emily OSTER, who is very well known for her expert analysis of studies on childbirth and parenting, is going to talk to us about the challenges of giving birth and parenting during a pandemic. Then we’re gonna talk about Mrs. America, a new ethics show about Phyllis Schlafly, Shirley Chisholm, Gloria Steinem and the feminist and anti-feminist movements of the 1970s. And finally, we’ll discuss the new sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden. Nicole, what is our Slate Plus segment this week? I’m excited to talk about it.
S8: So our Slate Plus segment is if the reaction to Dr. Deborah Birks, who is one of The Hobbit 19 response coordinator. On the task force, if the reaction to her presentation and leadership style is sexist, it’s a hot one.
S10: Let’s hear a snippet from that conversation.
S11: The type of criticisms that she gets for her self-presentation and her proximity to the Trump administration, I think are important because she’s playing in a very important role in this process. And I think that she has given the White House a lot of cover because on one hand, she may clarify some medical fine points, but her contextualization of this crisis has troubled me.
S5: Hello, Slate. Plus, we wanted to take a moment and say thank you once again for your membership and support, which has become more important than ever, especially in times like these. You are helping everyone sleep, do the work that they do. And we’re doing our best to put out the best work for you. Now, if you’re a reader of Slate as well as a listener, you might have heard that Slate.com recently installed a paywall. But as Slate Plus members, you have access to everything on the Web site as part of your membership. As long as you remember, you will not hit a paywall on the site. All you have to do is sign in at slate.com, slash log in that, slate.com slash log in. And if you have any questions about your account, you can e-mail us at plus at Slate.com.
S12: All right. We are happy to welcome a special guest for our first segment. Emily OSTER is an economist at Brown University and the author of two widely acclaimed books on pregnancy, childbirth and parenting that I’m sure many of you have read. They’re called crib sheets and expecting better. Emily, welcome to the Waves. Thank you for having me. So one of the reasons why we wanted to bring you on the show this week is that we know a lot of pregnant people right now are considering delivering at home as a way to avoid hospitals, which can seem scarier and more dangerous than usual these days. And you’ve written a lot about this decision. What factors should people be considering as they’re thinking about their birth plans during the pandemic?
S13: So I think that it’s probably useful for people to step back and think about what are the factors they would think about in the absence of the pandemic. And so when people think about should I have a homebirth? There’s a lot that goes into that. And when you think about are there any risks? The biggest issue is, you know, there’s a pretty sizable risk with the first birth, maybe 25 percent, 30 percent, that you end up with an emergency hospital transfer. And usually that goes fine. But that’s kind of a big thing that people would worry about. And so when I think about, you know what, I want to change my plans in the pandemic, I think that’s worth keeping in mind, because on the one hand, you’re giving birth, going to hospital has gotten scarier. On the other hand, emergency transfers to a hospital also gotten substantially scarier. In addition, if you’re thinking about, you know, I wasn’t planning to do this, but now I’m going to do it at the last minute. It may be hard to find a really good provider. So, you know, I think this isn’t a choice that you generally want to make at the last minute. And I think it’s worth keeping in mind that the kind of risks or the concerns have been raised for all of the methods of birth, not just the hospital.
S12: I know one of my friends who’s pregnant, her doctor recommended that she be induced a week early to make sure there’s a hospital bed available for her. And also, I think to have a little bit more control over the timing of everything. What does the data say about that is that, you know, something that’s recommended during this time to have a little more control over everything?
S14: Yes. In general, there’s been a push in the last year or so towards that kind of inducing people at 39 weeks, partly because of a new study that suggested that some of the concerns you have about that like that it would lead to more C-sections, that those turned out not to be true. So I think there’s been a general push there, and it’s something people have pushed for even more in this environment. I think it’s a little tricky because on the one hand, you know, got to give you more control. And so if you thought, you know, well, there’s some risk of kind of not having a school or better if you wait, then that’s a reason to do it. On the other hand, I think for a lot of the same women who are thinking like, you know, maybe I should go home. You want to be in the hospital as little time as possible and an injection takes a lot more time than other ways of giving birth. So if you go into labor, naturally, you show up pathways, your labor, you’re in the hospital for a much shorter time, at least before the birth.
S15: Then if you’re induced, which typically takes a pretty long time from the position of hospitals and doctors and advice, what has shifted in terms of doctors then feeling like giving this advice heightens their liabilities because it seems like from this shift in this concern about people going into hospitals, reducing elective surgeries, all of this kind of fear about infection, how do you think that is also shaping the ways that people are being advised by doctors?
S13: I think always. Stuff like that is going to increase the kind of caution in the way that people advise. And in some ways he’s going to push doctors to almost do more. I think a lot of times the concern is that something bad will happen and it will seem like you didn’t doing that. And that kind of ideas is implicated a lot. For example, and why do we have so many C-sections?
S14: Because rarely are you later told, well, why did you do the C-section? It sort of seems like a conservative choice. And I can see that kind of stuff coming up here. Right.
S13: So sort of saying, OK, well, even though, you know, maybe you don’t really need to be induced, that kind of seems conservative and it seems like something that would give us more control. So let’s sort of start recommending that, because if you don’t induce and a you know, something bad happens, maybe it seems like you haven’t been cautious about.
S16: So for the people who decide to have at home births while we’re all isolated and quarantined, who are the key people that they would need to have at home with them? And what are the additional precautions that they would need to take now?
S17: Yeah. So in general, if you’re going to have a birth, you wanted you with somebody who is kind of as trained as possible. So that would be what we typically call a certified nurse midwife or someone who has got a pretty extensive training in this and ideally who’s done a lot of this. It would also be pretty common to have a Dula as well. So those would be sort of the key support people at home. What are kind of additional precautions? I mean, I would have said probably masks and additional sanitation. It’s tricky because, of course, you’re letting someone into your house and they could be sick. That’s also true of the people at the hospital. So, you know, I think just trying to be as careful as possible and probably have people mask up when they’re treating you, that’s probably about the level of precaution you can realistically expect to take.
S18: Switching gears a little bit in one of the newsletters that you’ve published in this time of Koven 19, you write of your parenting experience.
S19: This marks my first week of homeschooling over here. And I have to say it’s going great. Every day, my 5 year old spends focused hour on reading skills, sitting quietly at his desk with a pencil, sounding out and tracing words at the end of the hour. He brings me his worksheets and tells me, Thank you so much, Mom, for putting together such a great lesson today. Meanwhile, I have enjoyed a cup of tea and a good book. Ha ha ha. Just kidding. I know several of our listeners have written in talking about their own experiences as parents in this moment. Tell us more about your homeschooling experience and what are the parents right you most concerned about in this time?
