Hopscotch to the Hill

Elizabeth Warren, born Elizabeth Herring, does not go by Liz, Lizzie, Libby, Betty or any other form of her name. Lately, however, news sources have thought otherwise. In four recent articles, Elizabeth Warren, the esteemed Harvard Law professor, running for the United States Senate in Massachusetts, has been given a variety of nicknames, as deemed by different media outlets.

When referencing the debate over Warren’s heritage, The Daily Caller published an article saying, “Perhaps Warren’s mother didn’t say that the family had Indian heritage, but that her daughter Lizzy could be anything she wanted to be when she grew up.” Lizzy seems to depict a twelve-year old, pigtailed girl bounding down her neighborhood street to play hopscotch with her friends. Lizzy is not a name for someone that the TIME magazine has called the “New Sheriff of Wall Street” and twice included in the list of America’s 100 most influential people.

In the Salem News, Robert Brown wrote an editorial titled “My View: Liz Warren’s apology: What the candidate should have said.” Mr. Brown, can we call you Rob, Bob, Bobby? Maybe Bert sounds more professional for a published journalist? No, we will call you Robert Brown because that is your real name. Remember that next time you write about Elizabeth Warren, the author of nine books, including two national best-sellers and over one-hundred articles. Additionally, National Law Journal named her one of the Most Influential Lawyers of the Decade and when they honored Warren, they did not call her Liz.

Another journalist, ironically another man with the last name Brown, from the Boston Herald, called Warren by the name of Liz in his article titled “Flipping Liz Warren’s credibility flops.” Howie Brown has gotten into the habit of renaming Elizabeth to ‘Granny Warren.’ We have previously blogged about this, calling Brown out for equating Warren to Granny Clampett of the Beverly Hillbillies. You can criticize Warren for what she does and says, but do not judge her physical appearance. It is irrelevant and chauvinistic.

In another article from the Boston Herald, Warren was once again called ‘Liz,’ a name that she never uses for herself. If you search Scott Brown, her male opponent, you never once see him being called ‘Scotty’ or other variations on his name. Why? Most people might see that as disrespectful or demeaning. For Elizabeth, however, some journalists seem to have no problem using any variation of her name. I am all for witty or pun-filled titles, but twisting a politician’s name to degrade her as a candidate is sexist. 

While Elizabeth Warren’s name change is not the worst example of sexism in the media, it is something that should not go unaddressed. Names, while often overlooked, are important to one’s identity, and Warren’s should not be compromised because of her gender.


Published by Kate McCarthy on 06/06/2012

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