REALLY DAMN SEXIST: Tracy Morgan and Kenny Smith Objectify Sarah Palin

The objectification of female politicians is no laughing matter, yet comedians and anchors alike continue to seek cheap laughs by reducing women to mere fuel for men’s fetishes.

In the latest jaw-dropping offense, comedian Tracy Morgan appeared on “Inside the NBA” and was asked by TNT’s Kenny Smith whether he preferred Tina Fey or Sarah Palin (we’ve yet to figure out what this has to do with basketball). Morgan responded, “I think Sarah Palin is good masturbation material! The glasses and all of that ... great masturbation material!” The anchors responded awkwardly to Morgan’s gross comment, and a Turner spokesman soon issued an apology, saying, "It's unfortunate Mr. Morgan showed a lack of judgment on our air with his inappropriate comments."

We need to not only condemn Morgan’s sexist comment but also point out how Smith’s more subtle, under-the-radar objectification led to Morgan’s response. Ethan Sherwood Strauss explains in his article for Salon:

Kenny Smith was the one who objectified both Fey and Palin, though it was tacit and therefore OK. When Morgan brought the question to its natural conclusion, the comedian likely earned a life ban from TNT, and a bag full of frothing death threats. Had he simply chosen Fey, or Palin, the situation would have floated down the memory hole on a cloud of harmless jock cackles. Instead, Tracy’s unvarnished, lewd honesty revealed the unsavory nature of Kenny’s question line, and made Morgan a momentary pariah.

The fact is, when female politicians are constantly reduced to sexual objects, it strikes a blow against all women in positions of power and deters other women from seeking public office. So, gentlemen, if you want to use your air time to discuss Sarah Palin’s politics, be our guest (though, again…isn’t this about basketball?). Otherwise, refrain from the sexist comments that hurt all women. We’re not laughing.

Published by Kate McCarthy on 01/28/2011

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