A recent editorial cartoon by Brian Fairrington elicited a response from the National Organization of Women for a depiction of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan wearing buttons displaying “Never Married,” “No Kids,” “Boys are icky!” and “Kill Baby Kill.” The feminist organization felt that the cartoon played into speculations regarding Kagan’s sexual orientation.
Lesbian-baiting is designed not only to harm the person being “smeared” but to send a warning to other women that it could happen to them, too. It’s just another intimidation tactic. And the media, with it’s love for all things titillating, goes along either dumbly or complicitly (sic).
Comments on Kagan’s experience, qualifications, philosophy and ideology are fair game and should give the media plenty to talk about. But her appearance and sexual orientation should be out of bounds.
Daryl Cagle, who syndicates Brian, asked for a response and Brian wrote:
The cartoon was done with the notion that Elena Kagan was chosen in part for her perceived credentials but also for the fact that she is a woman.
Sandra Day O’Connor was chosen based on her credentials but also because she was a woman. Sotomayor was chosen in part because she was a woman but also in part so that the court could have someone of Hispanic origins sit on the bench and fill in the long-standing gap in their representation.
Elena Kagan sexual orientation should not be a factor in deciding if she is qualified to sit on the highest court the land, unless of course the Obama Administration were attempting to nominate the first gay Supreme Court Justice.
The problem with that is that Kagan herself has stated several times that she is in fact not gay. Since she claims she is not gay then does she represent the other 48% of other woman at large? Could she adequately understand and sympathize with issues that may come before the court involving situations facing the average America woman? Cases on child custody? Abortion? Equal treatment of women in the private sector?
Kagan has never been married, had any children or worked in the private sector, as most modern women have at some point in their lives do, and more often that not they do all three simultaneously. Does this mean she cannot decide fairly on women’s issues that may arise if she were seated on the bench? Perhaps, perhaps not.
Consequently, just like Sandra Day O’Connor who was married, raised children and did in fact work in the private sector, there must be other possible candidates out there who have more in common with the average American woman than Elena Kagan?
Of course if it were to come out that she were indeed a lesbian then perhaps she would in fact represent more members of this underrepresented group with greater accuracy. Unfortunately, since she is not gay she in fact really represents no one.