SEVERE MISOGYNY: Gawker’s “I Had a One-Night Stand With Christine O’Donnell”

Rather than using humor to dismantle Tea Party Candidate Christine O’Donnell’s platform in time for the midterm elections, Gawker created a platform for a fame-seeking misogynist gossipmonger.

Published bravely under “Anonymous,” the expose is written in the style of a fictional sex column and is equally questionable in its truthfulness. The author tells the story of how a “tipsy” O’Donnell showed up at his house on Halloween with only one thing in mind. O’Donnell is portrayed as a sexually aggressive “cougar” whose only political concern is having an attractive companion to tote around to functions. When the author gets around to describing the sexual act itself, he casts O’Donnell as both promiscuous – she “knocked back” five beers and then asked to go back to his place – and a prude – she turns out to be a “born-again virgin” who displays no sexual experience. Not only that, but the author’s disappointment peaks when he realizes “the waxing trend had completely passed her by” and loses all interest. He then tries his best to make his disinterest clear, while O’Donnell plays the desperate jilted woman who can’t take a hint. The discussion of her political career wraps up the article as an afterthought.

The comments about women’s bodies and sexual availability are enough to qualify this piece as severe misogyny, but the fact that Gawker chose to publish such a sexist and clearly fabricated article about a female political candidate immediately preceding the midterm elections makes for disgraceful and irresponsible journalism. This type of sensationalism can’t be chalked up to cheap laughs when it’s clear that sexism has a measurable effect on women running for office. We urge Gawker to stop contributing to the hostile media climate that exists for female political candidates by taking down the piece and focusing on O’Donnell’s issues.

Published by Kate McCarthy on 10/28/2010

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