February 11, 2007

The sleazy sexism that's served up...

... under the heading "moderate": here and here. Great work, guys.


tm said...

Of course, if she were pictured with Bill Clinton, it'd be totally different because that's, y'know, different. I'm not sure how, but it must have something to do with super-secret law professor information.

Ann Althouse said...

No, it wouldn't be different. Both posts are opposed to "breastblogging."

Simon said...

Look at her face in the picture that Mullen posted. She looks like she's screaming with her eyes.

Ann Althouse said...

Good point, Simon. It's so upsetting to think that a young woman's death is an occasion for a bad pun and breasts as blog festoons and the mindcrushing incapacity to perceive pain.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Let me see if I have this correct. They used the exact same pull quote that you used as a title to this post. They're self-described moderates. So are you. The biggest difference I note is the photo of Anna Nicole Smith promoting her rear end. [Back when she was the Guess jeans model? So it's sort of product placement?] Is that what makes it sleazy sexism? Is it the butt-blogging?

SMGalbraith said...

Agreed; not good.

A week or two from now? Maybe.

Ann, men are pigs.

Yes we are.

Liberal men, conservative men, moderate men, apolitical men, men.


I plead guilty as well.

Ann Althouse said...

Ruth Anne: As for the pull quote, I'd wager they got that idea from me. I did it first. Of course, they don't give me credit for pulling the quote. They should pull their own quote. They were too busy pulling something else.

The Exalted said...

man do you like to reach -- her entire adult life centered on her body. in death she's not allowed to be caricatured for those same attributes?

sexist? are you serious? ever heard of the red face test? as in, could you really make that argument, out loud, while maintaining a straight face?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Professor A: O.K. Non-attribution is one thing. Where's the "sleazy" and where's the "sexism"? I'm serious. I cannot see it. She was a flippin' PLAYBOY Playmate of the Year. SHE did that. She was the Guess Jeans model. SHE did that. Or was it sleazy and sexist when she signed on for those money-making gigs?

Simon said...

SMGalbraith - those of us who're Republicans are sheep, too, if the left is to be believed. ;)

Ron said...

When Michael Madsen finally goes, how many Mr. Blonde ear slicing references are we going to see?

Kitten Natividad was a Russ Meyer "star" with a 44EEE chest. Think they'll make a breast reference there too, in her obit? Count on it.

Elvis? The King? Who doesn't know he died on the john? I'll bet he was in pain, and well, who cared? Then or now?

If Anna Nichole hadn't worked triple overtime to tabloid-up her entire life, maybe a bit of decorum would be expected, but if you let E! in to film the birth of your child for E! News Daily! how much self-respect are you showing?

I'm not saying it's right or just, but when you make a fool of yourself to People for a wedding or the birth of a child, don't be surprised when they laugh at you at the funeral.

Anonymous said...

This is who she was, and while I haven't followed her story, I don't believe she was ever ashamed of her career, or how she made it out of a dirt poor existence to feed her child.

In your post you call her hypersexualize, but you state that's morally acceptable to you because you felt she was asking for your help and you could help her if you had a chance. And then to suit your needs, you compare her to Paris Hilton, a woman that you dislike and want to take a swipe at. And yet, it's the moderate voice that is exploiting Anna Nicole's death and not you.

In this post and your prior post you erase the vital center of her biography. White washing her to fit your needs, not hers.

Once again, Althouse poses as the arbiter of feminism both for the moderate voice and for Anna Nicole Smith. But once again all of this is to suit Ann's own needs and bares little resemblance to the real world.

It is pretty shameful for you to turn Anna Nicole's death into another occasion for you to have a blog dickfight.

Again, a blog dickfight over how Anna Nicole's death is treated and yet, it is the Moderate Voice that is exploitive of woman, and of this woman in particular.

I guess huge dickfights are what you look forward to when you have a huge vagina.


HUGE Ann, just Huge.

Anonymous said...


Ruth Anne Adams said...

This blog has done many death notices. I've even made puns about death. On one occasion, it got a front page mention. On another, I got blogress disapproval. The difference?

Althouse said, "I didn't actually feel sad when the guy that did the Jolly Green Giant's voice died."

So if it's just that you liked ANS and you feel sad about her death, that's perfectly legit. I don't think what he wrote or the picture he posted was sleazy or sexist.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday, as part of a joke, you say that another blogger has a small penis, but today, another blogger, as part of a joke, says Anna Nicole Smith had large breasts and you say that blogger is sexist.