S14: I had two kids and five year old and a nine year old, and my 9 year old is way more self-sufficient. You know, it’s sort of hard to do school at home, but actually with an older kid, I have found her school has been pretty good. There’s some sex to do. It’s not that hard to find online resources. I have struggled much more with the 5 year old. And that’s kind of the sense that I get from people right in that sort of ages, people who are like my three year old’s pre-school is having no meetings.
S20: And yet, how do I get my 3 year old to focus during those who I know I can’t get my colleagues.
S21: Maybe I got enough like I own a lot.
S17: I’m kind of trying to make it a little bit of and, you know, I am spending some time trying to work on, you know, letters and numbers and stuff with my kids, but also trying to accept that, like my vision that somehow if only I had my kids all the time, they would be learning higher level. Mathematics has probably been defeated by a sort of constant discussion about how much time one is going to get in response to doing various things.
S22: I’m curious for you and your experience in talking to parents, how they are perceiving this moment in terms of anxiety, because the thing they do find that really interesting is a lot of my parents’ friends are, you know, the midlife crisis is even heightened. They’re thinking about death or thinking about mortality. They’re thinking about the future. And I’m like, well, how are your kids taking it? And they’re like, well, I told them that people are sick. We have to stay home. And they don’t have the imagination to internalize it in that way.
S23: So what are you hearing from parents about issues of children and anxiety?
S13: Yeah, I mean, I think that for kids who are already anxious, for all of us who are already anxious, I think that, you know, this can be more anxiety. This can make it worse. My sense is that people are kind of trying to dial down how much they transmit information and so on to their kids. I think what’s really hard is that there are sometimes bad things that happen where you get to really choose how much you share with your kid. So there’s a lot of terrible stuff happening in Syria for a younger kid.
S17: You can kind of not tell them about that or you could tell them about that. You can think about how to how to pitch it, but you could just never mention that to your 6 year old and they would be a long time before they learned about it. This is something where the kids are experiencing it. So there’s no not telling the kids about. Coronavirus, and I think that people are sort of struggling with, you know, trying to not convey their own anxiety, and some of it is really about figuring out what’s the age appropriate and also what’s appropriate. So, you know, one of my kids is really into like facts. She actually wants to know, like, what is going on with the virus, like with the epidemiology, which is something I know something about. That’s been sort of like like something that we interact about in a way for her to feel some like or it’s a control over it. I think that that’s a kind of unusual situation.
S20: Right now, I assume you are at home and know where your kids are and are possibly trying to keep them away from, you know, your microphone. Cosmic kid, your losses.
S21: So that is it’s amazing. It’s amazing.
S18: My niece, I think, did a frozen themed yoga the other day. Is that a cosmic kids yoga shoot? I think it may be, yeah.
S12: It’s even as a non parent, I feel like I’m learning all about these like magical ways that parents can keep their kids occupied. You’ve also written about the way that the labor of working parents is becoming more visible now, in part because a video chat and that there’s this sort of enforced collapsing of work life and parenting life in this moment that could actually possibly lead to changes that might be good for working parents. You know, when all of this someday possibly ends. What would that look like before this all happened?
S14: I was pushing people on the idea that, OK. Like our parenting is any more visible. People need to understand the kind of constraints that you’re facing at home. And it could be parenting, but it also could be, you know, elder care. There’s a lot of things that are going on in people’s lives. And the result of this is that that is like in people’s face.
S17: All right. So, you know, I am on these university committees. And then at some point in the middle of the university committee proceeding, my kid comes in. It’s like I need help with the i-Pad. You know, I got a call in my school synchronous learning experience. And so people kind of see it’s one thing for me to tell them, you know, look, I’m pretty constrained and I can’t work at five o’clock because I have to see my kid. It’s quite another thing when it’s visible that my kid is literally in the room and waiting for them. I think in some ways that’s good. And when we sort of return to the sense of normalcy, I guess, is we’re going to all know like a lot more about our colleagues personal situations and perhaps be more sympathetic. I will say a number of people have also raised to me like, look, I don’t know what to do because my colleagues do not, like understand that I have children and they are expecting me to be on all the time and there to sit around their houses working all the time. And like, I can’t do that. And it’s really hard to explain. It’s gone both ways. But maybe there’s some silver lining there.
S24: I wonder if you could possibly give some advice about how to keep children on some kind of routine or establishing a new routine, particularly for those with special needs and who, you know, the lack of routine either change of routine now has really made it more challenging for the parents to, you know, keep them less anxious, to keep them calm during these times.
S13: Yeah, I don’t think I have any great advice about this, in part because I think it depends a lot on how much your kid values and needs routine. I will say my kids really, really, really care about having a routine. So when we sort of thought about structuring our quote unquote home school, we actually sat down with them and sort of like did a schedule and we put some stuff that they like, like P.E.. You know, there’s of course, it doesn’t look like a tool, but we said, OK, there’s like a PE period. That’s the physical education time. And here’s what we’re gonna do in that time. And there’s a recess period trying to like have some of those touchpoints that are going to make them feel like, OK, that’s part of my normal routine. Now, it’s going to be part of this routine can be helpful.
S14: But this is sort of so specific to what your kids are like and what you know, what is possible inside your family structure.
S20: Yeah. I’ve also heard a lot of parents talking about screen time and how it’s, you know, impossible to manage a kids screen time during this time. And maybe you don’t even want to because like anything that can keep them occupied is absolutely fine. I know you’ve written about screen time. What would you tell parents who are sort of not sure whether they should be concerned at this point about how much time their kid is spending on their i-Pad or in front of the TV? Give yourself.
S13: I mean, I think this is of all like I generally think people are way too crazy about, you know, avoiding screen time. Our evidence isn’t particularly compelling to suggest that it’s bad. But I also think the main thing is like sometimes screen time is something you need in order to like function as a person and if you need to get an hour of work done because otherwise you are going to be just totally crazy. It is much better to get that hour of work done while your kids are watching TV or doing some app. And then later. You can, you know, be a better parent and a more engaged person. I think that’s the biggest thing I would say, Joe.
S15: And if it’s any consolation to listeners, all I did was watch TV as a kid.
S21: I ended up at Brown University and already analyst Marcia Your Crown.
