Well, you did dare to speak in public, so I guess you deserve this

Remember Katherine Fenton, the young woman who asked the candidates a question about the gender pay gap during Tuesday’s debate? The one who gave Barack Obama the chance to remind us that the first law he ever signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and gave Mitt Romney the chance to give us all a great meme (and also invent a story about his track record of hiring women)? Well, because that 24-year-old woman had the nerve, the audacity, to ask about gender inequality – IN PUBLIC, OUT LOUD – she’s now the target of attacks on the right.

I’m not going to link to the Free Beacon, the conservative site that yesterday put up a post about Fenton – with no author byline, real classy move – because I don’t want to give them the traffic. But Free Beacon has taken to Fenton’s Twitter feed in an attempt to find tweets that will discredit her. And as we all know, the best way to discredit a woman in America is to call her a slut (it’s a tie with “fat” and “ugly,” and you get extra Douchebag Points if you can do all three). From Raw Story:

The article, published anonymously, alleged that Katherine Fenton’s Twitter account “reveals that purple Joose is her choice to get blackout drunk and she has a history of getting wet at happy hour.” The article also highlights sexually suggestive messages Fenton allegedly sent from her Twitter account.

The Twitter account cited in the article no longer exists.

Yeah, you take that, 24-year-old kindergarten teacher who wants to be paid as much as a man doing the same job! Now you’ll think twice before publicly voicing an opinion, you slutty slut slut! You’re lucky we let you vote, you drunken hussy!

Irin Carmon at Salon had an interview with Fenton yesterday, in which Fenton said that she didn’t feel either candidate answered her question, and that she’s still an undecided voter. One thing I bet she’s not undecided about, though, is that this shit is uncool.

According to that interview, Fenton doesn’t consider herself a feminist, but let me tell you something, Katherine: if a 24-year-old man had stood up and asked a question that conservatives didn’t like, they wouldn’t pull this kind of stunt. They wouldn’t bring up his drinking and throw around sexual innuendo about him, because in our culture, drinking and fucking make men more powerful, not less.

This shit is sexist, and feminism is the fight against sexism. You might not consider yourself one of us, Katherine, but we’ve got your back anyway.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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