Quick, somebody fetch the smelling salts! Poor dears in the feminist blogosphere are suffering from the vapors after unexpected exposure to something no progressive should ever have to endure: a conservative political cartoon.
So offensive! misogynist! and of course, racist! is this single-panel cartoon that Pandagon, Feministe, and Moderate Left only published the image after dramatic content warnings lest their delicate readers be “triggered” by the horror of dissenting political expression.
The cartoon by Darleen Click depicts President Obama as a rapist pulling his clothes on as he walks away from a naked and weeping Statue of Liberty. “Oh, shut up and stop your whining. You gave all the consent I’ll ever need Nov. 2008,” he sneers with his chin thrust arrogantly in the air. ” Get yourself cleaned up. I’ll be back — CapNTrade, Immigration, whatever. And I’ll bring ‘friends.’”
Writing from the comfort of his swooning couch, blogger Jeff Fecke declares the cartoon a “disgusting” and “indefensible” example of “vile racism.” He is troubled because “portraying Obama as a rapist is playing on a trope as old as slavery — that African American men are lying in wait to defile good, white women.”
Surely Jeff Fecke isn’t suggesting he detects racism in criticism of the president? I’ve never heard such an allegation (I mean, unless we’re counting every single day since President Obama took office.)
As Click notes, Lady Liberty is a green statue, not a white woman, and certainly not a symbol of “good, white women.” Only a race-obsessed “progressive” intent on destroying conservatives with false accusations of bigotry would argue otherwise.
Fecke also insists that the cartoon celebrates a racist stereotype of black males as sexual aggressors. Apparently metaphors just aren’t Fecke’s thing, because the cartoon isn’t about a black man raping a white woman. It’s about the president of the United States carrying out an assault on American ideals with his health care reforms.
The imagery is unquestionably disturbing. Sexual assault is an atrocity, and the sight of the world’s most recognizable symbol of freedom and democracy sobbing in the aftermath of rape is unsettling. Some people think it goes too far.
But really, that’s what makes the cartoon so effective. It’s jarring. It’s shocking. And it reflects what Darleen Click and millions of other Americans feel: that Obama failed to obtain the consent of the governed before violating our most fundamental American principles with the stroke of a pen.
Jill Filipovic at Feministe suggests the cartoon trivializes sexual violence. But Click isn’t using rape as a metaphor for an overpriced ice cream cone or an outlandish electric bill. She’s not even drawing upon the oft used figure of speech about government “raping our pocketbooks.” Her cartoon doesn’t minimize the horror of rape; it uses a heinous violation of our bodily sovereignty to underscore the intrusiveness of Obama’s sweeping reforms. It’s a reminder and a reflection of how very violated we feel when our freedoms come under attack.
And let’s not forget, the feminist Left is perfectly comfortably using lies about rape to advance a political agenda. Anyone remember the Duke lacrosse case? What about the false allegations that Sarah Palin forced rape survivors to pay for their own rape kits? Or the Republicans for Rape smear campaign inspired by Senator Al Franken?
Rape imagery as a means to a “progressive” end is encouraged and embraced, so spare us the breathless pearl clutching over a symbolic depiction of rape on a conservative blog.
If Darleen Click’s cartoon was offensive, good, because that was the intent. We should all be offended by any assault on the principles that make America exceptional.
Dissent isn’t always classy. It’s confrontational and provocative and yes, it can be tasteless. But as we were reminded throughout the Bush years, dissent is also patriotic. Even when it comes from a conservative woman.