S20: And if you watch a lot of TV, you think, well, thank you so much, Emily. It was so great to talk to you. And I really enjoyed reading everything that you’ve been writing on this topic. Thank you so much for your work and thanks for joining us. Thank you for having me.
S5: Okay. Mrs. America, it’s an ethics mini series that premieres April 15th. June, tell us about it.
S9: So Mrs. America is, as you said, Christina. A new show from Ethics on Hulu is actually the first of the SFX shows. They’ll premiere on Hulu. And it’s about the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment in the 70s starts in 1972 when a Catholic Republican woman from Illinois learns about the NRA. She’s a nuclear weapons sort of Cold War hawk. But when it looks like her expertise is finally going to be recognized in Washington, she inevitably finds herself assigned to taking notes, even when she knows more than the men in the room. And so she pivots to the IRS. She organizes a group of women into an organization called Stop NRA. Amazingly, the stop stands for. Stop taking our privileges. Talk about good self-image, which later becomes the Eagle Forum. She is, of course, Phyllis Schlafly. And she’s played beautifully, I think, by Cate Blanchett. She’s just one of this amazingly high wattage cast. On the other side of the issue, the pro i._r._a forces. We have Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, the Republican, Joe Rekkles House. And they’re played by respectively, Rose Byrne, Margo Martindale, Tracey Ullman, Uzo Aduba and Elizabeth Banks. And they’re also like stars in small roles that even after you watch all nine episodes, you can’t quite remember the name of like Melanie Lynskey. I don’t know her name, but you know, a great role. But like in the normal show, she’d be the Star or Niecy Nash. Niecy Nash, who plays Flo Kennedy, which is, you know, a good role. But like, she’s going to Big Ten lines and she’s great, but like, it’s just really star studded. The show creator slash showrunner is Davi Waller, who was on the writing team of Mad Men. So she knows from period pieces. I guess the big stops on the show’s coverage are, as you say, the star of the NRA campaign and the anti-r_s_i_ campaign. The founding of Ms. Magazine, Shirley Chiz Holmes presidential campaign, the 1977 National Women’s Conference in Houston, Jimmy Carter’s Commission on Women. And finally, Ronald Reagan’s election. It’s funny, this show doesn’t start to the 15th. It’s kind of right between our episodes. So we are a tiny bit early, but we didn’t want to be late. It’s a tough show to talk about in a way like when we would talk, you know, is this the right week with like, well, we’ll might have to be a bit careful, you know, because nobody will have seen it. But obviously, people know what happens. People know what happened with the NRA, with the women’s movement in the 70s. I still love the show. I’ve been really I guess one of my SO of aspects of foreign team fever has been just not having much attention span. Like I’ve really not been reading. I’ve really not been watching television much watching it. Sure. But not really being into it. And I was just so into this.
S25: I didn’t love everything about it. I have some Carville’s which we can get to later. But it felt like a breath of fresh air to be covering a subject that I was really interested in and that I really cared about. And also, it had that great thing that I associate now with Slow Burn, which is they’re very much talking about the stuff that happened then. It’s historically accurate, but all the time you’re kind of seeing echoes of what’s happening right now. They’re smart enough not to overemphasize those. But actually, let’s hear if there’s a speech that Gloria Steinem makes. And she’s talking about then. But, boy, it sure sounds like no. Let’s hear from Gloria Steinem. I sit alongside the greatest women of my generation.
S26: So today we select our leaders first by eliminating women and minorities and those with too little education. Changing this will take a very long time. After all, we are dealing with 10000 years of patriarchy and racism that we must continue to move forward in waves. What will keep us going is the revelation of what we can be, what the people around us can be without the crippling walls and prisons into which we have forced.
S27: We are just beginning to discover each of us who we can be and no matter how long this revolution may take.
S28: There can be no turning back.
S9: Marcia, as our resident historian, what did you think of the show?
S15: So I also have struggled with attention span in recent events, so I enjoyed watching some of the early episodes of it. I have a very hard time with historical fiction because it is often written so heavy handedly. The subtlety of people’s political choices, why they organize, why they come to things is really hard to capture. I think that this series did a pretty good job of trying to signal in the background the complexity of this moment in which you have the challenges of coalition building on both sides of the issue. So it is no coincidence the ways that the black housekeeper function for the a.r a ladies and how they allow them to perform, you know, kind of perfect motherhood and, you know, being perfect wives while doing a lot of the domestic work on the E.R., a coalition building.
S29: I think what they did do a good job is highlighting the tensions between Shirley Chisholm and Gloria Steinem over the issue of Gloria Steinem, support of her candidacy for president, as well as the ways that Shirley Chisholm, she really was dealing with, you know, that classic bind of race and gender and trying to make a case for her running for president, not as just a symbol, but actually because she believed that she could run for president.
S9: So Aduba has an amazing speech after Shirley Chisholm has not gotten what she wanted and what she deserved at the convention. Let’s hear a little bit of it.
S30: Whoever controls the phones controls the floor. You never had a chance, even if it is a sham. If our female pick makes a strong showing, it sets the stage for seventy or 80. You’re our first choice.
S31: I’m not interested in another run that’s viewed as symbolic.
S32: A governor will choose Thomas Eagleton as he has always wanted to do all along.
S31: He won’t mention abortion on the campaign trail or gay rights or the Equal Rights Amendment or anything that maps twice.
S32: He put on a good show. But don’t mistake that for real political power. Power concedes nothing.
S31: If we don’t demand true equality, we are always going to be thanking the man for a few crumbs from the pie, treating women for an empty promise.
S29: This is so hard to watch in light of recent events of the primary. And thinking about Elizabeth Warren’s reception and all of the different kind of coalitional questions about how do you make women’s competence legible as well as women’s rights. And so I think it was pretty good. I mean, some of it impressions are really hard, like Tracey Ullman, as Betty for Dan is excellent. She’s just always really good. Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem. I think she’s doing a really good Gloria Steinem impression.
S33: But I think for some of tast, they are in an unfortunate position where they are playing women who were in the press constantly for me. I have such a clear sense of how they talk and how they carry themselves that sometimes it’s hard.
S34: But for people who aren’t familiar with this history, I do think this is a good introduction in thinking about not just feminist politics, but the complexity that conservative women also brought to this question.
S18: Yeah, I really didn’t want to watch this, but I knew I would have to because of this podcast.
S19: I believe the reason I didn’t want to watch it is just because I know how it ends.
