I struggled with what to call this diary because I have a bunch of thoughts swirling in my head so bear with me if you've come this far.
What started it:
Sen Kirsten Gillibrand has a book coming out next month. In prep she did an interview w/ "People" magazine in which she discussed portions of the book including sexist comments made by colleagues. Colleagues in this case being elected and taxpayer funded members of Congress. You know, people who ostensibly work for us aka "we the people"
In one incident from her early days in the Senate, Gillibrand describes an older senator who approached her from behind and squeezed her waist. "Don’t lose too much weight now," she recalls him saying. "I like my girls chubby.”
It's one of many episodes she recounted in an interview with People magazine that is not yet online but which was reported by the New York Post on Wednesday. Most of the remarks were directed toward Gillibrand during her self-described struggle with her weight during and after her second pregnancy.
In the House gym, she recalled, another of her male colleagues advised her to work out to avoid getting "porky."
Isn't that special? Gillibrand To Male Colleague Who Called Her 'Porky': 'Thanks A--hole'
In most environments this would be harassment, hostile workplace or something actionable. It should be in the Senate too. Frankly I wish she'd named names. This is a topic worthy of discussion on its own but it's actually not what prompted this diary.
What prompted this diary VB?
What prompted this diary was the almost immediate response by a guy from Politico whose name I didn't know before a shitstorm hit him. I know "a guy on the internet said a thing".
@igorbobic I challenge this story. Sorry, I don't believe it— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) August 27, 2014
Mkay. No why, no context, no reason. ( I realize Twitter is limited but no follow-up tweets explaining why either) . When asked if he really meant it:
@BresPolitico you don’t believe Gillibrand?— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) August 27, 2014
No. That's it. She's a liar and I don't have to tell you why I think that.
As mentioned, he took a lot of flak and rightly so on Twitter and ultimately "apologized"
Completely moronic tweet by me on People magazine piece re Sen. Gillibrand. No excuse for popping off. I apologize.— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) August 28, 2014
But again no explanation why he thought to "pop off" in the first place. I even asked him but not holding my breath for a response:
@BresPolitico question is why do you think that reaction came so easily to you?— Portia McGonagal (@PortiaMcGonagal) August 28, 2014
I did however get several re-tweets of my question. And this question is the reason I wrote the diary.
Why, when a woman or a person of color says something ( and do we really think a sitting Senator who ostensibly has plans for a continued political career would say these things carelessly or that her editor and publisher wouldn't have scrutinized them?) that talks to the sexism or racism we experience...why is it so easy for some people and yes I will generalize, usually white and/or male to dismiss it out of hand? Why is that the go to position ( especially when they're not even directly involved)?
We see the same thing in discussions of race. We've seen it in the discussions about Mike Brown, Ferguson, Trayvon Martin, John Crawford. We see it whenever a woman discusses sexism or rape culture.
And my question remains, why is it so easy for some to dismiss and accept that the victim or target of bad behavior is untruthful.