Sarah Palin Sexism Watch: O’Reilly Edition

Good ol’ boy Bill O’Reilly was on The View yesterday and, in addition to being generally offensive and irritating, he also said the following in response to this seemingly innocuous question: “Why won’t Sarah Palin come on your program?”

I don’t know. I want her to come in. I have outfits she can wear.

Outfits she can wear? Is Bill betraying his own bizarre role playing fantasy featuring Palin on national television? Letting such a patronizing and objectifying sentence slip out of his mouth is just more proof that O’Reilly lacks the credibility that should be required of any national news host.
See the clip for yourself below:

*Taking a tip out of a 1970s anti-feminist rule book, Bill also recommends that Joy Behar “lighten up” about politics. Yeah, why can’t she just see it as one big, melodramatic performance with no consequences like he does? It makes for great ratings.

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31 Comments

  1. dorothyparker
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Not to excuse Billy Boy for anything offensive he ever says, but he was referring to the 150 thousand dollar budget she was given for purchasing her clothing for 3 months of campaigning. It was a big story yesterday.

  2. Courtney
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    But what sense does it make to say he has an outfit she can wear if she’s got $150,000 worth of outfits from the GOP? If it’s an attempt at being funny, then it failed. And even so, it’s just plain patronizing in tone.

  3. Bethany
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    wow. seriously? why don’t you be a little more condescending to those women, Bill.

  4. Posted October 23, 2008 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Courtney – Yes, I think it’s an attempt at being funny because so much has been made in the last 2 days about her wardrobe. It’s supposed to be auctioned off to benefit charity at some point. A lot are criticizing the expenditure from a campaign without a lot of cash flow. I assume he was saying “she can wear something from our wardrobe and won’t have to spend any money.”

  5. Posted October 23, 2008 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Although I avoid both The View and O’Reilly like the plague, the morning news show my husband was watching showed the clip in which he tells Joy to lighten up. It was right after he called Obama a communist. HE is the one overreacting, not her! Rrrrg, it pisses me off so much.

  6. victoria
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I really don’t think anyone can properly comment on Palin’s campaign clothing budget until we’ve seen the budgets for the other three candidates. I would imagine that they, too, have rather large expenditures.
    Not surprising that the first time this particular line item is discussed is when it’s a female candidate!

  7. Zardoz
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Maybe Bill was referring to the women’s clothes that he wears at home when he is having some quality alone time.

  8. wintermute
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Victoria: Yeah, the DNC started an investigation to see how much of donor’s money Obama and Biden had spent on clothes. The answer turned out to be none; they paid for them all themselves.
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/obama/1238030,CST-NWS-pside23.article

  9. TheBrawn
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Dancing with the Stars and American Idol as diversions around which people shouldn’t build their lives…
    I wonder what Mr. O’Reilly would have to say about the World Series. Or the Super Bowl. Or NHL playoffs or NBA finals or NCAA tournaments.
    Diversions around which people — oh that’s right, about 75% of white single men and 23% African American men — build their lives. Hmm.

  10. Sherashi
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Bill makes his money being inflammatory and it just happens to be a perk for him that he loves to live his life that way. He definitely has at least one sexual harassment scandal from his past. Any sane person would have learned from that and kept their mouth shut but he thinks it is still ok to capitalize on that behaviour. Basically, for him, this was pretty tame (which makes it all the more sad).

  11. xpattix
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    this is totally totally totally OUT OF CONTEXT!!
    they talked at hot topics(and other parts during the show) about the republicans giving Palin so much money for clothes. They ALL made jokes about it, not just Bill.
    Also, he wasnt’ telling joy to lighten up about politics- if anything, he was encouraging women to be more involved in politics (hence the dancing with the stars comments)….
    you guys are totally picking random quotes out of contexts…you’re being(almost) as bad as him.

  12. SueDoc
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    This is exactly the same as the jokes about John Edwards’ $1000 haircut (or whatever it was).

  13. Dino
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I don’t think that remark was off base. It was a way to reference the fact that the RNC has spent an ungodly amount money on Palin’s clothes and that she, by inference, is intensely, perhaps fanatically conscious about what she wears. Fair game and fairly done, as far as I can tell.