S12: I didn’t want to watch Schlafly succeed. I didn’t want to watch that Yaari fail. And I didn’t want to watch, too, Cate Blanchett’s credit that she makes me feel the same kind of rage that I feel when I watch this footage. Lastly, you know, she’s so smug in general. I don’t love watching historical series where I know it ends terribly. But what I do want out of a historical drama with real historical characters is to learn things that I didn’t know before or for that history to be made more vital and real to me. And this succeeded on some levels for me in that respect, especially when it came to the Shirley Chisholm plotline, like I think in my formal education. Shirley Chisholm, if she was mentioned at all, she was mentioned sort of as a technicality, like, oh, yeah, there was a woman who ran for president in the past, but like it was a candidacy that went anywhere. This series did a really good job capturing the loneliness of being Shirley Chisholm in that moment, both as a black woman in the feminist movement and also being a presidential candidate, trying to get the support of the Congressional Black Caucus and of other progressives in her own movement. You know, one of the few moments in this series that really tugged at my heartstrings and may have even tugged a tear out of my eye was at the 1972 Democratic National Convention when, you know, all of the women who were either supporting Shirley Chisholm or, you know, found it hard to support her because they wanted a woman for president but didn’t think she was going to win. Finally see her on stage with all of the white men who run for president. And it surprises them. I think the power of that moment of seeing somebody who had the courage to run in a long shot race but actually stick it out. That struck me as very powerful, too. I don’t think I knew enough about Shirley Chisholm’s candidacy to have that feeling about it. But I think this series is trying to do a little too much. It really collapses the timeline of all of these important events in the feminist movement and of all of the different timelines of what happens with all of the characters. Betty Friedan calling lesbians the Lavender Menace, the founding of the National Black Feminist Organization. And these rifts within the feminist movement or these different fractures within the coalition that they’re trying to build are fascinating to me. But I think I know a lot about them. And they were just sort of sketched out in like their broadest form. So I found it kind of boring. I wish that the series would have maybe done a little bit less and focused on either Schlafly or Shirley Chisholm instead of trying to do both. Although I think it was a little bit clarifying to see the similarities between the feminist movement and the anti feminist movement. But I didn’t get as much as I wanted out of either of them. Nicole, what did you think?
S8: I can really appreciate the cast and the writing and this idea that we need to see all sides of a story, but I found myself just really uninterested in this villain’s origin story. It didn’t connect with me in the same way that maybe it did for everyone else.
S35: I found that it was funnier than I expected it to be.
S8: And I thought that the comedy kind of made it all a little too cutesy at times. And I was concerned about that. I understand that Shaffi wanted to be taken seriously and it is like there’s no better way to be taken seriously in a man’s world than to malign other women. And so she kind of like went there. I don’t know. I just was really uninterested in her story. And I thought that the parallels to present day were not as subtle as perhaps the writers thought they were in the way that a lot of people now are joking. And I hope no one’s working on their pandemic novel. I hope no one’s working on their pandemic play. I felt like I’m still too much in this moment of what’s happened with women who have tried to run for presidency in the last couple of elections that I don’t want to see the historical take showing that we’re just going to keep repeating history.
S36: And it doesn’t really make me feel bad.
S8: I’m just not in the headspace for it. But I did like the little details of like Steinem’s wearing her glasses on her hair and those things like that. I really appreciate it that, you know, at first I thought this is a little too cosplayers because I felt like I get their costumes were sitting on them. But then as it went on and they started to actually become more of the people that they were portraying, I felt better about the styling and the makeup and things like that.
S33: The one intervention that I appreciate about this film is that it showed how a movement building happened before, like social media technology. And I think that if I were to assign this to a class, I would probably show the snippets where as Phyllis Schlafly is building her movement, they are like, you know, using index cards and using the mail and newsletters and phone trees and meeting in person like how do movements get off the ground without technologies? How do you get a message out? And my favorite scene is when she goes on Phil Donahue Show. And I remember watching Donahue after school. And that was such an important talk show for man for people to, you know, test out ideas.
S29: And, you know, he says, like, did you fact check any of this information? And she’s kind of like, yeah, I know it’s bullshit, too, but you gotta you know, you’ve got to play for TV.
S33: And this idea of using afternoon daytime television to reach women who are home and to reach audiences with provocative topics.
S15: Those are those little moments in the film that I thought were so thoughtfully written.
S23: Then you have to kind of go to the like. We’re going to make a point about gender.
S34: We’re gonna make a point about sexism in its durability. But I think the stuff that was really based on the limitations of the particular era are the parts where it really shined.
S29: And the only other thing I love, the fact that in the presentation of the E.R., initially we learned that it wasn’t as controversial as we probably would have imagined it to have been, that the kind of socially progressive legislation that seems impossible to imagine today could have actually gotten bipartisan support in the past.
S37: And it shows this kind of turning.
S33: And I think it is on purpose that the film ends in Reagan, because the whole lead up to Reagan is this type of dramatic politics that takes somewhat innocuous gestures politically and it makes them the worst possible thing that happens. And it really shows how Phyllis Schlafly was at the center of that political strategy.
S12: Yeah. And it also shows how all it takes is one person willing to sort of be the figurehead for a movement as a way to insert themselves into the political conversation like the way it’s portrayed in the series. And I’m not entirely sure how accurate this is, but they make it out to be like men wouldn’t listen to her otherwise, like she was trying to be taken seriously in this conversation about an arms treaty. And, you know, they just ask her to take notes instead of actually contributing to the conversation, but then they actually start listening to her when she decides to be the one to bash the i._r._a. And so she sees it as a way to get women to actually come out and vote these, you know, quote unquote, housewives who just sit at home walking around who could actually be Republican voters if they get them out to the polls. I mean, I see parallels there, too, in the way people think about those daytime talk shows today. Marcia, I was just talking to somebody the other day, a PR representative. Client was trying to get on a nighttime talk show and sort of didn’t grasp the power of the daytime talk show, which also is sort of underselling women’s political power.
