Feminist Amanda Marcotte Defends Democratic Senator's Choice Not to 'Name a Harasser'

Two days after U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand refused to identify the men in Congress who made sexist comments regarding her weight after the birth of her second child as described in her book Off the Sidelines, the Democratic politician from New York received support from an interesting source: feminist Amanda Marcotte.

In a Twitter post on Saturday morning, the staunch activist did not call on Gillibrand to reveal the identities of the alleged sexist members of Congress. In a surprising move, she instead stated: “I’m now convinced that the reason Republicans are demanding Gillibrand name a harasser is so they can castigate her as a lying slut.”

Marcotte's tweet came after Gillibrand's appearance on Thursday's edition of CBS This Morning, when she declined to name any of the men she referred to anonymously in her book as people who supposedly made insensitive comments about her weight.

During the discussion, reporter Nancy Cordes claimed that “even U.S. senators are not immune” to such comments from their male colleagues, “and it wasn’t just one or two. A whole series of male lawmakers apparently felt free to remark on her baby weight and her attempts to lose it.”

Without bothering to question the appropriateness of promoting Gillibrand’s stories, Cordes provided quotes directly from the Democrat’s book to expose the supposed sexism directed at her from the Senate chamber to the congressional gymnasium.

“Many of my older colleagues felt compelled to offer advice” such as: “’It's a good thing you're working out because you wouldn't want to get porky.'” On the other hand, one of her favorite older senators walked up behind her, squeezed her waist and said: “Don’t lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby.”

On Friday, Marcotte chimed in to the controversy by writing an article in which she stated: “No, Gillibrand should not name her harassers. It would ruin her and accomplish nothing.”

After doubling down on the matter in her tweet the following day, Marcotte was challenged by such people as @RightWingEddie, who said Gillibrand's charge is “a meaningless and baseless allegation until/unless she names someone. Deal with it.”

“Proud of you shielding a womanizing, chauvinistic Democrat,” @AnthonyAbides noted sarcastically. “You go, girl!”

@Bill Zeiser was befuddled by the whole situation. “Are you for real? Yes, when you make an allegation like that, the veracity matters. Where does 'slut' enter the equation? I mean, you just basically accused the Republicans of having the radical agenda that truth is worth a damn.”

@toshia_Thomas agreed, stating that the conflict should continue “so the person that supposedly did this (regardless of party) can be called out and reprimanded. Too logical?”

“The reason she isn't naming names is because the sleazebag offender has a 'D' after his name,” @randy_ratliffKC stated. However, @bvparrot claimed: “What is the matter with you idiots? If she were protecting a Democrat, she wouldn't mention it. Be less stupid.”

@Catatonic11 admitted: “I voted 4 Gillibrand once, but think she's wrong on this. If she wasn't going to be truthful, she should've kept her mouth shut.”

@Beer__Wolf agreed, noting that Marcotte would “have really enjoyed the Inquisition. Would've fit right in there.”

“Insisting on making her decision for her is a very special kind of harassment I expect every woman knows,” @randy_ratliffKC added before declaring: “Only a man who harasses women would say such a stupid thing. The rest of us know every woman endures this.”

“You know better,” he continued. “You're just stupid enough to pretend you are not childishly transparent.”


@CJHerod agreed, asserting: “Put differently, you're convinced [Gillibrand] is a lying slut, and that Republicans want to castigate her for it.”

@LifeOnAHorse called Marcotte's claim “idiotic” because “many want the names regardless of party so they can be thrown out.”

“If it were a GOPer making the claims,” @bccover declared, “she'd be demanding names be named so we know who the insensitive men are.”

But Marcotte had her supporters in the conflict. @skyhayes stated that her charges regarding Republicans are “absolutely true. They're also hoping to see some Democrats' names among the shamed so they can point and say 'SEE??'”

Nevertheless, @JustEric claims the GOP is interested in the senator's claims “because conservatives actually care about women, despise criminals and want justice.”

Marcotte’s position on the matter is reminiscent of the “convenient feminism” adopted in the 1990s by members of the National Organization of Women who supported President Bill Clinton because he was “right on the issues” such as abortion and equal pay despite the numerous affairs the Democratic occupant of the White House had with several women, including intern Monica Lewinsky.

Still, it is hard to imagine Gloria Steinem supporting these women’s position on this issue. As we might say to feminists today, “You've come a long way, baby -- but not in the direction you intended."

Randy Hall
Randy Hall