  14. Femgineer
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The sexism is not that he made a (terrible) joke about enticing Palin with outfits, but that the RNC found it necessary to spend $150,000 on clothing, makeup, and hair consulting.
    There is an article on cnn.com in which Campbell Brown comments on the fact that women get more criticism for their appearance than men, especially when they are in the public eye.
    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/22/campbell.brown.looks/index.html
    From me, O’Reilly gets a pass for that comment.
    HOWEVER, telling Joy to “be more joyful” is complete crap. He can go to sexist asshole hell. And I believe he was actually talking about her lightening up about politics, even though he gets very fired up when interviewing certain guests. So it’s ok for him to be so serious about his passions, but not a women…typical. *rolls eyes*

  15. Courtney
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    xpattix, I didn’t watch the whole show. As I’m sure you can imagine, all of the bloggers at feministing have full time jobs in addition to blogging here, so we don’t get a lot daytime TV watching in. I still believe that it was said with a patronizing tone.
    I also think you’re way off base with your comment about him encouraging women to get involved in politics. The women at The View are heavily involved in politics, as I recently wrote over at The American Prospect Online, and they take it seriously. He was essentially pulling the construction worker on the street tactic of telling a passing woman to “smile baby” when telling Joy to lighten up. It was offensive. Point blank.

  16. la potra
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I did see most of the show, and I don’t think those comments were taken out of context, particularly the one about Joy being more “joyful” and her being a kool-aid drinker. Elisabeth accused her of drinking the Obama kool-aid earlier in the show, and Bill O’Reilly ran with it. And that “be more joyful” crap was a completely transparent attempt to get her to stop expressing her opinions. It was rude and offensive, especially considering the fact that the women of the View seem to have found a way to ask their politician guests tough questions without yelling at them or berating them the way some pundits do.

  17. Cicada Nymph
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I think the outfits thing is not as bad as it appears since it is referencing what she spent on clothes and not him saying he would like to see her in sexy outfits which is what this post makes it look like his comment meant. Other than that, though, he’s obnoxious, patronizing and sexist in this clip (and pretty much every other one of him). When he told Joy that she should be “joyful” and made that face to mock her it reminded me of how men always tell women to “smile” in a condescending manner.

  18. Trees
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Femgineer, I saw Campbell Brown too, and I thought she was pretty off base for most of it. There’s no denying that women get judged more harshly for their appearances. But Gov. Palin’s wardrobe isn’t being criticized because she’s a woman. It’s being criticized because
    - $150,000 is a ton of money to spend on clothes (especially over the course of 2 months).
    -The RNC is begging members for donations, while they blow a ton on designer clothes
    - Her family got new clothes too ( few people would be judging her children by their wardrobes)
    - It’s at odds with her average hockey mom-Joe Six Pack persona
    - Biden, Obama, and McCain all paid for their own clothes. If the RNC was paying for John McCain’s Ferragamos, there would some criticism too. I don’t think Sen. Clinton’s pantsuits were cheap either. But their cost was never an issue, because she paid for them herself (not with campaign contributions).
    Also, I seem to remember tons of commentary on John Edwards’ $400 haircut (which he paid for himself). The media went on and on about whether or not he was a “pretty boy” and whether it contradicted his image as the populist, anti-poverty candidate. To a much lesser extent, I remember hearing about John McCain’s expensive Italian shoes.
    By the way, I don’t think they always intended to give the clothes to charity. If so, what was she going to wear when she became Vice President? And why was $4700 spent on hair and makeup (you can’t donate those things)? And why aren’t the clothes she wore as Governor good enough for her to wear as a Vice-Presidential candidate?

  19. bluekat13
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I watched the entire interview of Bill O’Reilly and honestly, I found him to be a complete sexist ass, mainly to Joy.
    what was with the nudge?

  20. maggie
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    every word he said was dripping with utter condescension. ugh. where does he get that ego? and the audience was eating it up…STOP ENCOURAGING HIM!!!

  21. Liz B.
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know why I watch Billy O’Reilly posts. He infuriates me to the point of insanity. But I guess its the same reason I went to see Ann Coulter when she came to Penn State. Its like a freaking car crash, how do you look away?
    BTW, I asked Ann Coulter how she reconciled her well-spoken contempt with democratic spending with the fact that George Bush is the biggest spender in 30 years. She said (to the crowd, more than to me) “This is why women shouldn’t vote.”