S9: I really like the show. I have two big complaints. The first is that which is crazy because needless to say, I am on the side of the NRA. But I did think that the way that they presented Schlafly’s motivation and maybe even the motivation of the other women who supported her was too determined. I think in journalistic pieces, in TV shows are movies, we always have to find the motivation for the person. And ultimately she’s presented as something of an opportunist, somebody who was a brilliant woman who was not getting her do because of her gender. So she made this decision to put herself more forward, not because of beliefs, but because she wanted something that don’t suggest that she didn’t really believe it. But, you know, she’s calculating. You know, I just don’t believe that. I don’t buy that. You don’t believe that she was calculating? Oh, she was calculating. She was a politician, you know, and I think that’s another message of the show effectively that like politics is about calculation. It’s about compromise. It’s about making shitty deals sometimes. But I don’t believe that she was simply motivated by doing all this because she wanted something. And because when she didn’t get that thing, she still carried on being an activist for years. She wanted power. I think she wanted attention. But I think she genuinely believed what she said. You know, a lot as we see the feminists saying, oh, she’s a puppet of men. You know, she’s doing men’s bidding. And she wasn’t she wasn’t doing men’s bidding. She was getting men to do things for her effectively. She was a believer. She was a believer just the way that the NRA people were believers. That’s a hard message to give, because I certainly don’t want to see a super sympathetic portrayal of Phyllis Schlafly and what effectively became the beginnings of the radical right. But so a little bit condescending, like I believe the other side believes their position just as much as I do. I don’t think it’s weird to believe that. The other thing that I really dislike, there’s among all these real people, there’s a a made up character played by Sarah Paulson and Sarah Paulsons, an amazing actress. The character Alice is pretty well played. She seems to be there to represent oh, I’m changing my mind. I’m seeing the other side, which, like you would if your mind was open, you would see that the message that the NTIA side was giving was inaccurate. You would see that. But her role just felt very unbelievable and just kind of wishy washy to me. And there’s a there’s a sort of scene in the Houston conference with her that I just was like, can I fast forward through this? This is just ridiculous.
S12: How did you guys feel about the way and maybe you didn’t interpret it this way. So correct me if you think I’m wrong, but I felt that the show was trying to gin up a little bit of sympathy for Phyllis Schlafly as a victim of sex discrimination, especially in the first episode or two. There’s a lot of like men commenting on her good looks and telling her she should start a baking business. And she sort of rolls her eyes at them and sort of acts a little bit like she’s totally over it. And not that she’s offended, but that she disapproves a little bit of this diminishment of women, even as she ends up engaging in that herself. There’s a moment of like her husband kind of coerces her into sex when she doesn’t want to and she just sort of lies there like begrudgingly. I felt really uncomfortable with the way it was making me feel bad for Phyllis Schlafly. And again, to your point, Jane, I felt that it was trying to create a motive for her to then trying to sort of defend that housewife as a position of power, in part because she was subjected to all this sex discrimination. Did you guys get that, too? Definitely.
S8: Yeah. That’s part of the reason that I was just kind of like, I’m not buying this particularly. You know, she goes on to give this speech and it feels very much like she’s she saying, you know, I’m not like these other women. I have a husband. And it’s like, yeah. But he’s kind of bad. Like, he’s not caring.
S23: I think the strategy of trying to make her a sympathetic character is that through line of this entire series, as women are seeking power and they will try to get that power in ways that are most available to them. And that is the worst.
S38: That’s it.
S29: And so I think that, you know, this idea that there’s two paths you can take as a result of being on the receiving end of sexism and that these two groups of women are following charismatic leaders who have made conclusions about where that journey ends. And while I think that is disingenuous to see politics in that way, I do think that is often a strategy for film to get people to invest in people who have murdered other people. Who have scammed other people? You know, I think that it’s a narrative device that Hollywood is really dependent upon in order to make projects like this.
S12: I think that’s all the time we have for Mrs. America listeners. If you end up watching the show, we’d love to hear what you think, especially about what it’s like to watch in quote unquote, these times. You can e-mail us, as always, at the waves at Slate.com.
S5: This next segment we recorded just a few hours before Bernie Sanders ended his campaign for president. Joe Biden is now currently the presumptive Democratic nominee. Doesn’t change much of what we said, but just a slight change in the political context.
S12: Our final topic this week, a woman named Tara Reid recently came forward with the first public sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden. Marcia, give us a recap.
S39: So this is an interesting story because it involves an allegation from a former then Senator Biden staffer, Terry Reid, of sexual assault against the candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. And it also is a story about some of the politics of the metoo movement. So on Kitty Helper, it’s podcast. Terry Reid shared her experiences of working in Biden’s Senate office, some issues of sexual harassment, which she had talked about previously when Lucy Flores also talked about the inappropriate touching from Joe Biden.
S40: But recently, she has also talked about a sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden. And she claimed that she tried to get assistance from times at the Legal Defense Fund, which had been incredibly prominent in financing the cases against Harvey Weinstein. She was told by the National Women’s Law Center, which works with Time’s Up, that they couldn’t get involved in her case against Joe Biden because it would compromise their position as a non-profit.
S11: And their 5 or 1 C 3 status.
S40: And the response from Time’s Up was one in which they said, we believe survivors and we support people. But because Biden is running for president, this could be misinterpreted as a political advocacy act. And so therefore, we can’t help you. And so the details of this exchange have been reported on somewhat. There was also an issue that emerged on social media when Alyssa Milano, who has long affiliated herself with the Metoo movement, was participating in a one on one conversation with Joe Biden. And there was some criticism of her choice to do that in light of her affiliation with Time’s Up. And so I think that this news item gets really complicated because there hasn’t been tons of news coverage of the allegation. There’s this institutional question about time’s up and their commitments. And this is all happening with the backdrop of maybe one of the most important elections in recent memory. And so I wonder if this story will have much traction into the next few weeks as the primaries continue to be delayed in some places or continue in others.
S25: This story has been one that is hard to tackle. And as many people have pointed out, the mainstream media hasn’t given the accusations a lot of coverage. And I understand that, you know, it’s from nineteen ninety three is twenty seven years ago when Reid told the story on what was honestly a kind of an obscure some Clode podcast. You know, you have to listen online to now along. So I think just a lot of people have heard or there’s some accusations, but I doubt that very many people have really listened to the show. Reid at the time told her mother, her brother, a friend, her mother, who was the person she spoke with most about it, has since deceased. The outlet that’s given most coverage to this is the intercept, which is very much seen as a Bernie supporting outlet. Although, you know, Ryan Grim, who’s written most of the stories, is somebody who I’ve known for a long time. I respect him, but it is nevertheless very much associated with Bernie Sanders. You know, I think other issues are that well, first of all, there’s this huge story right now with the Corona virus that like is eating up the energy for everything. There’s nothing else is being covered. The fact that Joe Biden is known to be, you know, a boundary breaker and a hair sniffer, I mean, it’s not the same as the allegations or the revelations from the Graham by the posted video that didn’t cost Trump the election because he was already known to be shitty with women. It’s not on the same level with Joe Biden, but. You already know that he’s not blameless on this. And then there’s also the fact that Reid had written a piece for medium- saying really strong pro Putin things for Russia. She called Putin a compassionate, caring, visionary leader. That was in 2018. The medium post has since been pulled. But still, there’s just all these factors that complicate matters. I mean, complicated is a little bit of a weasel word, but I also think it’s accurate. It’s a very complicated story. That’s hard to get a hold on.
