Truth be told, I really hadn’t heard of Michelle Wolf until my twitter feed exploded. Apparently, Michelle Wolf was mean to Sarah Huckabee Sanders at the White House Correspondents Dinner. But isn’t that a roast, so she must have said something really bad.
So, I watch the monologue. The whole thing. Honesty, I didn’t really find it all that funny, but then I think comedy has never been the same since Blackadder stopped being filmed.
I’m sorry, did I miss something? This is what Wolf said about Huckabee Sanders:
"I'm a little starstruck," Wolf began. "I love you as Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid's Tale."
. . . . . .
"I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful," Wolf said, setting up her next jab. "She burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies."
"I'm never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders," Wolf continued. "Is it Sarah Sanders? Is it Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Is it Cousin Huckabee? Is it Auntie Huckabee Sanders? Like, what's Uncle Tom but for white women who disappoint other white women?" (qtd in Jensen)
The only way that the above an attack on Huckabee Sanders’ looks is if you see a comparison to Ann Dowd’s looks as an insult. If you do, doesn’t that say quite a bit about you more than Michelle Wolf? Incidentally, the comparison is to the character of Aunt Lydia, who Aunt Lydia is and what she does as opposed to what she looks like. To understand the reference, it helps if you have read the book or, at the very least, watched the HULU series.
If it is the smoky eyeshadow bit, that isn’t it attacking Huckabee Sanders’ looks, it is attacking her lying and the lying of the Trump administration.
Now, it’s true, pretty much all politicians lie - intentionally, by omission, whatever. I will even concede that sometimes a lie is called for – you don’t want to spill important details. But, let’s be real. This president and his cult lie on a regular basis, even about things they don’t need to lie about. We can debate the semantics – is it intentional or not, but Wolf just called a spade, a spade. She called a liar, a liar. She didn’t mention weight, looks, or anything. Just eyeshadow. She didn’t say the eyeshadow was ugly. What’s the problem? Hell, if you want to get upset about what Wolf said, how about what she said about Ivanka – how she is pretty smelly diaper bag? Is it because of the word pretty and how it allows people to see beyond looks to something else?
At best, the horrified responses indicate an inability to look at criticism or roasting of a woman as anything other than a comment upon that woman’s looks. Isn’t that sexism? The horrified responses suggest that a comparison to Aunt Lydia rests solely on looks and that Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia is ugly – isn’t that insulting to Ann Dowd? And, folks, Aunt Lydia on the show is many things – ugly in terms of looks isn’t one of them. Why was it okay for other people to go after Chris Christie’s looks (fat jokes) or for Wolf to compare Pence to Anderson Cooper (poor Cooper) but the eye shadow line was a bit too far?
It is also interesting because we have a president who has insulted, repeatedly, the previous president and his wife (and his children),a president who has called women he hates ugly, a president who has contributed to hate speech, a president who retweets racist tweets, a president who called a sitting member of Congress a stripper, a president who was represented at the dinner by his Press Secretary who treats the press with disrespect and who lies on an almost daily basis, whether or not she truly wants to lie is beside the point. He couldn’t attend because he had to go the Nuremberg Rally in another Washington.
The attacks on Michelle Wolf simply look like at they are – sexism and re-enforcement of male superiority. Men are allowed to be critical and mock, but women, nope can’t have that the responses to Wolf are saying. Heaven forbid, a woman actually is critical and not nice.
In which case, and quoting Mona Eltahawy, those people coming for Michelle Wolf, you can “fuck off kitten”.
Jensen, Erin. “White House Correspondents Dinner: Michelle Wolf obliterates Sarah Huckabee
Sanders”. USATODAy.com. USA Today. 29 April 2018. Web. 29 April 2018.