Moving on I hope to discuss the matter that gave rise to that article in a reasonable and intelligent manner.
A number of years back we had a town manager by the name of Clayton Carlisle. Mr. Carlisle was, shall we say, portly.
At the same time the local paper featured editorial cartoons by a local artist who was quite clever and talented.
The cartoonist’s political cartoons frequently featured a caricature of the town manager. In every cartoon, as I remember it, a button was shown popping off the manager’s amply filled shirt.
I may be mistaken, but I don’t recall any tearful episode by the town manager at a council meeting bemoaning the fact that he was ridiculed about his weight.
I also do not remember any public outcry resulting in regional media descending upon the town to protest our acceptance of Neanderthal like attitudes.
In a similar vein, a couple of years ago this very blog posted a list of mock Christmas gifts. One of the councilors included was also somewhat larger than average. For that councilor, who now is chairman of the town council, I suggested a gift of Spanx.
Somewhat surprisingly, in light of current events, there was no response – emotional or otherwise. And there was no mass of critical comments suggesting that I would be damned to hell for all eternity.
Recently, however, I allowed to appear some anonymous comments about the fact that the school committee chair was, in her own words, overweight. Please keep in mind that this was before the Satan-inspired post which I have removed and for which I have sincerely apologized.
The allowing of those comments, which were on a posting that was clearly identified as parody, ignited a firestorm of outrage.
The object of the remarks took advantage of a publicly-televised meeting of the school committee to air, tearfully, the hurt inflicted upon themselves and their family by those comments.
Elements of the public arose, pitchforks and torches in hand, demanding my head on a pike.
What was the difference between this and the earlier examples?
The only difference was that, in the latter case, the person involved was a woman.
We hear every day about the fact that women only earn 77 cents for the same job where men earn a dollar.
We are bombarded with the fact that women have a harder time breaking into politics than men.
The term “glass ceiling” has become a rallying point for activists supporting women’s rights.
But, this very instance is illustrative of the reason why many people remain resistant to a true equality of opportunity for women in society – whether it is in business of politics. They dread the prospect of an overly emotional scene that, in a man, would be considered unprofessional and demeaning. Tuesday night’s display reinforced that stereotype.
Those who really know me are cognizant of my firm devotion to the right of women to full equality.
My ex-wife has been far more successful than me and I am still very fond of her and I have never spoken ill of her.
While I have objected to the use of councilor’s forum for non-business comments during town council meetings, I used that forum in that way once. It was at only my second meeting as a newly elected councilor. I chose to defend, in a humorous way, public criticism that had been leveled at a fellow councilor after the earlier meeting.
Pertinent in this context is that the councilor who I defended was a woman who was criticized for décolletage that was considered too “revealing” despite the midsummer heat wave. The incident was memorialized in a cartoon by the aforementioned cartoonist that I still cherish.
To summarize, I feel that the display by the Chairman of the School Committee did severe damage to women. It served to reinforce the biases that they have been fighting to overcome for almost fifty years. Whether you want to believe it or not, it resulted in genuine anger that caused me to write things that I regret. What I said cannot be justified – but it can be explained.
On balance I believe that I have done far less substantial or lasting harm than has she.