“The Morning Show” Edition

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S1: This ad free podcast is part of your slate plus membership. Hello and welcome to the Waves for Thursday, December 19th, the morning show edition. I’m Christina Carter Ritchie, a staff writer at Slate and host of the Slate podcast Outward. I’m Marty Kaplan, a professor of history at Georgetown University.

S2: I’m Nicole Perkins, writer and co-host of First Aid Kit. And I’m June Thomas, senior managing producer of Sleep Podcast. I’m so happy we’re all gathered here today for our last show of twenty nineteen. Thank you, listeners, for staying with us through the year.

S3: We have a really good show to wrap up. Twenty nineteen. We’re gonna start with a review of the morning show, a series about a news program whose beloved longtime anchor is ousted for sexual misconduct. This is the rare TV show we’re actually reviewing pretty much at the end of the season. So hopefully a lot of you all have been watching it. Then as we wrap up the 2010s, we are going to jump back to the decade before the aughts and talk about the rise and fall of feminist blogs that defined that decade. And for our third topic, we’ll discuss women and open plan offices in what might just amount to an extended. Is it sexist to segment our open plan office sexist? Listen in to find out. Speaking of things that may or may not be sexist. Marsha, what is our Slate Plus segment this week?

S4: This week we’re asking the question, is it sexist that former President Barack Obama suggested that women are better people and therefore will make better leaders in the world? And here’s a little clip at a conversation. I don’t see it as the kind of sexism that makes me want to fully vomit, but this is the kind I’ll just gag a little.

S5: This is the kind of self-serving, benevolent sexism that is just so tired. And I think in light of recent events and the 20/20 race ahead of us, I think that the former president should use his time a little bit better.

S6: If you’re not a slate plus member yet, you should start your free two week trial by visiting Slate.com, slash the waves plus to find out if Barack Obama is sexist.

S7: All right. On to the show, our show and the morning show, a series on Apple TV. Plus, whenever that is. It premiered in November. Nicole, tell us about it.

S8: All right. So Apple TV decided to get into the streaming wars and put out some original content. And the first, I guess, major launch of that is the morning show, which stars Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell. They are news anchors. Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell play partners for 15 years anchoring a morning show. And Mitch Steves character is ousted for sexual misconduct. Jennifer Aniston plays Alex Leavey, who is trying to figure out what she’s going to do with her career now that her professional life has been severely affected by by this situation.

S9: It’s kind of like a weird all about eve situation with Reese Witherspoon coming in as Bradley Jackson as West Virginian. You know, quote unquote, conservative news reporter who comes in. You know, she’s got a twang, you know, and she is sassy. Here she is. You know, she’s 40. So she’s a little younger than Alex is. But she’s still like at this point where she should be further along in her career. But that dang attitude of ours doesn’t getting in the way she goes viral because she kind of goes off on this guy at a at a coal protest, coal mining protest. And, you know, that’s that’s kind of how we get into this story. I think this show is going to be one of my hate watches. I do not enjoy it, but I felt compelled to keep watching it. I think the writing is really bad. I think the writing does not trust that we are intelligent, mostly mature people watching this.

S8: And, you know, are familiar with these kinds of workplace dynamics that are, you know, referenced in the show. Like, you know, there are all these big, you know, rolling monologues from the women about how sexist, you know, the jobs have been and how they’ve just had to grit and bear it, which is true. But, you know, I don’t know that they give those every day, those kinds of speeches every day. So instead of trusting the audience to kind of pick that up from the behavior of people around them or to trust it, you know, the audience, his own experiences with these things is everything is spelled out in such a way that I felt almost insulted.

S10: Speaking of that type of monologue, I think we have a little clip we can play illustrating exactly what you’re talking about.

S11: I can’t wait to hear how I’m going to alienate Americans. I’m only been contending with a misogynistic world of journalism for fifteen years. I’ve only been told about thousand different ways. I’m too liberal. Too conservative. Too in between. Too much chin. You’re smiling in that. You’re too brunette. Do you want to go blonde? Where are your boobs? Would put your boobs. We want your boobs away. You’re attracting men. You’re scaring women. You know, try not to be so confrontational. Men don’t want you to be so angry. Women feel criticized. But here. No, no. You’re going to transform into the aspirational, inoffensive dream girl. Here I’m going to become the Mother Teresa at a morning news. I’m pretty sure that Mother Teresa to me wrangles day.

S12: I don’t get the show and I think I’m the target for it.

S4: Like this is supposed to be smart people, TV and humor to come out as smart. I just. It’s a little cloying, but I think, first of all, it’s very high quality. It’s very expensive. Everything looks really well done. It didn’t look like they shot it in a one bedroom apartment in West L.A. But I think I think the problem with the show is that. The actors who are in it have such iconic characters in their portfolio that I’m like, why is Rachel Green and Tracy Flick fighting and why is Michael Scott on the new? There’s something about watching this performance that felt, although there are different types of characters in the characters that these people played. There was something about it that I was distracted by other things that I liked more that these people had done, which I think is one of, I guess, the the great challenge of acting. I feel like Meryl Streep could reflect an apple, probably could afford to have her there. I just I think that the problem with trying to capture me, too, is that we are in a moment where the reporting on the metoo movement and the reporting from people like Ronan Farrow was so good that to dramatize it in this way feels like a really bad skit at like a student orientation. I think so today.

S12: What I want to defend the show. Please do so.

S6: I completely agree with everything you said. Nicole, I too found it cloying. My eyes rolled out of my head. Every single monologue that these characters put on.

S7: But and I also agree with you, Marcia, that I there’s part of me that feels like a you know, an actress like Jennifer Aniston plays a little bit of the same person every time or at least has the same mannerisms with every role that she plays.

S6: However, and I think, you know, she got a Golden Globe nomination for her role. So did Reese Witherspoon. I don’t think Reese Witherspoon deserves that at all. I honestly wish that her character was not part of the show. I I don’t like the character. I don’t like the storyline. I think it’s distracting and completely unbelievable. However, I actually liked that this dramatized a quote unquote MI2 situation. Or we can just say a sexual harassment in the workplace situation because I think people sometimes need to see things reflected back to them in art and in a fictionalised way in order to figure out how they feel about it. I also think that there has been in all this reporting, it’s been very hard for people to report on and unpack the way that sexual harassment in the workplace committed by men affects women in the workplace who who weren’t the victims of sexual harassment. So somebody like Alex Leavey, who also feels like she got the rug pulled out from under her a little bit, not only because the man who she had basically tied her career to has been ousted for sexual harassment and is jeopardizing the future of her show. But because she also feels a little bit like why did the rules change all of a sudden, like when I was coming up, this was okay. And and you didn’t sleep with your superior or maybe you did and you kind of dealt with the consequences. And and she’s also wondering, like, how how is my career going to suffer?