S9: This is Christina. And yet I know you have to go there.
S12: We’re talking about the Corona virus occupying everyone’s time. I mean, that’s been the issue for me. Like when this allegation first came out, I was spending almost all my time on a coronavirus related piece which published on Monday.
S25: Great piece. Everybody read. Thanks.
S12: And I was like, oh, I’ll get to the Joe Biden thing after. Maybe I’ll do sort of like a second look analysis of the media coverage or something. And I had people who I know. Contacting me on Instagram saying, could you write something about this? It seems like it’s not getting enough coverage. So for me, one reason why I didn’t write something and I think I imagine this is the case for many other journalists out there is just that we’re so occupied with other things right now. And, you know, we’re strapped for resources right now as news outlets, not just because there’s this enormous story happening, but because people are trying to manage childcare and family care. So we’re a little bit more short staffed than usual. But the other thing I feel very important when I try to grapple with this allegation in large part because I don’t know what we want to happen.
S18: There’s no real established protocol for this, even if we all believe Tara need to convince the DNC to take action and stop Joe Biden’s nomination. More to ask people to support a different candidate in the primary. It’s borderline impossible at this point. It would be very hard to change the course of his nomination in a way that’s Democratic. And I’m not really sure what the standard of proof should be to divert that momentum around Joe Biden. But more so, I think that even in the primaries that have already been held or the primaries to come. I don’t think Biden supporters would vote differently given this information. I mean, when I think about Biden voters, I divide them into a couple of groups.
S12: There are people who think Biden would be the best chance to beat Trump. And I think we must be Trump at all costs. There are people who are political moderates and want a moderate candidate. There are people who are drawn to his old school, traditional sort of small C conservative takes on social issues. There are people who are very emotionally attached to him as a character and love him from his Obama association. And there are people who think the Trump era is just an unhappy accident and not indicative of any sort of urgent structural problems. Not that those are mutually exclusive categories. They obviously overlap. But I don’t think that those populations are highly represented in, you know, the foot soldiers of the metoo movement, the feminists, the people who are advocating for an overhaul of gendered power structures. The people who mobilized against Brett Kavanaugh, these people didn’t like by them to begin with.
S18: By and large, they’ve you know, we’re watching how Joe Biden, even when he was beginning his run, was refusing to take full responsibility for his mistreatment of Anita Hill. They recognized his disrespect for women in all the hair sniffing and head kissing stories. The people who would be disturbed by this allegation and think it disqualifying are not the ones who got us here in the first place. So they’re not the ones that you would need to convince that he shouldn’t be president, that people whose minds you would need to change. So I think if it’s even feasible at this point to change the course of the Democratic nominating process.
S12: You would need to change the minds of the many, many people who voted for Joe Biden, and I don’t see them being swayed by this allegation.
S41: You said impotence, and that’s exactly what I’m feeling. I feel very much like there’s nothing that I can do. So much of what Joe Biden has been accused of, we kind of wanted dismiss as just your everyday dirty old man kind of stuff. But even that is never OK. We’ve just gotten used to it. And to try to push back against things that have always been creates another form of pushback. And then it just all kind of, you know, snowballs into, well, this is why I don’t vote any way, because it doesn’t really matter. And now we have this situation where people are just feeling like, well, it’s not as bad as what Trump did. So we should just don’t vote for this guy because no one can be as bad as Trump. Right?
S12: Right. So it’s like which allegations are worse? Which alleged sexual abusers? The least offensive.
S41: Right. And that’s always a terrible game to play. And I just hate that we’re in this position. I keep telling my friends I wish there was a way that all of the candidates who had to suspend their campaigns could just press play on them again.
S42: Just kind of start all over. If that was possible, I don’t even know, like how we could get to that point.
S41: Like you said, like if there’s any way to get to that point. But that’s that’s just how I feel about all of this is it’s just a very frustrating situation where, you know, all the naysayers who would like voting doesn’t matter anyway. It feels like this is all proving them right. And like, I know that that’s not right. But it feels right.
S12: And then meanwhile, you know, Trump is gearing up to suppress voter turnout. He’s advocating against allowing people to use mail in ballots for the November election, which, you know, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. So that would amount to either endangering people’s lives or preventing people from accessing the right to vote. So in the midst of all that and Joe Biden is the candidate, he is just completely failing to lead with any sort of confidence or moral clarity.
S21: He’s absent literally any kind of clarity.
S42: He’s gone silent. And then like he was unwell and several of the videos from his home. And people are just trying to act like we can’t see that he was unwell.
S12: And I like physically or mentally unwell physically.
S42: He was like in what looked like a library or something in his home.
S24: And he was having a hard time speaking in. And, you know, cause everyone was like, does he have coronavirus? Does he have Colvert 19? Because he was exhibiting some of those symptoms that we’ve come to know. But I don’t know if that was the case, that this was like right at the height of where’s Joe? I think he kind of disappeared for like five days and was not like checking in and stuff. And so then finally they released this video that a lot of people assumed was prerecorded. So a clinical wouldn’t count. I don’t know the validity of all of that, but he did look unwell to me physically. And I hesitate to comment on his mental capacities at this point.
S21: But it’s very diplomatic for Israel.
S41: I’ve been thinking more and more what will happen if the last two candidates that we have become incapacitated for whatever reason. What happens?
S38: I have nothing for you, but this is what I will say.
S15: I do think that if this does anything for us, because I don’t think it reduces predatory behavior in the workplace and I don’t think it changes the political structure, but it helps us understand the weird position organizations are in where they’re doing work that is challenging structure. But how is it interpreted as political?
S39: Because I think the sticking point about why this story can’t be folded into the metoo world I think is really, really fascinating.
S43: And I think it helps us think about some of the narratives that have emerged about, you know, vindictive women ruining men’s lives and that these organizations are just, you know, trying to do hit jobs. It’s like, well, these organizations are also under the kind of structural pressure that a lot of institutions are. I do recommend listening to the entire interview with Katie Helper because when she recounts what it was like working in his Senate office, I think a lot of the dynamics will really resonate with people about how some behavior is excused. What’s it like to be a young woman who’s politically ambitious working in Washington and the various ways that people interacted with her? I felt like was really illuminating and I think could be very helpful for folks to check in with.
