Let’s Shift the Focus to Women’s Bodies, Shall We?
Today I was listening the podcast of this week’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me: The NPR News Quiz, a weekly NPR show which features funny quiz games.
Normally, I LOVE Wait, Wait. Paula Poundstone is sometimes on the show, and usually the other panelists are really funny too. A couple of times I’ve felt some people on the show have made insensitive comments, but overall it’s a great show.
Aaron Schock, the youngest person in congress, was on the show this week. Before asking the guest quiz questions, Peter Sagel spends some time good-naturedly ribbing them. Sometimes I feel Sagal is a little pushy during this segment to try and get the celebrity to tell them something “juicy” or that wouldn’t come up in a normal press conference. In this case, because photos of Aaron Schock shirtless have been in the press, he was asking the congressmember to compare his body to President Obama’s. Schock dodged the question, saying he hadn’t really looked, but Sagal pressed him a few times.
Eventually, Schock changed the subject, by talking about Michelle Obama’s arms! Schock was uncomfortable talking about his own body and Barack Obama’s body, so he shifted the subject to women’s bodies. As we all know, women’s bodies are always an appropriate topic of conversation, so I’m not surprised he felt more comfortable shifting the focus.
I know that many people would say I am making too much of this incident, but I think it is a prime example of how people who do not think they are sexist really are (because we all are). Do I think Aaron Schock is a terrible person? Probably not. Do I think we would all be better off if we really examined our own thoughts and what we say? Yes, I do. If we didn’t constantly make these (almost unknowing) slights in the direction of women, we would be able to move faster in the direction of equality. I think it’s worth the effort it might take.