The empowerificationality of Sarah Sanders

Sarah Sanders was a terrible press secretary but Arwa Mahdawi suggests that wasn’t her real job.

Sanders was never really hired to be a press secretary. Her real job, I’d venture, was to be a Very Visible Woman. Her real job was to be the female face of a deeply misogynistic administration; to play the role of the empowered working mother and make the Trump administration’s crass patriarchy more palatable.

Mind you, it cuts into the Very Visible bit if you stop holding press briefings.

There’s no better example of how effective Sanders was at using her sex as a shield than the speed with which a number of high-profile female journalists jumped to Sanders’ defense when Michelle Wolf made a joke about the press secretary at the 2018 White House correspondents’ dinner.

“Watching a wife and mother be humiliated on national television for her looks is deplorable,” MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski tweeted at the time. (Wolf didn’t make a joke about Sanders’ looks; this was a willful misinterpretation.) The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman similarly announced that it was admirable Sanders “sat and absorbed intense criticism of her physical appearance, her job performance and so forth, instead of walking out, on national television”.

At that rate I guess we have to say it’s admirable that Trump doesn’t nuke us all for our intense criticism of his corruption, criminality, misogyny, racism, cruelty, incompetence, ignorance, recklessness…

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