S12: All right. I think that’s all the time we have for Joe Biden. Today, listeners, let us know how you’re processing this allegation and you’re one of the people who thinks the mainstream media is falling down on the job. Let us know why and what you’d like to see from the news at this point. You can e-mail us at the waves at Slate.com. All right. Now it’s time for our recommendations. Marcia, why don’t you go first?
S39: So after our conversation about Mrs. America, it made me think of my favorite documentary about Shirley Chisholm Chisholm, 72, Unbought and Unbossed from 2004. And it looks at her campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 1972. From the streets of Brooklyn to the Miami convention. And it shows that Shirley Chisholm is running for president wasn’t just about her. It was about bringing new political actors to the table. It was talking about the rights of Native Americans. It was talking about feminism and what’s really wonderful about the documentary.
S43: It shows the people that she inspired to run for office. And Congresswoman Barbara Lee is in the documentary and she often talks about Shirley Chisholm’s running for president as inspiring her career in public service. And so I think that in our very dreadful times, the energy and the excitement about a political candidate who really speaks to people who are often left behind can be very inspiring and uplifting.
S10: Well, I need to watch that scene. Martin is so good. I’m on my Shirley Chisholm High for Mrs. America. June, what do you recommend this week?
S25: So I would like to recommend a podcast. It’s from the BBC. But it is available as a podcast. You can just search for it on your favorite player. And it’s called Natalie Haines Stands Up for the classics. So Natalie Haines used to be a stand up comedian. That’s kind of the source of the title. But she’s obsessed with the ancient world, especially the Roman and Greek world. And she does shows were. So it always wins. Ladies and gentlemen, today I’m standing up for Livie or I’m standing up for Aristotle or whatever. And she kind of talks about these people from ancient history and really gives a flavour of them. And she’s very conscious, too, about talking about women, even though there’s often very little historical record from the ancient world about women. And most of the women that she talks about are effectively concubines, but there are very many different types. I will attempt to recall the Greek word because there’s many levels of sex workers in the ancient Greek world. Some of these women actually had power. And one Franey was known for her wit and for her smarts. The format is a little odd. It’s kind of a stand up show that then she kind of interrupts to do interviews with experts on this period to give more context. But it’s absolutely fascinating to me and it’s totally impossible, which has made me wish I’d paid more attention in Latin class. It’s one of the rare things that I’ve really been able to get into there just half hour shows. And he just kind of learns so much that I’m just loving it. Natalie Hinz stands up for the classics.
S8: Nicole, what do you recommend? I’m going to recommend a Web site that’s a database and it is fiction. DBE dot com and it is a fictional database.
S24: And I found this one of my followers on Twitter sent this to me because I was looking for a romance novel that read in the early 90s when I was a teen. I just knew it had the word Viking in the title.
S8: And I really I remember, you know, a lot of what happened in the book. But as you can imagine, there are thousands of romance novels with the word Viking. And I couldn’t remember the exact year, but this person sent me the link to this Web site, fiction.. D.B. dicom. You can go in and you can look for something by subjects if you know the author. And, of course, title. And so the genres are separated into subgenres. And I feel like whoever did this actually did this specifically for romances.
S42: But there’s also let’s say you’re looking for a thriller. Right. You can go in and look for if it’s a medical thriller, a legal thriller, if it’s some sort of hard-boiled detective kind of thriller, that kind of thing, you can like click all these things to help narrow down what kind of book it was and when it was. And so I did end up finding the book that I had looking. What was it called?
S21: It was simply The Viking by Margaret Moore.
S35: And I think it came out in 92. And I highly recommend this because I was able to find other romances that I read when I was a teen that stood out to me that I just haven’t been able to find.
S24: And so this is also a way that I have been supporting independent bookstores throughout the shutdown because I’ve been able to find those books. And some of them, you know, they have used copies available. So I’ve been able to find. Different romances that have been on my mind since my teenage years.
S35: So how highly recommend fiction? D.B. dicom. If you’re looking for a fictional book that has stayed on your mind forever and you can’t remember exactly the title or the author, but you remember the year and the genre or the subgenre or the age level like all these different things. Is there for you?
S6: Wow, what a great tool. Yeah, I’m going to recommend something that for me was born out of necessity. But I’d like to continue doing post pandemic and that is cutting the hair of people in your household.
S7: Oh, God, I need. That’s what I need most. I need that most. This is the one thing I know.
S10: Great privilege. Oh, my God. There’s never been a better time to invest in a set of clippers. So my partner always shaves the shaved part of my head even in healthy times. And then I just go for a professional haircut. When the long part needs cutting. But she goes and gets her haircut usually every like two or three weeks like the second, it gets a little bit too long.
S6: She is feeling like not dysphoria, but like extreme discomfort. So I watched a bunch of YouTube videos about how to do a fade. I cut her hair. It looks pretty damn good if I do say so myself.
S10: And it’s just like this is the perfect time to learn that skill because no one’s going to see you or your roommate or your kids or whatever. And kids, I think it would be a particularly good time to practice on, because if they’re young, they don’t really care anyway. So this is a great time to learn how to cut their hair. I would also recommend if you would be normally getting your haircut during this time, maybe send your normal stylist at the tip that you would normally send them, but to get through this time and to prepare yourself for any apocalyptic future.
S5: Learn to cut your hair, your friend’s hair. You know, if you are quarantined together, don’t go out of your way to see new people at this time. But yeah, it’s a lot of fun.
S25: I have to share a great tweet that I saw yesterday. Someone who I know casually on Twitter said Normally I’m pretty happy to be single, but right now I’m wishing I’d married a barber or me apparently.
S6: Now, I won’t say I’m as good as a barber, but she doesn’t look hideous. So.
S25: Mine is too long now. So I really am at the point of like I’m just gonna shit my head because it’s how. It’s too much.
S6: It’s like, oh all right, I’ll wait to see that I’m a little ways away from them, but not that far.
S10: And I should say, you know, listeners, if you do attempt a self haircut or a haircut on someone in your family, please send us photos. There’s nothing I love more than home haircut photos.
S3: All right. That’s our show for this week. Thank you to our producer, Rosemary Bellson and our production assistant, Cleo Lemon for Marcia Chaplin, Nicole Perkins and June Thomas. I’m Christina Hotaru Keith. Thanks for listening.
S44: All right. Now it’s time for our Slate Plus. Is it sexist? Segment. Nicole, what are we talking about this week?