S10: She’s like extremely self-involved. And I think that that’s probably the case for a lot of women out there who aren’t speaking up and saying like this was unfair. And these you know, we’re giving these men short shrift because maybe they don’t feel that, but they do feel like what changed all of a sudden? Don’t women have the agency to reject somebody who approaches them for a sexual encounter? And I think the show did a good job of showing like five or six ways that sexual harassment or a sexual encounter with somebody in the workplace can play out like from the very consensual, but still a weird power dynamic that still makes things awkward and, you know, untenable for the people involved to an actual what seems like a sexual assault scenario. There is one character who, you know, we see in a flashback, Mitch, you know, sort of coercing into a sexual encounter. And she doesn’t necessarily say no, she doesn’t necessarily like push him off and scream and do all the things that like Caitlin Flanagan or a Barry Weiss would want her to do. But it’s very clear that it’s not consensual. And I think it’s really valuable to be able to see that reflected onscreen in many ways.

S13: It’s too bad for the drama that the metoo storyline. I apologize for putting it that way, but it’s it’s a nice shorthand was so obviously like taped on afterward. I mean, there’s just this weird thing where in the first five episodes, which were kind of clearly kind of made after me, two really became a big thing. You can even literally see the joint where Reese Witherspoon’s hair changes suddenly, like between the morning in the evening and then like from Episode 6 on, we’re probably back to where we were going to, you know, in most parts of it. We’re back to what was going to be the original storyline.

S6: Wait, so did they tape part of it before it was Matt Lauer? Right. Who really made them change their mind? Where the show was going.

S4: Exactly. It’s based on a book that was a Brian Stelter. Yeah, the ratings. More of news, right?

S13: Yeah, and the uncurved story, so there was some light, you know, replacing a woman because of, you know, discomfort around the staffing and especially interaction with a man, but it wasn’t around sexual harassment at all. And I agree to that. The kind of it’s just felt like a waste to have all these great comedy actors doing drama, especially when one of the things that really stood out for me was how there is so much fake laughing in the show.

S14: Like whenever they want to show, like how much they love each other, they do it by like like guys. And it’s like that’s why it’s not love and it’s just like there. And I think like, I do feel that maybe some of it was intentional that we’re supposed think like part of being part of a team in the workplace and like your work family. Because the other thing about this, it really emphasizes just the workaholism that they never see anybody except their colleagues at work. Like it’s just a lot of fake bonhomie which didn’t didn’t work for me. Like it kept pulling me out like. Is that what you have to do when you’re at the top of this profession is just fake left with your apparently work buddies, so you don’t seem to have any anything in common with.

S15: So. So that felt both wasteful and also like, well, maybe it is kind of horrible to be at the very top of this profession.

S16: I mean, I do want to point out something that I did like.

S8: I enjoy the portrayal of one of the producers, Mia, who is a black woman. And she goes to talk to Alex about Mitch. And there’s this really beautiful scene that was so elegant in the way that we find out that maybe Mia was also a victim, you know. And I thought that was really, really well done. I don’t want to spoil it too much. But anyway. So Mia goes to talk to Alex. And Alex is just like, oh, you’re fine, you’re so strong. You don’t need anything. I can’t believe it. You know, you’re gonna be OK. No, you know, you take care of everybody. You’re the strong one. And I felt that that was very reflective of a lot of black women’s experiences in the workplace in which we try to express something bad has happened. And no one wants to believe us because we are so, quote unquote, strong that we can handle anything. Are they just don’t want to. Not necessarily. Don’t want to believe is. I’ll back that up. I’ll just I’ll say that they don’t want to offer the kind of support that we need because they think that we can handle anything that comes our way. And so that I thought that was handled very well. And when we see Mitch coerce someone and she’s not able to or she does not, you know, scream and have this frantic response, I think, again, that’s another way in which the show succeeds in showing the way that sometimes people who are most vulnerable are targeted. And when I say vulnerable, like these positions where they are still important to the organization, but they are not higher level executives or things like that. So I thought the show did that very well. I will say that. And also showing the way that the people of color are pushed to the weekend morning edition, which is actually well done.

S16: Yeah. Yeah, I like that, too. It’s a show that, you know, no one’s watching on the weekend. So here where all the black and the Asian and Latino people are gonna end up. So I thought those those little things were handled very well.

S4: So I will say that I’m curious about the fact that Matt Lauer is persona non grata enough that a major production would use a Matt Lauer as a character. Right. To illustrate this, this is the morning show is one of these kind of cultural productions that I like to read about more than watch it. So I think the writing about it and the writing about the making of it I find more fascinating than the product itself. I also saw marriage story this week and it’s it was so bad also. But I like reading about it. I didn’t like watching it anyway. All of that is to say, in light of of what I learned about the protecting of sexual predators and the covering up misconduct that happens in the news sector, I wonder why Lauer is enough of a problem in this industry or there isn’t a sense that he has another opportunity to step back in that he is essentially being trolled on this level in such a large production. And I’m curious if there ever be a Harvey Weinstein exec type of production that goes after him. And so I think that some of some of the kind of writing decisions behind the scenes, I think are pretty compelling questions about how this particular dynamic in the workplace, who can be the poster child for the ultimate bad and who will still be protected in future narrations of the problem of workplace harassment and assault?

S10: Yeah, that’s a good question. It also makes me wonder about how people who. You know, we’re victimized by Matt Lauer. Watch a show like this. And would they watch a show like this and or would they feel insulted by, you know, the the pretty on the nose depiction of, you know, who this guy is and what he does? I will say it’s interesting that the show and maybe this is because of the timing of the production, like you mentioned, June. But you don’t really know exactly what he did until different instances of misconduct are revealed sort of one by one as the season goes on. And so you’re sort of left in a position probably shared by a lot of the people on the show where you don’t know the whole picture of his behavior. You know, everybody is isolated in their own little corner of their workplace and and doesn’t know the whole history of what went on. They have different opinions of him based on hearsay or based on their one friend who had an experience or based on their relationship with him. And I think it’s a very realistic depiction of the way that sort of everyone in the workplace has their own relationship to what went on. And the sort of black and white narrative that you read about from the outside is 100 percent not experienced by the people in the organization.

