No Don, It is *Patriarchy* That Is ‘Previous Its Prime’

A lady “previous her prime” breaks down Don Lemon’s sexist comment.

Kaitlan Collins, Don Lemon and Poppy Harlow attend the sixteenth annual CNN Heroes Tribute on the American Museum of Pure Historical past on Dec. 11, 2022, in New York Metropolis. (Mike Coppola / Getty Pictures for CNN)

By the point you learn this, will probably be previous information—not in contrast to the writer of this piece who, in response to CNN’s Don Lemon’s “reality checking” suggestion, is previous her prime. Lemon’s decree was made on a Feb. 16, 2023, CNN broadcast the place he acknowledged, considerably shamefacedly, that speaking about age made him uncomfortable. He went on to say that Nikki Haley, who not too long ago launched her 2024 presidential marketing campaign, was “previous her prime.” In keeping with Lemon, Haley is “not in her prime” as a result of “when a girl is taken into account to be in her prime is in her 20s, 30s, possibly 40s.” Lemon clarified, “That’s not in response to me. … It’s similar to ‘prime,’ should you look it up, should you Google ‘when is a girl in her prime,’ it’ll say ‘20s, 30s and 40s.’”

Lemon’s Google fact-checking fake pas was in response to Haley’s name for “mental competency tests” for politicians over the age of 75. Present politicians, together with her former boss, former President Donald Trump (at the moment age 76; if he wins the 2024 election, he will probably be 78 on Election Day), are previous their prime, to borrow a time period from Lemon. Haley is setting herself up because the candidate who is just not, to place it bluntly, previous. A speaking level that can inevitably be a part of her policy-less stump speech is concentrated on a “generational change” in politics.

Foreshadowing the assaults that can actually come from Haley’s inevitable rival within the 2024 Republican major, Trump, Lemon tapped right into a long-held perception that girls solely matter whereas they’re fertile. As mentioned brilliantly by Heather Corinna of their fabulously titled work, What Fresh Hell Is This?: Perimenopause, Menopause, Other Indignities, and You, as soon as a girl ceases common menstruation, she is taken into account an empty husk of a human, not value a lot in any respect. As a result of she will be able to not profitable develop infants, males conclude that her contribution to society is, successfully over. It ought to be apparent that the definition of menopause was formulated by males (who had zero expertise with menstruation, or its cessation).

Within the political area, this interprets right into a type of censorship. Certainly, feminine candidates are swiftly censored by the dominant information media and inside the bigger patriarchal society when the axes of their age, public persona and conduct don’t align appropriately. Ladies throughout the ideological spectrum—from Hillary Clinton to Sarah Palin to AOC to Sarah Huckabee Sanders—face patriarchy, which is expressed in a fixation on their look, questions on their emotional state, pejorative names (that received’t be written right here in an effort to offer them much less oxygen), and baseless (whereas concurrently irrelevant) accusations that they’re closeted lesbians.

Patriarchy refers to methods of energy that privilege males over girls. Misogyny, the ingrained prejudice towards girls, upholds patriarchy by marginalizing and oppressing girls. As Kate Manne explains in Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny, this turns into a type of censorship, as “silence is golden for the boys who smother and intimidate girls into not speaking, or have them change their tune to take care of concord.” Basically, girls candidates can’t be themselves; they’re continuously being pressured to be one thing they don’t seem to be by commentators like Lemon who ask them to just accept that they’re past their prime as a result of it’s a ‘reality.’

To be clear: I’m no fan of Nikki Haley. I’m against her positions on training, immigration and abortion, to call a number of of our disagreements. Nevertheless, a complicated society can debate Haley on the deserves of her {qualifications} and coverage positions slightly than deal with sexist remarks resembling “previous her prime” as substantive political commentary. Certainly, Lemon was one in all many liberal voices in information media who appeared to grasp this in the course of the Trump years, when he finger wagged and lectured the previous president about his prejudicial insults and evaluation. Apparently, Lemon’s ethical superiority can be effectively served to revisit these feedback in a mirror.

It’s time to cease judging girls by their age and presuming that their assumed skill to breed (or at the very least be sexually obtainable) is their defining, or most dear, attribute. But in addition, thanks Don Lemon, for giving us a sneak-peak on what to anticipate for the 2024 election cycle: A battle over age, a battle over value primarily based on age, a battle over the worth of age. In different phrases, a battle as previous as time that girls have been preventing ceaselessly. These battles will, as they all the time have on this nation, have totally different requirements for women and men.

I cannot be proud of a Haley presidency. I do assume she is menopausal, so at the very least I do know now that her expertise of involutional melancholia means there will probably be fewer pesky temper swings that commentators like Lemon can blame on her for main the nation backwards. 

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