Ron Jackson: Appalled by Roseanne? Me, too!
The call for women to encourage solidarity with each other began in 2006. However, it did not gain the momentum to reach its iconic status until a little more than a year ago. The women empowerment or #MeToo movement gained significant thrust in 2017 after female entertainment celebrities joined the cause. High profile actresses across the globe joined the rally cry, demanding an end to sexual harassment and disrespect.
And it caught on as recognized stars spoke up about their experiences. Even men joined in to support the social cause for decency and respect for women, in particular in the workplace. Women held marches across the country. At the mere mention of impropriety, some of the most powerful men in news and entertainment were toppled similar to a Saddam Hussein statue. Men in every sector were put on notice. For once, it seemed believable that men were listening — to women.
And we still are. This past week we have heard nothing but women. Two more women comedians have captured the country’s attention. Roseanne Barr and Samantha Bee are well-known comedians, unlike Michelle Wolf who became a household name after her controversial headlining stint at this year’s White House Correspondence Dinner. However, Barr and Bee followed Wolf’s lead this week in saying some funny or not so funny things about women with ties to the federal government.
Wolf served some unflattering jabs at current White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders. Barr did likewise, with comments about Valarie Jarrett, former adviser to President Barack Obama. Bee followed suit, targeting Ivanka Trump, current adviser to President Donald Trump.
The hypocrisy that is expected in politics, especially Washington politics, is irrelevant this time. The political ideology of the three comedians or their three targets has nothing to do with the women-on-women crime recently on display. Women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Women — most certainly American women — have earned that right. Women, including those with Washington connections, should be able to expect some level of decency even if they are the fodder of comedic routines. Women deserve to be treated better by women.
That is merely unacceptable and damaging hypocrisy. Women cannot command or demand respect from men while they continue to denigrate other women. That is comparable to the stupid school of thought that black Americans maintain exclusive use of the“N-word,” while other Americans must strike it from their vocabulary. Wrong is wrong. If it is wrong for a man to disrespect any woman in any form, it is wrong for a woman to disrespect another woman in any fashion. No exceptions; no excuses.
Men are listening and watching. It could be perceived as sexist and not humor to say women don’t know what they want. But in light of how some women are treating women, it has become increasingly difficult to draw the line between what is acceptable and what is not.
The #MeToo movement put a great responsibility on the shoulders of women. The notion men should know how to treat women must be applied to women equally. We all should know how to treat each other.
Barr had her show canceled by her employer, ABC. It remains to be seen if Bee will continue her gig on TBS.
Those are employer-employee issues. The common decency issues will be sorted out by the just-as-hypocritical fan bases of both entertainers. Comedy is serious business. So is common decency. The bottom line is that Barr and Bee could raise the bar and be a little more decent to others, especially other women.
Two of the most common jokes are that men don’t listen and women can’t make up their minds. We are listening, but we aren’t all laughing. We are waiting for women to make up their minds about what is acceptable behavior. We are visual. Show us, don’t tell us.