Another year's sexists get their moment of fame

August 28, 2006|By Ellen Goodman

BOSTON -- So, once more, we have celebrated Aug. 26, the anniversary of the passage of women's suffrage, in our own special way. Our one-woman jury gathers in the shadow of our foremothers to dispense the much-coveted Equal Rites Awards to those who have done their best over the past year to set back the cause of women.

The envelopes, please.

We begin with The Taliban Wannabe Prize, once named for the copycats working to keep women under (literal) wraps. This year the award is bound to, alas ... Afghanistan. Remember the virtue police, who beat Afghan women for merely exposing their ankles? They're coming baaaaack. The Department for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has been approved by our man in Kabul, President Hamid Karzai, and will soon come before the Afghan parliament. With friends like these, who needs the Taliban?

Alas, America is not immune to international guy gaffes. The Man-Handling Prize for groping across borders goes to The Decider, who came up behind Angela Merkel's back and gave the horrified German chancellor a hefty massage. This "Love Attack," as it was described in Germany, proves that no woman is too powerful to get George as her main squeeze.

On to the judges who still sit on the supreme court in Italy. The Blind Justice Award is bound to those men who once ruled that a woman wearing skin-tight jeans couldn't claim rape. This year, the court ruled that sexual abuse of a teen was less serious because she wasn't a virgin. We send them, at long last, some woman to join the bench. Do you hear the theme song?

Our Misogyny in Music Award goes - as did the Oscar - to that sweet song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." Much as we sympathize with the tribulations of the small businessman, we hope this tune hip-hops right down the road to moral bankruptcy.

After so many years when men have won our Backlash Award, Ann Coulter is our hands-down, loose-lipped winner. Who else but the tongue-lashing, female-bashing Ms. Coulter would call the widows of Sept. 11 "witches and harpies" who are "reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzies" while enjoying their husbands' death.

Let's send her to Match.com where she would hook up with the winner of our Ms-Communicator Award: Neil French. The (now former) creative head of the worldwide WPP advertising group said that women don't get to the top of the ad biz because they "wimp out and go suckle something." Ann?

Let's not forget The Raging Hormonal Imbalance Award. It is headed, along with a testosterone testing kit, to Joe Francis, the sleaze master who made his fortune sexploiting sexhibitionists on Girls Gone Wild. Then he went wild, slamming Los Angeles Times reporter Claire Hoffman against the hood of a car. The only new video we want to see is Mr. Francis doing a perp walk.

Speaking of which, The Superstar in Sexism prize goes to Brett Myers, the Phillies pitcher who wasn't using a designated hitter when he was seen striking his wife - 12 inches shorter, 120 pounds lighter - on the streets of Boston. To him, simply, we wish a losing streak on the mound and in the courtroom.

Finally, we give The Male In-Security Award to the airport guard who searched Margaret Jackson and came across highly detailed designs of an airplane in her briefcase. He found it easier to believe she was a terrorist than a corporate head. As she wrote him later, "Dear Bill, this is from the chairman of Qantas, who is a woman." Here's to what they call the New Normal.

Ellen Goodman is a columnist for The Boston Globe. Her column appears Mondays in The Sun. Her e-mail address is ellengoodman@globe.com.

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