S13: Yeah, I’m one of the things, you know, you mentioned, Marcia, that, you know, the book that it was originally based on was about ratings, wars and the anchoring situation, but the very tough competition between the morning shows and trying to hold on to your position. And that’s kind of hinted at here. But the way that is shown is Mindy Kaling comes in and kind of represents another of the, you know, another competitive show. And he’s trying to both undermine the morning show hosts and also maybe try and recruit some others. And it’s just that she always seems to be playing it for laughs or it comes across that way. And that felt like in a show that has both extremely subtle things, like everything that involved the character Mia, who was played by Karen Pittman, I thought was handled really well. And other storylines are just done with gigantic magic Marcus in a way that just does not work. And it’s it’s just a weirdly discordant show in that way. I also just want to mention, is it odd? I mean, not odd, because we know that some of the big stories of the apologies once again metoo movement have been around the press. But, you know, yes, we’re now in kind of week eight or nine or 10, maybe even of the morning show. But just in the last couple of weeks, we’ve also had another big movie come out on this very issue, bombshell, which is also about a, you know, a sexual harassment in the media at the very top. Like, what a strange thing. And actually, Richard Jewel, another movie that is not about exclusively the press, but also has another press storyline like, you know, there are other meaty storylines.

S8: Billy Crudup, who plays Corrie Allison, an executive who kind of maneuvers everyone’s lives. And I tried to figure out what his game was the whole time because he always has this very this smirk on his face. It’s like, you know, we’re gonna fuck soon, right? You know? You know, it’s just gonna be me. And, you know, I like the way that he talks to Bradlee, particularly as is very creepy.

S16: And even though he always, like, pulls it back and it’s like, no, I’m just talking to you because I respect you, you remind me of my mother kind of thing. It’s like, no, there’s got to be something else happening here. So I you know, he was interesting. And I guess it’s just kind of he’s just reflecting those executives who get off on changing people’s lives and interrupting people’s lives.

S12: I don’t. Yeah, I like to get off on changing people’s.

S4: You know, I think it reflects that in a lot of the workplace dynamics, even when it is clearly business, there is a question of whether this woman in front of you is your daughter or your date. And it’s like it oscillates between the two because sometimes she’s talked down to because she’s considered not, as, you know, experience or not as famous as other people. And then other times, it’s because she’s, you know, perceived as this attractive woman. But one of the things about the Reese Witherspoon character that was so irritating is she’s the kind of like all lives matter, both sides type of person. This like libertarian fantasy about how we’re all doing it wrong and fine if that’s what’s important. But I think that that’s elevated and that’s not complicated or used as a way of thinking about the dangers of this type of ideological formation. And I think a lot of these press centred depictions of the press failing is also something that I think we have to be really vigilant about, because I think this is part of the trickle down effect of the kind of Trump rhetoric about media. It’s like, yeah, reporters are the words. Yeah, we’re like, yeah, they don’t get it. And so when a concern about sexual misconduct in the workplace becomes an opportunity to undermine the importance of a free press, this is when I start to say, what’s everyone up to that’s going to stick with me?

S3: Marcia Oh, God, listeners, if you’ve watched the morning show, we would love to hear what you think, especially because I’m very glad we actually had. Some pretty different ideas of whether it was good or not. I’m going to keep watching it. I think there’s one more episode in the season that is yet to be released.

S7: Our email, if you want to reach out, is the waves at Slate.com. All right. Feminist blogging.

S10: So we’ve read two recent pieces on the feminist blogosphere of the 2000s and early 2010s. One of these pieces by saraya Roberts in Jezebel was called How the Internet Killed Feminism. A headline not entirely borne out by the piece. There’s also one of The New York Times by Emma Goldberg called a farewell to Feministing in the heyday of feminist blogging. So the New York Times piece, as you could tell by the headline, was pegged to the closure of Feministing, a blog founded by Jessica Valenti and a few other women in 2004. And the piece discussed why a lot of these feminist centered publications have shut down in recent years. Among them, X.O. Jean Rookie, The Hairpin, plus some more of the sort of second wave of women’s sites broadly Leddy letter. The answer to why these places are closing down is in part that mainstream media has gotten a lot better about writing about women and feminism. Mainstream outlets are publishing pieces written from that sort of voice see and snarky feminist perspective and mainstream outlets have hired a lot of the people who’ve written and edited for those sites and started publishing things that might have previously only found a home on a feminist blog. The Jezebel piece is a little more inside baseball. It’s about the unequal returns on investment that early feminist bloggers got from their labor. There were some people associated with Feministing and Jezebel and feminist who made it into the mainstream media, got book deals, ended up making their livings on writing and editing this kind of work. Jessica Valenti is one of them. Anna Holmes, who’s been on this podcast. Amanda Marcotte, who used to write for Slate, too. And then there were other people, including many women of color, who were at the forefront of feminist blogging but didn’t get as much recognition. Women from racialicious and Reappropriate and an anonymous Chicano blogger, Brown Femi Power. So there were a lot of conflicts in the aughts about what they called profiting from people’s pain. The idea that maybe you shouldn’t be making money from that kind of feminist blogging. There were also a lot of fights about some of the blogs, failures of inclusivity and representation about their New York centric lens and about the values of journalistic analysis vs. straight up activism. I’m curious if y’all followed these blogs. I also think an interesting question for us to maybe start our discussion on is whether we should be sad that a lot of these blogs don’t exist anymore, whether there’s a hole in the marketplace of ideas that these blogs filled that the mainstream media hasn’t picked up on.

S14: Yeah, it’s a that’s a really great question. And it’s hard for me to separate like guilt that I might have had about not always having read all of these blogs, maybe, you know, and also maybe having a broader sweep of history.

S17: Just to play the age card. I worked at, you know, radical feminist publications that. Yeah, you know, actually had terrible problems with representation, but also putting a magazine twelve times a year for no money is really hard. And, you know, doesn’t get you dates. It said we didn’t when I was doing it. It’s hard to do independent media. And it’s true that these blogs that were very important have gone, but so, so much else.

S15: And that’s not to say that there weren’t important issues around their disappearance, but this is something that just happens, like the media churns and blogs. Blogs generally have disappeared.