I think we all see who is being sexist here.

HUGE Vagina Ann. Just HUGE!

Ann Althouse said...

1. I don't dislike Paris Hilton. I think she's an impressive entrepreneur.

2. I didn't say Scott Lemieux has a small penis, I said he was a little prick.

Anonymous said...

Assuming there is some sort of difference there, which I just don't see, what you said was:

I see a tiny little image that looks like this: d. I was under the impression that that was a picture of a tiny little prick, and I thought it was you.


J. Cricket said...

Aw, poor Annie A. She gets to glorify the idiotic Anna Nicole Smith, but when someone else reminds us that the woman herself was sleazy, well, that person is asking for the Althouse Scold!!!


anonymousgf said...

They won the Centrist blogger contest. You lost. Accept it. Learn to deal. Get on with your life.

Ann Althouse said...

Life isn't a contest. I'm asking some serious questions. It's your loss if you don't understand why they are serious. A woman suffered and died.

Anonymous said...

No matter how fast you stomp up and down, we're not buying your claim that you are asking serious questions.

keywords: dickfight.

Jennifer said...

Sigh. Ruth Anne is showing a perfect example of how to disagree on substance and with class.

As for the rest...well, it looks like we need another containment chamber. Maybe a post about your spot on the liberal to conservative spectrum...?

Bissage said...

First: That “thanks for the mammaries” line is kind of stupid, IMHO. While the masthead (is that the term?) promises irreverent comments, and not clever comments, punning on mammaries and showing a picture of a woman with large, shapely breasts has been done a million times and isn’t nearly as funny as Ralph Wiggum’s valentine card to Lisa Simpson: “Choo Choo Choose Me” with a picture of a train locomotive. Besides, that song is way outdated and people remember it only because of the pun.

Second: Simon and Ann seem to agree that ANS in that picture is “screaming with her eyes.” But to me, she looks bored and distant. Going through the motions. Pro forma. I guess reasonable minds can differ.

One thing though about that photo of Ms. Smith. I find it remarkable that her facial expression is that of an open-mouthed frown and yet she shows a big mouthful of bright white teeth. Amazing. (Maybe I should have been a dentist.)

Third: Maybe there’s some context I’m missing, but where I grew up, calling someone a “tiny little prick” is not at all the same thing as saying someone has a tiny little prick. It’s a put down, for sure. And I guess it makes sense only when directed toward a male. Perhaps some enterprising scientist might figure out if men with tiny little pricks are, in fact, disproportionately represented among those who have been called tiny little pricks.

Fourth: I can’t possibly be the first to note that Joe Gandelman looks exactly like Soupy Sales.

Simon said...

Bissage - I guess boredom is possible, but to me, she just looks desparately unhappy. It looks like someone who is desparate for attention, but who doesn't like what she has to do to get it, like someone who understands that this is what she has to do to support herself, but who isn't happy with the choices that she's made. Or it could just be a random facial expression, but to me, I see a rictus of "oh God, this is this my life?" and it evokes some degree of sympathy.

The Exalted said...

Ann Althouse said...
1. I don't dislike Paris Hilton. I think she's an impressive entrepreneur.

your satire is so droll, its hard to catch sometimes.

reader_iam said...

It's comment #5 on the post in your first link that gobsmacks me.

Ruth Anne: You are one of my faves, as you know, but honestly, when it comes to sex and women, it truly does seem that your compassion capacity for women who, I guess the word is "transgress" for want of a better, in a particular way is oddly low. I'm not trying to take you on: I'm seriously puzzled by this. Because generally you seem pretty compassionate except where certain types of sexual behavior come into play. (Yes, this could all be my misinterpretation, so I'll apologize in advance if I'm presuming or overreaching.)

Questions: Are you more or less compassionate toward the viewers and enjoyers of Anna-as-Playmate (etc.) than toward she? The buyers of Guess jeans? The owners of that business, the writers of that ad? Etc.?

Anonymous said...

So it's not the post, it's a commenter at the site that's being sexist.

Oh, well as I've pointed out before Ann's blog has lots of sexist and racist comments from daily commenters that she seems to like. So I guess that makes Ann a sexist and a racist.

