With the news that the NFL is investigating a claim by TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz that she was sexually harassed by members of the NY Jets organization, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have both weighed in and decided that Sainz deserved because of the shirt she wore and according to Limbaugh she is,”bootylicious.”
Here is the audio of Beck’s blame the victim routine via Media Matters:
While laughing Beck said, “This is a TV sports reporter. I’ve never seen a woman wear a shirt like that that covered less.” Beck and crew went on to claim that she is engaging in a publicity stunt. “Here’s the thing about this woman this is clearly a publicity stunt….You know what’s really amazing is last week we were played for this whole nonsense of the Quran burning, and it was a publicity stunt, that’s all it was, and this week the media is playing this chick.”
Later in the day, Limbaugh upped the sexist ante via Media Matters:
Limbaugh said, “Inez Sainz former Miss Spain knows full well. She sees it in the mirror. She knows how she looks, furthermore, whatever else she knows, Inez Sainz knows what she is and does that attracts men. She knows that she has an ass-et. Depending on what part of the country you’re from, boobalicious, bootylicious she got it. She is making no attempt to downplay it or hide it none what so ever, because she wants access for her job. She wants to interview Mark Sanchez….and like every other reporter on the face of the Earth, she wants access. She works for Azteca TV. She doesn’t care to interview Rex Ryan. She wants to talk to Mark Sanchez. Well , he’s only the starting quarterback. Everybody wants to talk to Mark Sanchez. He’s the starting quarterback, so how does she get access? Well, she is Inez Sainz, so Inez Sainz does what I think she is born knowing to do, but she’s even been trained further.”
In some ways the blame the victim because she is a beautiful woman stance of Beck and Limbaugh is nothing more than a reflection on long held conservative sexist attitudes. Many conservatives don’t even consider sexual harassment to be real. The blog The Stir recently pointed out that female journalists have long been subjected to sexual harassment in the locker room, and even though the NFL passed a rule in 1985 which granted equal access to all reporters regardless of gender, claims of sexual harassment have continued. The issue may be under reported because just as in society as a whole, any female journalists who do complain are often under immediate pressure to recant, because pursuing their complaints can often cost them access in the case of journalists, and their jobs.
While Sainz’s claims are still under investigation, the attitudes of Republican opinion leaders like Beck and Limbaugh are big, loud, ominous signal that despite the fact that the GOP has tried to dress themselves in the words of a redefined conservative feminism, and “Mama Grizzlies” their views on issues that are important to women remain the same. This is still a party that wants to tell women what to do with their bodies, does not think that they should get equal pay for equal work, and believes that when a woman gets sexually harassed or raped it was her own fault.
Don’t be fooled by the dressed up women pretending to be the face of the “new” Republican Party. Mama Grizzlies are nothing more than a continuation of the 2008 Sarah Palin strategy which emphasizes the belief that women are stupid, and they will vote for another woman strictly based on gender. If a Mama Grizzly is spouting the same old anti-woman talking points, she is not a new brand of feminism. She is simply a woman who is selling out her own gender in exchange for fame, money, and power.
It feels ridiculous to even have to point this out, but if Miss Sainz was sexually harassed, she did nothing to deserve it. Women have the right to practice any profession in an environment free of discrimination and harassment. At least women still have that right today, but may not in the future if Republicans who hold the Beck and Limbaugh mindset regain control of the levers of American political power. Remember, when conservatives talk about taking their country back, they also often mean taking women’s rights back to the 19th Century.