S8: Yeah. I mean, I feel like putting a time limit on this discussion. And there’s this constraint of just the decade from 2000 to 2010, kind of maybe limited the discussion a little bit because I would have liked to see something about how Google Reader, the loss of Google Reader affected these blogs and staffing and things like that. And that was around 2012, 2013, I believe. So it falls outside of the parameters of what, you know, these articles are discussing. But I still think that that’s very relevant because that’s how I was reading some of these blogs was through Google Reader. And when Google Reader went away and I couldn’t find anything that worked as smoothly, I stopped reading them. And then I also I mean, I always kind of had a little issue with Jezebel because I didn’t like that the logo was basically a white woman. And, you know, even though they kept trying to say that it’s this is about all women. Whereas inclusive as possible. Early’s when people would like pick at them about these things. And I’m like, well, yeah, but you’ve got, you know, Jezebel logo is a white woman with red hair and I can’t see myself. Like, if I were to look for a feminist blog, I would not click on this from the logo alone. And I found it interesting that the Jezebel piece How the Internet Kill Feminism by Thoraya Roberts. A lot of the women of color mentioned had a lot of quibbles with the piece and had a lot of corrections that she needed to make.

S13: Like like Anna Holmes noting that she kinda hid the fact that Anna is a woman of color like they hate it, but really put it deep in the piece because it kind of contradicted.

S16: Exactly. And not just she said she was a woman of color. Instead of just identifying her as black, which Anna Holmes has done her whole career to try to make sure people understand I am black. You don’t have to soften my race or identity. And even like Jamilah Lemieux, who she also contributes to Slate. She’s portrayed as being between jobs when really she’s freelancing right now. So it’s not like she can’t find work. No, it’s not a 9 to 5 staff position, but that’s her choice right now.

S8: So those kinds of things were interesting to see the way that the women of color, particularly the black women, were trying to correct some of the things. And, you know, to be fair. I will say, obviously, you can’t have a 20 page article that everyone is going to read. So maybe some of those things were cut for, you know, for edit reasons or whatever. But I still think that there are a lot of things that maybe we’re missing from the discussion that were relevant and could have maybe beefed up the discussion overall.

S4: I actually went to college for magazine journalism and I’m like one of the last people who is trained in one journalistic thing because the Internet didn’t get good until after I left college. And all of this is to say, like I remember magazines and adoring magazines and reading Bust and Bitch and then thinking, oh, they put some of the articles online. Right. Like you just said, it’s a different relationship, I think, to the product. But people have been beefing for a really long time. People have been beefing on the Internet before Twitter. There has been a critique of white feminist power structures and media for a very long time. And so I think that these pieces help us understand that the tensions that are animated for a larger audience through social media channels have always been part of the kind of intellectual and activist community. And I think that historic sizing, it makes for better arguments than people are super toxic because there’s Twitter now. But with that being said, I do think that the ways that these blogs were an entry point for people to build a public platform. I think I don’t know if Twitter killed that, but Twitter made me be a more efficient way of doing it. And it also provided an opportunity for those writers to be seen by a larger audience. And the other thing this kind of question about feminist blogging makes me think about I do a lot of research about African-Americans in advertising. And in the 70s there would be these all black advertising firms that would try to get contracts with American Airlines and McDonald’s and Coca-Cola to say, like, we know the secret of marketing to African-Americans. And after a while, they did a whole bunch of ads and then the white agencies were like, okay, got it. We see how you do it. You have someone in an afro, you have a famous African-American. This is how you write the copy. And then they started to do that self themselves. Right. And so I think that this is about a cycle of not just appropriation, but I think the flattening of difference in the ways that it can be hidden through media outlets. So you aren’t quite sure who the blogger is or you don’t know who that staff writer is, but they’re using a tone and a format that feels really familiar. And so my takeaway from all of this is that it not only shows a process that has happened for a really long time, but I think there was a deep poignancy about people who are like, well, some people got book deals and the rest of us tried to figure out these new waves in journalism to try to survive. And I think that that is something that has happened for a long time. And it’s hard to see because the content that people were creating through the blogs was really helpful in bringing people closer to feminism and opening a really powerful discussions.

S10: Yeah, I’m sort of of two minds on this. So part of me acknowledges the fact that these blogs were incredibly helpful, especially to people who wanted to learn about feminism and, you know, understand the world around them through the lenses of gender and race, but maybe didn’t go to college and have a gender studies class or something. So these like sort of straight forward either, you know, didactic, a little bit seeming blogs or or just very straightforwardly activist blogs were excellent entry points to people who were just starting to learn about concepts like gender is a social construct. And, you know, Feministing in The New York Times piece, they were like, we really pop. Polarized the term slut shaming. I think that’s incredibly important work. And I wonder if they were so successful that now young people and people who who don’t go to gender studies classes now understand that and have more avenues for understanding that in its those terms are used regularly in mainstream media. And so maybe those types of blogs aren’t as necessary anymore. Anna Holmes had a tweet to the effect of, you know, some of us came at this from the perspective of journalism and some came at it from a perspective of activism. And that means we got different things out of it and took our careers in different directions. I’m paraphrasing and and apologies to Anna Holmes if I’ve gotten that tweet wrong, but that seemed to encapsulate a lot of the disparities that the Jezebel piece talked about. Where, yes, there were definitely cases where some people were getting fame and money as much as a journalist can have fame and money from their work while others weren’t. For reasons that, you know, had to do with connections that they had. And and certainly race played into it. But also some people were saying, you know, I looked down on people who were getting paid for this work and who were getting book deals from this work. And it seemed like it cheapened feminism to be making money from it and hide. Hiatt disagrees so wholeheartedly with that. Maybe because I’m a journalist and I see the value in writing about this work. But don’t you want even activist organizers? Don’t you want them to get paid for their work? Their work is valid and valuable, and I would hope that maybe well, as much as we can criticize companies who are trying to exploit feminism, make money off of it, and sort of market it in a shallow way for reasons of profit, we should be able to encourage people to get paid for their very important work.

