Lis Smith handled communications for Bill de Blasio during his campaign and throughout his transition, and was widely expected to join him in the mayor's office. Instead, she was unceremoniously dumped from the job just before the new year. The reason was the public discovery that Smith is in a relationship with disgraced fornicator (and former governor or whatever) Eliot Spitzer—and more specifically, according to the Times, the barrage of vicious girl-on-girl crime that that revelation inspired in the New York Post.
The Post has a well-known thing about Spitzer, and really let Smith have it when the news came out that the two were dating. Because god forbid an adult man and adult woman have consensual sexy intercourse when one of them is single and sometimes talks to the mayor and the other one is separated from his spouse and also used to have sexy intercourse with professional sexy intercoursers sometimes. THIS SHALL NOT STAND. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT AND RELEVANT TO THE GOVERNMENT.
Via the Times:
The New York Post in particular continues to view Mr. Spitzer, six years after he resigned from the governor's office amid his sex scandal, the way J. Edgar Hoover viewed Communism. Writing in The Post on Christmas Eve, the columnist Andrea Peyser, who once called Christiane Amanpour a "war slut," forcing the paper's owner, Rupert Murdoch, to apologize, brought the full force of her girl-bashing animus down on Ms. Smith. "This is not just any ordinary bimbo," Ms. Peyser proclaimed in a column about Ms. Smith's relationship that proceeded beneath the title: "Give her the heave ho, de Blasio." And then, a few days later, he did, despite the almost therapeutic management style his progressive values would seem to embed and the symbol he has made of his own family's unconventional and complicated intimate choices and paths.
On Dec. 31, after a week of relentless tabloid coverage that included a Post cover with a picture of Ms. Smith and the headline "Ho! Ho! Ho!" she received a call from the mayor-elect's team, according to a friend who was with her at the time, telling her she was not going to get the job even though various attendant details had already been hammered out. No explanation was offered, the friend said; the reason was "self-evident."
Okay, first of all, fuck Andrea Peyser and fuck the New York Post . You're a bad person/newspaper with an ugly heart/printing press.
Second of all, I agree with the Times's Ginia Bellafante that women can be brutal on other women—"girl-bashing" isn't a myth. There's a certain competitiveness that women are conditioned to feel with other women (it's almost as though there are only so many token lady-positions to go around or something!), and that venom-laced divisiveness doesn't do any of us any favors. We should be building each other up, not tearing each other down, and all that. Yes, yes.
But I just want to stress real quick—because these conversations so often devolve into self-satisfied declarations of, "Yeah, women's real enemy is OTHER WOMEN!!!"—that placing the burden of fixing gender inequality solely on women's shoulders is absolute horseshit. Yeah, women can be competitive and catty, and internalized sexism is a deeply destructive issue that needs to be called out and stamped out whenever it's detected. But women's real enemy isn't other women, it's the system that pits women against one another to the passive benefit of men. What's worse—women being so "competitive" that they tear each other down for the few powerful positions that are made available to them, or men being so "competitive" that they hold the lion's share of those positions for themselves and leave "catty" women to fight over the scraps?
When you say things like, "Women's biggest problem is other women," what you're essentially saying is, "If we want to stop sexism, these bitches need to start being nicer." Yeah, maybe we do, but that doesn't absolve men of the obligation to fucking help.
Thanks in advance.