Sigh, I knew as a law professor she was pretty awful gruel, but to find out she's a sexist and a racist too -- I'm all squicked out.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

RIA: Here's the down-and-dirty for me. I was the only female attorney in the 82d Airborne Division during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm [Rear Detachment.] I met up with completely sexist bullcrap every day. I was also representing all of female officerdom for these guys. You have to choose the hill you want to die on because if you cry "sexism!" every darn day, you will quickly become the mwah-mwah-mwah Miss Othmar teacher on Charlie Brown. I was in the Army. I was in the Airborne. I was expected to be a cut above. Whining that "it's not fair" would not serve anyone--not the Army, not the Division, not women in general and not me.

And as far as having a hair-trigger when it comes to slutty behavior--BINGO! you're right. If women behaved with more modesty and more ladylikeness, men would behave less boorishly. [In general...that's been my experience]. I tried the potty mouth and found that it just cheapened me and I was discounted. If I use more modest forms of communication and dress, guess what? I get heard. Am I playing it? I don't know. If a woman behaves like a slut and gets paid for slutty behavior, why is it so darn "sexist and sleazy" to say so? As to whom I hold more compassion? I'm really trying hard to live-and-let live. She was hired for breasts, buttocks and blondenss. Those who bought her stuff procured those 3 bs. I see it as a meritocracy where she got a good payday because she had those attributes AND WAS WILLING TO BE PAID to display them. Capitalism, baby.

As to the comments on anyone's blog, surely you don't attribute ALL of that to the blog host, do you?

Simon said...

RC - was Ann one of your profs at UW Law?

Anonymous said...

I don't see how that is relevant.

Simon said...

RC - You don't see how whether you've actually ever taken a class from her is relevant to your ability to assess Ann -- Professor Althouse to you -- as a law professor? Why don't you tell us your opinion of some movies that you haven't seen while you're at it?

reader_iam said...

Re: Comments on anyone's blogs.

Of COURSE I don't. All that I said is here that that was what gobsmacked me upon following the link. I didn't say a thing about the blogowners' responsibility with regard to that. In fact, if you go over there again, you'll see that I left a comment, which was directed to that commenter. If that wasn't clear, I'll go back over there and make it more clear.

reader_iam said...

Hmm. Are you meaning to imply that it's all about the "supply side," so to speak?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

RIA: If you're asking me, I would say it was quid pro quo. When she gained weight and was no longer the hot commodity as a model, she became a reality show persona. When that waned, she took on the TrimSpa gig and reinvented herself.

But go back to her rise to fame. She began as an uknown and was discovered by a man to whom she hitched her wagon. He lead her to a loveless marriage and fame.

Wow. ANS and HRC have a similar story.

As you might say, "Interesting that."

LoafingOaf said...

I have to admit I scratched my head over why the first link needed to be spot-lighted as a horrible example of sexism. I was expecting something worse and was like, "Is that all?"

Not that it's wrong for a blogger to make someone like me scatch my head and reflect on sexism.

But considering her career, it doesn't seem so bad, and is probably the result of the blogger feeling pressure to come up with a "clever take" on pop culture news. "Thanks for the Mammaries" isn't original though.

Is the point that when a "moderate voice" has that headline and pic it is signaling to the "moderate" readers that they can feel free to let it rip with sexism in the comments?

The cartoon in the second link is mean-spirited and feels worse - encouraging people to see her as a "whore" so they'll laugh at her death.

Anyway, I didn't follow Anna Nicole's career and wasn't a fan, yet she nevertheless managed to get a small role in one of my fave movies - The Hudsucker Proxy. So that's cool that she immortalized herself in my permanent DVD collection. :) Her character's name is Za Za!

somefeller said...

To all those who are complaining about Ann calling the Moderate Voice guys sexist: stop worrying or compaining about it. Ann calls everyone she has a problem with sexist sooner or later, regardless of whether they are sexist or not. It's just a personality tic, so there's no need to get upset. Plus, her credibility in the feminist community is zero, so it's not like her calling someone a sexist will have any real sting or lasting effects on that person. Nothing to see here, move along.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Loafing Oaf: I took that cartoon a different way. First off, she's at the Pearly Gates, which is not a whore's condemnation. Second, St. Peter is reviewing her work and he has to turn her book for the centerfold. That's kinda funny, no? She's been a centerfold, she's going to heaven and St. Pete is bemusedly reviewing her case for admission.

Jennifer said...

If women behaved with more modesty and more ladylikeness, men would behave less boorishly.