S24: OK, so Dr. Deborah Burks is the Corona response coordinator and she has been a part of the various press conferences and giving, you know, clinical data statistics, telling us how to manage exactly what she does. Our response to Colvert, 19, and it appears that she’s kind of trying to dampen the panic. Make sure that we’re not panicking. But many top epidemiologists think she’s putting too positive of a spin on the situation and that she needs to be more serious and make sure that people are taking the rate of transmission much more seriously. So a lot of people have called her takes Rosie or deceptive. And on Twitter.
S16: CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart, who was also a former comms director, I believe, for Bill Clinton during his time at the White House. He called her a Stepford Doc.. And so people will believe that his criticism of her is sexist. And it’s kind of spiraled into more accusations of sexism. I guess the response to her and her approach to handling the way we think about coronavirus and how to stop his transmission. He also said that she had drank the Kool-Aid, which is a reference to Jonestown, though he’s just kind of saying that she is a part of the Trump cult at this point. That’s how I interpret that. So our question today is the response to Dr. Berg’s sexist when people are accusing her of being a Stepford doc?
S38: Yes, it is sexist.
S11: And she deserves a lot of criticism and. The type of criticisms that she gets for her self-presentation and her proximity to the Trump administration I think are important because she is playing in a very important role in this process. And I think that she has given the White House a lot of cover because on one hand she may clarify some medical fine points. But her contextualization of this crisis has troubled me because she often parallels this work in relationship to HIV and AIDS. And I think one of the dangerous things about that and she’s often talking about in terms of raising consciousness to make sure that there’s testing available. But for those of us who remember the early days of AIDS, the misunderstandings about how HIV is transmitted was a huge issue and a huge problem because people were saying things like, well, if you touch something, a person with HIV has, then you would get it, too. I mean, it was wildly discriminatory and really painful. And so I think that there are nine million reasons to critique her.
S37: My concern is that her presentation becomes where people begin and end instead of thinking about just the highly irresponsible ways that she has likened this crisis to past crises. And also, I think she is up against this very hard place to be one of the quote unquote, adults in the room. But I think that if she and Anthony felt she actually found other ways to get this type of information out, that wasn’t just in the White House press briefings.
S34: I think it would be well received. And so, yes, it is sexist to criticize her for that. But other critiques, I think, are very deserved.
S44: Yeah, I think there are plenty of ways to criticize her that don’t invoke the image of a Stepford wife. The fact that you replace the word wife with Doc seems pretty clear cut sexist to me. But I did want to recommend the most clarifying piece that I’ve read on Deborah Bourke’s is from The Body Pro, which is a news site that is targeted at the HIV AIDS workforce, people who are working on HIV prevention and care. It’s called Has Debra Bourke’s Crossed the Line? And it gives a lot of really good background on who she is within the HIV AIDS community. You know, the work that she’s done for decades and her expertise on this matter. And it also draws a line between criticizing her for her general ass kissing, which is really offensive to me the way she gets up there. And, you know, says Trump is so attentive to the literature on this and the data on this. He’s really an amazing analyst. It draws a line between that kind of stuff and the actual substantive misinformation that she is echoing, like on March 26 when she said there was no evidence that hospitals were facing a ventilator shortage. You know, that wasn’t true. If you were actually listening to doctors and caregivers on the front lines. So the argument that the piece basically makes or that a lot of people quoted in it make is that there has to be some degree of Trump praise. If you’re Anthony Foushee or Deborah Birks, because if you want to keep your job and you want somebody qualified like you to have that role and not have, you know, Trump fire you for not being adequately sycophantic enough, then you have to kiss his ass, but you don’t have to get up there and spout misinformation. So I think as much as it angers me when people praised Trump for things that he actually absolutely does not deserve praise for. It helped me understand, like where the criticism was coming from and why she does deserve it in so many of these instances.
S45: That’s really interesting. I haven’t read that piece, but that has been when thinking what is the number? Because, yes, the response to her is clearly gendered. But, you know, I’ve been trying to figure out, like, to what extent is she kind of being up there saying things so that she can be, as you put it, Christina, as are the people have put the idol in the room so that she can represent scientific thought sensibility. Anthony, vote, she’s being treated as a resistance hero. You know, he puts his hand on his face and, you know, let a million photographs, studded pieces bloom, whereas she has not been and I just didn’t have the background to judge if that was based on sexism or if there was an actual basis for it. And it sounds like I need to read that to find out that there is actually a basis for it, because like I just don’t know is the cost of being there and representing science, you know, just saying some awful things. Or is it voluntary? I mean, and I don’t know that we can quite know that, but I’m glad to know that someone has put in that time analyzing them.
S8: I echo what everyone else has said. I think that the criticism against her is sexist. Some of it is deserved. If this. Possible to say that sexist criticism is deserved. I just wish that people would not be afraid of pissing off the president and just tell us the truth. You know. But I do understand that it’s, you know, if you want to keep your job.
S41: There’s some things that you have to bend over a little bit. Can I give my rating?
S6: Yeah, please.
S24: OK, I am going to give this an 8.5.
S46: I took away some because I do think some of the criticism is deserved, but it’s still a ridiculous situation to refer to as a modified Stepford wife. So 8.5 Djuna.
S25: Yeah, it’s very hard to hold back the number to bring it down cause you know, I think we’ve all said some variation on the gendered response is awful. It’s a unnecessary people shouldn’t do it. I mean, at the same time, there weren’t that many mainstream people making these kind of Christians, you know, lots of idiots on Twitter, lots of non-public carping about her. But still, there is a clear gendered response to her compared with Anthony 4-G. I’m gonna give it an eight. I wish she didn’t feel it necessary to repeat some of the Trump talking points. I guess I’m just kind of hoping that she’ll keep her science hat on. I guess an8.
S5: I wish some of these people would sacrifice themselves. Yeah, I don’t know.
S44: I mean, it’s hard because I also want our response to the current virus to be vigorous and scientifically based, but I just think they’re giving Trump so much cover. I think she deserves a lot of criticism and the Stepford doc was merely one comment. So I’m gonna give it a six.
S29: I will give this a 9.9. Oh, my guy. The remaining point 1 can be used as inspiration to critique her for the really substantive reasons.
S44: I love your Varsha and our average is 8.1. Pretty sexist. Deborah Bourke’s do better. Thank you listeners for your slate plus membership. Please keep sending us your is sexist questions. We love to read them and would love even more to answer them. You can email us at the waves at slate.com.