  22. ArmyVetJen
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    This ass says he puts people through the ringer on his show because “those people want power over you”.
    What about people he puts through the ringer just becuase he doesn’t agree with them?
    Like my friend Geoff, and Iraq War Vet, who was treated with utter disrespect.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCKkB32EL5E

  23. Femgineer
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Trees,
    I was going to write a long post about equality and different beauty standards. But honestly, I really don’t care how the RNC spends what little money it has.

  24. Trees
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Femgineer, I wasn’t criticizing your post, and I hope you didn’t interpret it that way. I agree with everything you said. I agree with some of what Campbell Brown said (women are, unfortunately, judged by their looks). I just thought Campbell Brown was making some false equivalencies (which she often does, in my opinion) by bringing up the male candidates.
    I think people would complain (to a lesser extent, but still) if the RNC spent $150,000 on McCain’s suits. I also think fewer people would complain if Palin bought the clothes herself (regardless of her average-hockey-mom image) or if the RNC spent a lot less money. I can believe that her wardrobe needed an upgrade, but $150,000 just sounds like a crazy amount of money to most Americans.

  25. aleks
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Where’s Whoopi Goldberg? The other four together are barely five times smarter than O’Reilly.
    As for the knock on Palin’s Imelda Marcosing, lighten up Feministing.

  26. Velderia
    Posted October 23, 2008 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    About time I register’d. I’ve always wanted to comment but it’s not liking the username I signed up with. Wtf.
    Anyway… Did Walters just say that Bill was moderate and never raised his voice? How can anyone miss that? He raises his voice as soon as he’s engaged with an argument with someone.

  27. Brittany-Ann
    Posted October 24, 2008 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Ugh, I made it about 0:45 in before stopping the video in disgust.

  28. justsarahbarah
    Posted October 24, 2008 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Even if O’Reilly was mocking Sarah Palin’s spending on her wardrobe, that is still sexist. You know why? Because public women are expected to achieve a very expensive level of dress and grooming (around the clock), yet then we’re allowed to mock them for that effort. That’s sexist.
    Sarah Palin is a wingnut, but she’s a very attractive and fashionable wingnut, and that level of fashion is damn expensive. As the daughter of a tailor who alters women’s designer dresses, I’m shocked that $150,000 is all she’s spent. I highly doubt she asked the McCain campaign to outfit her, but I’m not surprised they footed the bill. Dressing your candidate is a political expense to project an image. I’m not offended by the expenditure–I’m offended by her anti-choice, anti-welfare, anti-compassion policies. And, I’m offended by Bill O’Reilly…not that that’s a shocker.

  29. orangesoda
    Posted October 24, 2008 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Agree with the other comments that context was important here, given it was a hot topic and some reasonably valid points were brought up about the excess of it. Hasselbeck rebutted in typically aggressive style that it was no different to the money Obama spends on ads. Ah, right.
    Also agree the most sexist thing was how he condescended to Behar with the ‘joyful’ and ‘kool aid’ comments. He was mostly in a relatively jovial, less inflammatory mode and this somehow made his attempts to silence and control Behar all the harder to take. I also hated seeing the cycle of Hasselbeck regurgitating his usual Kool Aid line earlier, and then him taking the opportunity to hammer it in once he appeared. I totally admired Behar’s way of dealing with him though, treating him dismissively and wryly, and not getting rattled. Walters was also pretty tough on him, both rose above his paternalistic garbage.
    BTW, I think it’s worth noting the audience booed quite loudly when Hasselbeck made the Kool-Aid comment. From what I can tell the View audience is pretty conservative: they applauded McCain’s deflective diatribes on the importance of faith. And when Sherri Shepherd started out on the show and was about to divorce her husband after finding out he’d not only had a longterm affair but a baby with his lover, many viewers wrote in and begged her to take him back – sanctity of holy matrimony and all that. My point is that despite the polite laughter at O’Reilly, I take heart that such a demographic is outraged at Hasselbeck’s neo-con aggression and can see how low these tactics are.

  30. Liz B.
    Posted October 24, 2008 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Yeah, well, Hasselbeck is campaigning with Palin now, so we’ll get to see her get more face time. Ugh…. soooo irritated.

  31. BlackTrust
    Posted October 25, 2008 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Get over it people. The man was joking. Good or bad it was a joke. Stop being so sensitive and go do something constructive. Like the dishes.

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