I have to admit that I think that is a little sexist.

I think an equal case could be made that some women behave immodestly because of some men's boorishness.

But, I think the strongest case could be made for the idea that some women behave immodestly and some men behave boorishly and while they may egg each other on, neither is the cause for the other's behavior nor is either responsible for the other's behavior.

LoafingOaf said...

Oh, well, my ignorance about Christianity is massive. I thought it was saying she's being locked out of heaven because she's a slut.

Yeah, St. Peter looking at the centerfold is funny.

Simon said...

"If women behaved with more modesty and more ladylikeness, men would behave less boorishly."

Men acting boorishly didn't begin with the rise of feminism; indeed, most of recorded history, which might be taken to resemble a cocktail of little but misogyny and boorishness, seems to stand in opposition to that point.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Simon and Jennifer:
You offer a good challenge. I might've overstepped there. As I was talking about current pop culture, I believe the concept of "modesty" is misunderstood. It's not prudishness, burka-wearing fear of the body. It's a preservation of the fullness of the body beautiful for those intimate relationships wherein it is appropriate and --dare I say it?-- holy for bodies to entwine. I'm trying to take the Madonna/Whore conundrum and find the modest, appropriate, human-affirming middle.

Anonymous said...

Professor, am I right to think that because the Dixie Chicks call themselves Chicks, that they are really pretty sleazoid sexist non-feminists?

Also, CNN's pic of them tonight kinda shows they put on some outfits that may have accented if not highlighted their bre*sts. (I saw a lot of shoulder too and even some intermammary sulci.) (I have to admit that seeing the intermammary sulci like that signaled to me a resemblance to the gluteal sulcus or the natal cleft which left me thinking of thoughts of reproduction.)

Randy said...

Wow. ANS and HRC have a similar story.

Ruth Anne, I am very sad to read you make such a statement. As a trained lawyer, you know better than that. As an obviously devout practicing Catholic ....

Oh, never mind. I'm so disgusted by this whole conversation (and not just your part I referenced) to continue.

hdhouse said...

please everyone step back and not get in the way of Ann making some hay and getting the regcognition as a perceptive feminist that she must be.

and to all of you who think that ann sufferes from a female version of penis envy (you tube boob tube)...well...

The Exalted said...

good to see ann as the great anna nicole smith defender in death

so brave, and nonpartisan

Revenant said...

I don't see the sexism.

Anna Nicole Smith was known primarily for two things: getting naked for photographers and, later on, marrying a billionaire sixty years older than her. Using pictures that note her sex-symbol status is not "sexist". It is honest.

Anyway, the "heaven's door" cartoon is certainly a bit tasteless, but it is also pretty funny. I think Anna would have laughed at it too, since (as her reality show demonstrated) she was quite willing to poke fun at herself.

Mortimer Brezny said...

I have to say I'm drawing a blank on this one.

The first post comments on the nature of ANS's celebrity and the photo of her posing so that paparazzi can snap pictures of her rear-end is a rather poignant depiction of the nature of her celebrity. I agree that the post title is a bit stupid and condescending, but the substance of the post makes clear that ANS, despite the nature of her celebrity (which was due in great part to her breasts), was a sympathetic person. That doesn't show an incapacity to sympathize.

The second reprints a cartoon that is a bit insensitive. But it's a reprint. The blogger didn't draw the cartoon himself. I don't see the point of the post, so it is gratuitous, but I don't think the insensitivity of the cartoon is the fault of the blogger who posted it.

I think neither post shows proper respect for a dead person. In my opinion obituaries should be positive and leave out scandals or negative information (unless that's literally the only reason the person was famous). But this lack of respect doesn't in my opinion show that the bloggers were "too busy pulling on something else". I think they were making slightly insensitive but substantive commentary on the nature of ANS's celebrity. I also don't think the lack of respect is due to the fact that ANS was female. I think it's a reflection of their opinion of her social worth when she was alive. As I already implied in this paragraph, if you have a low opinion of a dead person,in my opinion you should keep it to yourself. But expressing it doesn't make you a sexist, it just makes you an insensitive jerk.

Revenant said...

It looks like someone who is desparate for attention, but who doesn't like what she has to do to get it, like someone who understands that this is what she has to do to support herself, but who isn't happy with the choices that she's made.