S8: Yeah, the thing about the book deals, I noticed that even when before I was, you know, getting paid to write online, I noticed the disparity between who was being offered book deals and who was not and what kind of the subject matter of those book deals. So for a lot of these white feminists, they were getting these deals to talk about, you know, I’m an addict and that my life is terrible. And here here’s my life and here’s my dating life kind of thing. And then, you know, the black women that I was paying attention to, I didn’t see them getting those kinds of deals. And the these articles have helped me see, particularly the Jezebel article has helped me see that they were getting offered the deals. But again, it was kind of this exploitive talk about your worst trauma kind of thing. And I know that a lot of. And again, this is a generalization, but I know that a lot of black writers don’t want to have to mine personal trauma in order to, you know, rise in whatever ranks in whatever industry that they’re in. And I’ve definitely push back on that one. You know, I got into writing online through the personal essay industry. And so I did not want to always write about something miserable that happened to me and have some sort of, you know, happy ending for it or whatever. I thought that was very interesting. And I’m glad that that, you know, this piece kind of cleared that up for me. What was happening, particularly with Latoya Peterson from racialicious talking about the deals that she was offered and how she had to turn them down. So I think it’s important that we do recognize that there were some differences in how people were approached and what they were asked to write about and who who was allowed to come back after dealing with certain personal struggles. You know, there were a lot of feminist writers who left their blogging or staff jobs because of some, you know, difficulties that they were having in their personal lives.

S16: And they came back and had a book deal about how they came back, you know, how they were able to move on from those things. But, you know, when those situations happened to black women or other women of color, they weren’t giving those same kind of opportunities.

S8: So I do appreciate how these two articles, or at least the Jezebel article expose that. I made that clear for me. Absolutely.

S15: To get back to something you said earlier about Google Reader Reader and how that had such an effect on the way that people consumed this kind of more indie content. You know, the fact is that Facebook and Google generally have made such a big difference to any kind of publication, whether it’s mainstream media, whether it’s online media, whatever it is like that has made so much of a difference, even to places with large budgets and an establishment platforms and all of these things, which used to be a way of guaranteeing success. But were the formula for success that it seems strange to me, not to mention that at all in either of these pieces, because not to downplay any of these other factors and certainly appropriation and plain old discrimination play a big part in this. But also the media has changed and continues to change in part because of just. The way that these big tech companies are affecting, the way that everybody makes money, that it does seem strange, not to mention that Donia, you know, as Corey Ellison says in the morning show, we’re going to get bought up by a tech company any moment.

S6: We’ve got a change now. I actually don’t know what he said, but as you looked at his iPhone, the tech is stirring up every industry. I highly recommend reading these pieces. Readers, if only to give yourself more things to think about. And we would love to hear what you think. Are you mourning the loss of these blogs? Did you write for these blogs?

S7: Our e-mail address is the waves at Slate.com Open Plan offices. Some people think they’re sexist. Gin. What’s the deal here?

S15: Well, you know, I thought about open plan offices when I was watching the morning show. And there’s a scene where we see that Mitch Kessler, Steve Carell’s character, who is, as we’ve said, bears more than a passing relationship to Matt Lauer. We see that like Matt Lauer, he has one of those buttons in his office that allows the door to be closed kind of remotely. And this reminded me that, you know, one of the things that people say about open plan offices is that they kind of level the playing field. They’re democratizing. They kind of can minimize the number of situations in which, let’s just say men can kind of put women in uncomfortable situations, to say the least. And so there’s this feeling there have has been a feeling that the open plan office is good for women. But a couple of studies recently, one from Britain and one from New Zealand have suggested I don’t know if I would say the opposite, but have suggested that there certainly no paradise for women, that women feel surveiled. Women feel that they’re being stared at often by other people in the office, by men in the office. They feel that they are that their freedoms are limited, that they’re being judged by their appearance about, you know, the way that they’re spending their time. What they’re having for their lunch, the way they’ve done their makeup that day. And so there’s just been this this pushback on the notion of open plan offices being pro woman. What the British study found that women who work in open plan offices take more sick days than women who do not work in open plan offices. Not quite sure how that was worked out, but it kind of rings true. And so this didn’t exactly surprise me as somebody who’s been working in a open plan office for a while. I mean, I have to say that so much of what women experienced in a way comes down, not all of it by any means, because I think this notion of being surveilled is something that all open plan office workers might feel. But this behavior that’s clearly unacceptable, the staring, the sort of feeling that you’re just constantly being looked at by certain people. Some of that is about not having made clear to certain people, men, that it is not OK to stare at women just because they can see them, that they should really not be making other people in their office feel uncomfortable just because it’s easy for them to do so. So I do think that there may be astonishingly, some need. Just to clarify certain behavioral standards in open plan offices.

S18: Really? You think that there should be like an office wide e-mail? Yes. Please don’t stare at your colleague. I mean, it sounds ridiculous, but apparently men are staring and it’s like when your kids in the car stop staring at me. Yes. I don’t know.

S10: I kind of think that a man who’s staring at his female colleague would find a way to be creepy no matter if she has an office or a cubicle or works from home or what. So I would like to push back on the notion that it’s open plan offices making women uncomfortable. And I just think that, you know, this is one of those cases where the world is sexist and sexism manifests in a particular way in open plan offices, both from the way people treat women and the way women feel in that office. So so part of it is just the feeling that they’re being watched, you know, whether they are or not, you know, maybe doesn’t even matter if they feel that way. So I am not sure that it’s the open plan offices fault.

S19: I hate open plan offices with every fiber of my being.

S8: I am a fairly introverted person, so when I come to work, I don’t necessarily want to do a lot of socializing. I’m not, you know, like I understand work friends. And obviously we’re around people a lot. And, you know, we gets an establish these relationships and things like that. That’s fine. But for me, I guess as Generation X, I’ve kind of been told to just go to work. Put your head down. You’ll do your work and you’ll rise in the ranks in that kind of thing. So that’s kind of where I am. And so coming into this place where you have to be in these open plan offices where everyone wants to look at your desk to see like what, you know, your personality. I hate the pressure of that. I hate the pressure of having a cool desk.

S16: I hate. You know, and like decorating it and like having all the stuff on it, you know, because I’ve had people many people over the years when I have been in these kinds of offices or even just, you know, going into media spaces now where people will come up to my desk. Oh, you don’t have anything on? Nope. I’m just here to work. You don’t need to see my family. You know, it’s it’s okay. I’m also easily distracted. So I’m not a coffee shop person. I can’t do work in a coffee shop. So being in a place with an open plan is very distracting for me. Even with headphones. But I know I still see someone coming up behind me are still someone coming up behind me. That makes me very anxious and nerve. Is that good? Is that because of your gender? I don’t think that is because of my gender. I think I agree that it’s just kind of like a general thing. These things are problematic for many different people. You know, if they’re on the spectrum and they have issues with sensory they have sensory issues and things like that. It’s a problem. And you don’t necessarily want to ask for accommodations because then it’s kind of like, well, you know, you just got to deal with that. We don’t you know, we can’t give you a special office because you don’t have the position, you don’t have the rank or that kind of thing. Even just kind of moving away to those little corners that they give you, the little you know, if there are big couches or something like that, it’s a problem because people see you. They want to come up and ask you what you’re working on. And it’s like we’re all working it. You don’t need to know exactly what I’m working on. Those kinds of things like that irritates me and isn’t. And no, it’s not because I’m a woman and some man is doing it. Although I have had experiences where men because I am not super talkative, because I am not the awful social butterfly will come up to me and, you know, kind of forced me into conversation at my last 9 to 5 job. It was a new hire who was a man. And I was quiet. And that really bothered him. It offended him. And so he made a point to come and talk to me every day. And he wasn’t interested me in a sexual way because he was not interested in women in a sexual way. He just refused to believe that a person could not want to talk to him. And that annoys me.

