How Very Dare She Enjoy Her Ice Cream
A few days ago the first female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, engaged in a bit of public outreach and opened her freezer to show off her collection of ice cream. Immediately, there was an outpouring of extreme hatred. How very dare a woman who routinely states how much she enjoys ice cream and chocolate have ice cream and chocolate. She had *gasp* chocolate ice cream. The gall! The temerity! The decadence! Clearly, the Speaker must be corrupt, spending some of her salary on ICE CREAM. A woman should not spend her money on ice cream!!! How dare she have a sweet tooth! Or earn money! Or eat food! Or exist!
Normally, attacks on Nancy Pelosi are easily dismissed because they’re all pretty clearly misogynist and all from Republicans. This attack was still misogynist, in fact, it is extremely misogynist, but it didn’t come primarily from the GOP. Republicans attacked over the use of dijon mustard and arugula but they don’t usually take issue with ice cream. No, this particular incident of extremist sexism and pathological misogyny came from people who not only aren’t Republicans but who call themselves “progressive.” (Note: you can’t be progressive and get mad at a woman for having ice cream. So if this was you you’re not liberal.)
The “logic” is that the ice cream in question is no ordinary ice cream but gourmet. *faints* It costs $9 a pint at the San Francisco Safeway nearest to where Pelosi likely lives. The horror. And worse, on the website you can order it in a box of 6 pints for $12 a per pint! And other ice creams like Haagen Daas, Magnum, or Ben and Jerry’s cost about the same or are more expensive!! How DARE the America’s first woman Speaker of the House enjoy moderately priced gourmet ice cream!! It is a slap in the face to rich white folks who don’t wash their legs!
Anyways, it’s pretty obvious why Republicans have always tried to tear down Nancy Pelosi. She’s a liberal juggernaut. Pelosi is the reason Democrats have made any legislative progress at all. If there’s a bill that’s passed Congress that you like Pelosi was probably the driving force behind it. She’s constantly advocating for the underrepresented and less fortunate, she’s patient, and she’s brilliant. And — unlike a lot of political leaders — Pelosi isn’t ambitious. At least not for herself. She’s third in line for the Presidency and she has absolutely no desire to be President. She came to Congress to represent and that is what she does. That is all she does. She didn’t come to be the first female Speaker, she didn’t come for power, she came to serve the people. To Republicans in this era, that single-mindedness is terrifying.
This is also why Pelosi’s popular among real liberals and progressives. Pelosi always backs progressive legislation. And she always makes it happen. There’s this guy in Hollywood who taught Harrison Ford how to use a whip for his role in Indiana Jones, but if you want to learn how to whip, you just watch Pelosi in action.
So, why, I imagine you innocently asking as if you just emerged doe eyed and dewy from a fairyland, “why would anyone be upset about Pelosi eating a bit of ice cream from time to time?” And, it’s misogyny. Pelosi is a powerful woman. She’s a brilliant woman who proves that women are natural leaders. She is comfortable with her leadership style and is feminine in her methods of leadership. She does not resort to bullying or crass behavior and she is genuinely cooperative and forgiving. She’s old and cute, prim and proper, she wears high heels but doesn’t seem to have any use for botox. She is stylish on her own terms with no regard to what might make her desirable to the male gaze.
This woman, this relentless do-gooder in the form of a grandma is the terror of all misogynists. She proves that women are naturally capable leaders and that beauty need not be defined by age or size. She proves that a multi-tasking grandmother can be a more effective leader than a man who has no other responsibilities.
There’s an obvious double standard here. Male politicians are routinely found out for their excesses. There’s wire fraud, sexual harassment settlements, forcing mistresses to have abortions, private jet use, excessive golfing, and a host of other absolutely insane and criminal behavior. While I’ve been able to find articles on each of these — clearly, because I linked them — there was no real public outrage. The story of a male politician using his power to hurt women or take advantage of some system has become a “dog bites man,” story. People don’t care because male leaders are expected to be terrible people.
But dear god, if a woman spends $9 of her own money on ice cream it is a clear case of unforgivable capitalist excess.
Again, the cases I noted above were usually men using public or campaign funds for themselves and for no other purpose than making themselves feel good and were always in excess of $10k.
Just so we’re clear: $10,000 is greater than $9.
But besides Nancy Pelosi proving that liberalism is not simply a matter of yelling stuff on twitter the other reason she’s so threatening to misogynists is that she does actually make her own money. I’m not going to get into why I think it’s actually super important to pay elected officials — if you want an explanation beyond you need to pay them otherwise poor people won’t run — buy my book. When we get to pre-order time I’ll set up a link. And remember: I’m poor. But what I will say is Pelosi works hard and it’s super weird that people always get upset at female leaders for being “rich,” but have never seen any reason to critisize male leaders for the same.
Now, the supposed justification for all this is something something Bernie Sanders something something free college blah blah tax the rich, but most of Pelosi’s direct legislative action has been about economic justice, Bernie Sanders is a millionaire and one of the people I called out for misuse of funds, and just doing free college without any plan only exacerbates racial disparity of income and outcome because you haven’t fixed k-12 education or housing issues.
And I’m down with taxing the rich. So is Pelosi. She mentions it in every press conference.
The other supposed justifications is blurgh blah identity politics blah, but women make up just over 50% of the population and are still only about 23% of Congress. Moreover Pelosi and other women have been on average twice as effective as male legislators and men, particularly white men always overlook important things like healthcare and childcare. So, you can get as mad as you like about people who aren’t white or aren’t male being elected, but it’s better for the country to have a representational House of Representatives. And if you don’t believe me, ask James Madison.
If you see a male leader eating ice cream he’s just charming. But Pelosi can’t even eat in public without drawing sexist comment.
And a lot of you will say it’s not the ice cream but the refrigerator unto which I say — fine, but even if it did cost her as much as you’re all saying she paid for that with her own money. Calm your rollers. If you’re actually mad about either the refrigerator or the ice cream, you’re not suffering from economic anxiety, you’re just worried the nice lady might put women and people of color on equal footing with men.