Er... Anna was already rich and famous at the point when that photo was taken, so I don't think your small-town strip club hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold cliches really apply here. You're simply reading way too much into that photo. She looks bored, that's all. She probably *was* bored, since it was about the ten zillionth time she'd posed for cameras. I look bored when I drive to work in the morning, but that doesn't mean I'm a tortured soul.

EnigmatiCore said...

Ruth Anne, I have really appreciated your comments. We are very much on the same page.

I think that, while it may be slightly without compassion to focus in on her bimbo reputation at the time of her passing, it might actually be compassionate to people like her if we were even less so.

If Anna Nicole had found more universal scorn for her cheap pursuit of the dollar through her sexuality, then maybe she and her son would be alive today.

You have to be cruel to be kind, in the right measure.

Bissage said...

Cruel to be kind? Dr. Bissage prescribes a good heaping dose of 1980’s power pop. Watch two times and call me in the morning. Heh.

High Power Rocketry said...



KCFleming said...

Ruth Anne, I appreciate your comments, and agree with the beliefs animating them. Especially the part about your service and how it informs your take on things, which I much admire.

I found the photograph of Smith and the title "Thanks For the Mammaries" to be disrespectful to the dead (and curiously didn't fit with the tone of the post). It would have been fine to mock or complain about her 'career' and choices and marriages while alive, and maybe in about a year. But she just died. Maybe it's just me, but I believe in giving most people a pass when they die, and cut off the snark machine for a little while. A lack of respect for the dead is a most worrisome thing for the living.

And to argue -as has been noted above- that by her past behavior she was asking for it, well, that approach demeans us all.

TMVs post was just: Hey, she's dead! Boobies! Boobies! Very sixth grade.

RogerA said...

Such a sad spectacle; the most egregious thing I happened to see this weekend was a veritable parade of worthless scumbags of the male persuasion lined up on TV claiming to be Ms Smith's partner. They should be summarily shot for tastelessness (say--you dont think the fact that the baby being worth M/Billions has anything to do with their urge to proclaim their paternity)

TMink said...

In relation to the comments about modesty, it reminded me of a recent experience. I lead a group for children and teens that have been sexually abused. We were talking about how sexual attention can feel creepy AND exciting for the teen girls, and what to do about that. I brought up the term modesty, and none of the 4 young ladies knew what the word meant!

Now all of them were dressed modestly, probably more so than their peers because of their past. But it was so interesting that they had not been taught the meaning of the word!

Thinking of it, how do I as a man dress modestly? For a married man, or at least this married man, it transforms to dressing down a bit to not flaunt my minor financial success. I dress a little more like a blue collar working guy than a professional, and that feels modest.

For women of course, modesty is sexual. It is about remaining covered and not provoking (isn't that a terrible word? it is blaming where that is not my intent, perhaps "risking would have been better) sexual attention from strangers or people you are not intimate with.

I guess this has some bearing to women being sex objects and men being success objects. Then again, maybe not. What are your thoughts?


paul a'barge said...

Oh dear. Read this.
Appparently, ANS was doing the Bahamian Immigration Minister.

dougjnn said...

Ann Althouse said--

The sleazy sexism that's served up...

Oh rubbish.

They were commenting, accurately enough in a cartoon, caricature sort of way (by photo and actual cartoon), on the niche she filled.

I didn’t like her gold digging marriage to the senile octogenarian plutocrat, stripping his progeny of everything, and giving her everything, and right quick with rather minimal output. At all. If he was totally competent when he changed his will then he’s more to blame than she, but I still consider it highly distasteful on her part. Scorning him doesn’t make me love her. Just because she managed to marry centa millions in about as pathetic a physical package as one can imagine doesn’t make her elevated or classy. If theirs were evidently a marriage of minds it would be partly different, though the asset stripping would remain.

That of course is what made her most famous.

As for the rest, I don’t hate bottom feeding (in taste and class) blond bomb shells of the utterly uncontrolled, undisciplined rather slatternly variety. I don’t accord maximum respect by any means, but do have a certain rather base male appreciation for their entertainment and salacious value.

I also think it’s rather absurd to be offended when it’s pointed out by graphic (only mild, in the circumstances) caricature that that is indeed the niche she filled.

It’s not as though she was a woman of noted accomplishment who just happened to be hot and had big breasts. (Like you for example. Well haven’t seen one way or the other re the later.) In THAT case such caricatures would be sexist and offensive. Though still no one forced her to pose in that manner, one must assume.