S8: And I have found that happens in a lot of the offices that I have worked in, that the idea that somebody is not trying to they go around and talk to everyone, that is someone is just trying to be quiet and do her work is so offensive to them.

S16: And I think that we all need to like examine why quiet people bother everyone so much. Why is it? I mean, you know, the way that people like, oh, he’s quiet, therefore he’s going to do some harm to, you know, or she’s quiet, therefore, she’s going to do some harm to us. No, I’m just here to do my job. Let me do my job and then we can go about our business. But I also do see that my health issues, I have a compromised immune system. So I definitely take more sick days because people come to work because we are told. You know. Yes. Stay at home when you’re sick. But also, we really need you to come in and do your you do your work. So that kind of thing messes with me. And I end up having to stay home. I get sick longer than other people tend to do. So those kinds of issues all play into why I hate my open office plant. And so I’m sorry, that was a really long rant, but it was just like annoying.

S4: So I have similar like deep state feelings about open office plants, but I think at the heart of a lot of this conversation about comfort and gender in the workplace is that essentially each and every one of us, if we are in a workplace with other people, we bring, I believe, the dynamics of our family systems into the workplace. We vomited all over the place and then it becomes a terrible place to be. And so I think that what has happened with the open office space is a reflection of the degradation of the workplace. No more private offices, no more. There’s some college campuses that you don’t even have a landline anymore because a as a cost saving measure. So everyone is using their cell phones. And so what does that mean? That means the mix between business and personal comes together. But on the other hand, part of the challenge of the open office plan is that the parts of your day where you need to do personal business on company time becomes very challenging. And so one of the reasons why I’ve always kind of embraced being in a position where I have some flexibility as an academic is the idea of talking to a manager about having to go to the gynecologist and have time off. I just find that so upsetting, like a fundamental core to explain to another person why a health need has to be met. Why a friend being sick is something that is worthy of my time. And so I think that the open off. His plan, when it was initially kind of brought in to public view, it was this idea of being innovative and synergistic and working, and there’s a way that I think a lot of the bells and whistles of the tech industry, it’s like free lunch and ping pong and happy hours.

S5: All of this stuff, it orient us towards our workplace in ways that I think can undermine professionalism by suggesting that if work were more fun or if work looked cool, then work wouldn’t be so devastating in the ways that it can be.

S12: I tell you, it’s healthy to think that work can be done and maybe that’s healthy, right?

S20: Because part of this conversation an open office faces is, is the suggestion that it reduces sexual harassment and workplace inappropriate behaviors because everyone is watching. But one of the things that I think is important to understand that harassment and boundary violations happen in a number of ways throughout the workday. So it can happen in the break room in an office where everyone has a private office. It can happen after hours because someone you work with has your cell phone because you don’t have a landline. Right.

S4: It can happen in over text overtax. Yeah, absolutely. Over email forwards. And so I like messages. Slate such is not among us. But I think all of this is to say that this idea that every space is your workspace, your favorite coffee shop, the subway, your house is something about the nature of capitalism and what it’s doing to us. And we know that when there’s capitalism, patriarchy is not far behind.

S13: Oh, Marcia, you’re always on.

S12: I’m just going to quickly defend open plan offices.

S18: I actually can’t think of another kind of office. First of all, does a cubicle farm count because there have always been cubicles, right? I think that’s not an issue. Not that you’re seen as a younger generation. Young.

S15: Exactly. To know to have been in an office.

S6: That’s not where I’m very often. Yeah. My God, I have never been in one like that. But I I do know in our previous Slate office, when I was first hired to come here, there were some offices, some, you know, and higher up, Ed would have their own office. A couple offices were shared by maybe two staff writers. And so I came in as a new staff writer and noticed that I was one of the few staff writers who didn’t have an office to sit in. And that felt like, oh, I’m a little bit less important here. And when we moved to a system where everybody was out in the open, including, you know, our D.C. bureau chief and the higher up EDS, it made me a little bit less resentful. To be perfectly honest, I was like, oh, we all have to bear the annoyances of the open plan office, not just some of us. They also make me feel less lonely because I am prone to probably the exact opposite of Unical, where, you know, I also don’t like being interrupted in the middle of working. But I also feel very lonely if I’m just like shut up in a hermetically sealed bubble to do my work. And some of the in the pieces we write about these studies, you know, the researchers said things like, you know, to make an open office plan amenable to women, give women the opportunity to work with their backs against the wall and placed women outside of the thoroughfares that they’ll need to walk through to go to the bathroom, because some women are like, oh, I devised special routes to get to the bathroom where I wouldn’t have to walk by certain people. I think that’s absolutely ridiculous. Nobody likes to be working where everyone can see their computer screen. Nobody likes to have to walk past annoying people on the way to the bathroom. And maybe women are more vulnerable to sexual harassment. We know that they are. But again, I feel like these are things that are are common to everybody. Are not specific to women. And I think people have always strategized different routes to walk to the bathroom based on who they would see or who they didn’t want to have to hear what they’re carrying. Yeah. Yes, definitely. Bosses have always been able to tell who’s at their desk or not. You know, there’s nothing to stop somebody from coming by your office to see if you’re there or to chat with you. And then you’re really cornered because you’re in a room alone. And and honestly, I think in our open plan office, it makes people less likely to talk to each other because it’s so quiet.

S4: So nobody wants to come over and talk about and how in journalism. I’ve worked in a newsroom before. It’s like you just hear everyone’s phone call.

S15: Now, you know, the answer to that now is, is the sort of private phone booth, slash moon booth, you know, so people actually are in silence. And that’s where I appreciate your pushback. Christina, because I agree. Like, it’s funny, though, one of the the analogies that was given by proponents and even the designer of open plan offices was the nude beach, which some people then said, come on, that’s the worst analogy.

S14: But actually, I disagree. I mean, I’ve not been on a nude beach, so I’ve been on many topless b10. It’s true that you don’t look in the same way because like everybody’s got their things. And so it’s like you’re it is a little less judgy because, you know, well, yes, you can see mine, but I can see yours too.

S6: And so the analogy is the naked breast is like an exposed computer screen where you still see it. Somebody is like browsing made wild or something.

S13: I would also say that like the modern, this is not so much but open plan because, yes, if you happen to have had an office in the old days, you could make whatever phone calls you wanted with the door closed. But since those days have passed for almost everyone like the fact that we now do have cell phones means that you can either go to a, you know, a phone booth if you happen to have those in your office or just step outside. And yeah, that’s a drag. But at least that’s now a possibility. And with a few years ago, like you were stuck with that landline yet to take the phone call on your desk and what maybe go out and use a phone box? No, like. So it’s not all bad.

S3: Well, there’s clearly a lot of issues at play here that go far past gender listeners. Do you work in an open office plan? Do you hate it? Do you love it? Please tell us. Our email address is the waves at Slate.com. All right. It’s time for our recommendations. Nicole, let’s start with you.

S9: Oh, OK. So I would like to recommend a movie called Fast Color. It came out in 2018 and it is about a family of women with superpowers. It stars Google, Mbatha-Raw and Laraine to sort. And it is just really, really good. And it did not get the type of press that it needed when it came out. But it’s currently streaming on Amazon Prime. So if you have that, watch it. It’s incredible. It’s it’s just really good. Google plays this woman named Ruth, who is her powers create natural disasters and someone is, you know, trying to capture her, to study her and, you know, that kind of thing. And then it turns out that her daughter has powers and her mother, who is Laraine, has powers. And they’re all like, it’s so good that fast color streaming on Amazon Prime. Watch it.

S6: Were you inspired to watch this because goo-goo Matara is in the morning show?

S8: No, no, no. I heard about it from, you know, last year when it came out. And a lot of people were like, no, we should be talking about this. This is a superhero movie. Why is no one talking about this? So as soon as it came out on Prime, I watched it and I am in love with it. And it’s about to be a TV series that Viola Davis and her company is producing. So it’s going to be part of Amazon Studios. So make sure you watch the movie and then watch this series when it comes out. June, what did you bring?

S15: So it’s December, which means that on YouTube there are lots of videos of people who do scrapbooking, which I know can seem like the most uncool thing you’ve ever heard of. But he’s actually just about documenting our lives, doing this thing called dec- Daily, which was invented by this entrepreneur and scrapbook or memory keeper Ali Edwards. But I really even though I don’t do this project, I really like watching people’s videos that they make, because it truly is a really interesting way of seeing how people’s ordinary lives are lived, many of which are different from mine, some of which are quite similar. But for example, I’m going to recommend three people who are doing these videos. So one is a channel called a/c Ruth Makes she’s an Australian lesbian, lives in Melbourne, has a son and a partner on my wife. And she talks a lot about like what their life is like. What’s it like having a six year old or maybe he’s seven? No, they do a lot of chosen family gatherings.

S17: And it’s just really interesting to see, you know, certainly non-religious people and very, very, you know, politically conscious people gathering and enjoying each other in. In December, another person I highly recommend watching is a young woman from Brooklyn called to Shaniya Gordon, who actually we often end up kind of doing things in similar places, like on the first day she went to Target.

S15: And on that afternoon I was in that same building going to see a movie I was seeing Frozen, to which she then saw like a few days later again, she she just graduated from nursing school in Brooklyn. And then Allie Edwards, who invented the whole thing, she’s off in Eugene, Oregon. She has five kids in a in a blended family. And again, like it’s just especially maybe if because I live in New York, where we don’t go into other people’s houses, much because our houses, at least speaking for myself, are so crowded and not necessarily presentable. Like you just don’t see other people’s lives unless you’re really close with them. And I just really enjoy. I don’t know, maybe it’s eavesdropping on people, but I like what they share and I find it fascinating.

S3: You’ve almost convinced me, Jan. It sounds really, really interesting, Marcia. What do you have?

S4: I recommend the podcast based on the run for a book, Catch and Kill, one of the things that we had asked him about when he was on the show. And one of the things I was curious about was how he could recall what was happening during the the whole dust up at NBC News. Well, he recorded himself and his producing partner throughout the process. And so in the podcast, you hear them reflect. On these weird meetings are having, which will lead up to the whole cover up of the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct story. And so he reflects on the process of doing the reporting. He interviews some of the folks who appear in the book, like The Spy who followed him and some of the survivors who came forward. But you also hear in real time his process of trying to discern what exactly is happening when he gets resistance to reporting the story. So I highly recommend it. I think we’re there on episode four. And if you enjoyed the book, you’ll enjoy the podcast. And if you enjoy the podcast, then you’ll read the book as it also called Catch and Kill.

S19: Yes. It’s also called Catch and Kill.

S3: What excellent foresight. He had to record.

S12: That’s going to be your recording, everyone, from now on. I can’t wait to hear your reflection leaving this podcast to Ricardo.

S6: All right. I am going to recommend a seasonal offering, my favorite Christmas album. It’s by Hansen and it’s called Snowed. And it was released in 1997, just about six months after their smash debut, Middle of Nowhere, which included the hit single MMMBop. I’m so amazed that they were able to record a holiday album so quickly. I think they were like, oh, shit, this this like trio of brothers from Oklahoma.

S18: I think they’re like seem like they might be Christian, but like, not really. That’s not like their whole shtick.

S6: They would do bonkers on the Christmas album. And I’ve got to say, I look forward to listening to it every year. I haven’t listened to it yet this season. I save it for the car ride to go visit my family because I have very specific memories of listening to it with my sister in the car when like I was a tween, she was a teen. We would fight like hell driving from New Hampshire to New Jersey. But when Hanson got popped into the c_d_ player, all the tension just melted away. I have never seen you so joyful the entire time as well. My secret is that I’m usually really corny about it.

S1: Again, snowed in by Hanson. Give it a listen. I would love to hear what you think. All right. That’s our show for today. Thank you. To Katya, to Cova, who produced this Episode 2, Rachel Allen, our production assistant, and Rosemary Bellson, who also provided production assistance for this episode. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. We’ll be back January 2nd for Marcia Chatillon, Nicole Perkins and June Thomas. I’m Christina kotto Rugy. Thanks for listening.

S3: It is now time for our slate plus. Is it sexist? Segment. Marcia, what are we talking about today?

S20: Former President Barack Obama was in Singapore last week and he had an opportunity to address a group about the topics that a former president talks about, leadership, the world. And he was quoted as saying, now, women, I just want you to know you are not perfect. But what I can say pretty indisputably is that you’re better than us, meaning men. And he went on to say, I’m absolutely confident that for two years, if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything. Living standards and outcomes. Is it sexist for the former president of the United States to suggest that women are just better and therefore will become better leaders in the future?

S3: Well, I think it’s sexist that he said women aren’t perfect and just so wrong, you know?

S7: I mean, yes, I think this is incredibly sexist and condescending.

S10: And I mean, had he said women leaders are more likely to be progressive, more likely to pursue policies that make the lives of women and families better like I I would applaud that. But also the reason why those things are true is in part because women’s identities and bodies are politicized, are feared, are legislated about. And, you know, it’s certainly not true across the board. You know, if you look at the women who have achieved leadership like higher leadership positions, executive leadership positions across the world, it’s not true that women are better than men. And I think women need to be allowed to be as mediocre and fallible as men in order to achieve equality. And also, you know, Obama’s I think I’ve talked about this on the show and Michelle Obama’s memoir becoming I think he came across as not the best partner and dad. And so I am more likely to interpret his statements about women through the lens of sexism than I think I was previously. You know, and we can, of course, remember that he called Kamala Harris the best looking attorney general in America. You know, diminishing a woman in leadership. Yeah, I think he was being sexist.

S8: I agree. I think he’s being sexist, particularly since he didn’t really have that many women, you know, in positions when he was in office. Certainly not in his first year. Yeah. And also, it’s sexist because it doesn’t matter. You know, if it’s a woman, if the woman still subscribes to certain patriarchal beliefs or whatever. It’s still going to be a problem. And I’m thinking of like the c._e._o.’s for a way and thinks and you know, you know, these startups that have women leadership. And they’re still, you know, problems. They’re still kind of miserable experiences working for these people. So just because as a woman in the leadership role doesn’t mean everything’s going to be hunky dory. I think it’s also it reminds me of this aspect of feminism where certain people like you can’t criticize women at all. You know, we have to have this woman’s solidarity.

S16: No. If you’re a bad person in the leadership role, you’re a bad person regardless of your gender. So, yes, it was sexist. And, you know, I like Obama kind of you know, he you know, like I mean, you prefer Trump, right?

S12: No. I mean, I like him.

S16: But I also recognize that he is a very flawed personal path and he was a flawed leader. But I also like the he’s a corny dad. You know, that kind of thing.

S8: But he tries to make everything, you know, kind of this jokey, corny. I’m on your side kind of thinking. But he ends up revealing that he’s actually you know, he still has some outdated beliefs as well.

S15: Yeah. As someone who grew up in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, I’m pretty certain that women leaders are not all sunshine and light. But I have to say, I mean, I agree with everything that everyone has said thus far. However, let’s give him a bit of credit for like, yeah, it was condescending, it was sexist, it was gendered. But, you know, he was trying to like provoke people to thinking to just considering the fact that, you know, well, it’s really not good to have so few women involved at the very top levels of leadership, whether of nations or companies or anything. So like what he was you know, what he was trying to communicate was clearly a very good and important thing. It’s just, you know, his, as you say, is kind of dad way of doing it was, you know, supposed to be cute and really kind of wasn’t the only thing I will say about this comment.

S4: It’s a kind of like self-serving, good guy kind of rhetoric that I think we’re all familiar with in which expressing that one is not threatened by powerful women or one kind of supports women and. It’s really vague way is important, but one of the things that I think President Obama missed in this opportunity, because he is a smart person, is an opportunity to say when women are given the opportunity to lead, they’re usually better than us men because sexism requires women to be incredibly good at whatever they have in front of them. And I think that’s a reality that probably puts us in a position where women could become better leaders. I think then that shows kind of some nuance in some levels, because when people go to these speeches, first of all, he gets a ton of money for these speeches. Right. They are hanging on every word. And so while it might seem like corny, dad, like, oh, I’m just trying to be a good dude about this. This is actually kind of important because I think that the platform he has and the opportunity to open up some thoughtful conversation is something that’s pretty serious. And the fact that this is a quote that gets picked up from this talk is also really serious. And so I think that he often has an opportunity, if he is very serious about this idea of women’s leadership, to actually say really substantial things about women’s leadership. And he failed to do it. So I don’t see it as the kind of sexism that makes me want to fully vomit.

S5: But this is the kind of just gag a little bit is the kind of self-serving, benevolent sexism that is just so tired. And I think in light of recent events and the 20/20 race ahead of us, I think that the former president should use his time a little bit better.

S10: I also think this opens him up to sort of the opposite interpretation from anti-feminists who are like, oh, look, this is what all feminists think, that women are better than men, which is not at all, you know, a core tenet of feminism. But people always used to discredit feminism. And here Obama is making a joke about it. And and like you said, if this is the quote that get gets picked up, it can be it, you know, interpreted and offensive to both sides or misinterpreted and offensive to both sides. All right. Let’s put numbers to this.

S13: I’m just gonna say for its yes, it’s sexist, but he’s trying to do good things. It’s, as you said, very as you put it very well, Marsha, that it’s done without nuance is done in this awkward, apparently self-deprecating, but actually self upping way. But it doesn’t seem all that terrible. So I’m gonna go with four.

S19: I’m going to give it a six, because I don’t think it’s completely harmless. I think, you know, it is that kind of benevolent sexism that Marcia missed that Marcia mentioned. But that can still once it accumulates, that’s a problem. So I’m going to give it a six.

S4: Marcia, I will give it a five and a half because it is sexist but not misogynistic.

S7: That’s a really good distinction to draw. I am going to give it a. Seven, because he should know better. Our sexism rating is 5.6 to 5 Obama think twice before you put our names in your mouth again.

S12: That’s the call from the Secret Service.

S7: And the that wasn’t meant as a threat. All right. Thank you, listeners, for your slate plus membership. Please keep sending us your isn’t sexist questions. We love them. You can send them to the waves at slate.com. And look forward to our next episode, which is going to be 100 percent. Is it sexist questions? We’ll see you in a couple weeks.