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Brett Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, leave hand-in-hand after he finished testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in regards to sexual assault allegations on Sept. 27. Following a day of emotional and charged testimony—first by one of Kavanaugh's accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, then his own—President Trump tweeted that #Kavanaugh "showed America exactly why I nominated him." In his opening remarks, a visibly angry Kavanaugh forcefully denied the allegations. "His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting," Trump wrote. "Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!" Shortly after the hearing, #Republican senators said a committee vote on Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court would be held on Friday. Photograph by @davidbutow—@reduxpictures for TIME
In July last year, Christine Blasey Ford sent an anonymous letter to US Sen. Dianne Feinstein, alleging that Brett Kavanaugh, who had just been nominated by Donald Trump as Supreme Court Justice, sexually assaulted her more than three decades earlier. “It is upsetting to discuss sexual assault and its repercussions, yet I felt guilty and compelled as a citizen about the idea of not saying anything,” she wrote.
Around September, she had revealed her identity to the world. Despite public scrutiny and threats, she appeared before an all-male Republican committee and recounted the painful details of that assault on national television.
Though many women stood by her, in the end, Kavanaugh was confirmed. One might say it’s all for nothing. But it wasn’t. Dr. Ford became a #MeToo hero. Others might even point out her being part of the latest installment of TIME‘s 100 Most Influential People as a sort of consolation. California senator Kamala Harris wrote, “Her unfathomable sacrifice, out of a sense of civic duty, shined a spotlight on the way we treat survivors of sexual violence.” Adding, “Through her courage, she forced the country to reckon with an issue that has too often been ignored and kept in the dark.” We couldn’t agree more. But honestly, we wouldn’t be surprised if Dr. Ford and her family skip the celebrations for appearing in TIME’s Most Influential People. Can making the list really be considered an honor, seeing as her assaulter, Brett Kavanaugh, also made it? Yes—as effed up as it sounds—it’s true.
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Christine Blasey Ford is one of the 100 most influential people of 2019. “Through her courage," writes @kamalaharris, "she forced the country to reckon with an issue that has too often been ignored and kept in the dark.” Read more, and see the full #TIME100 list, at the link in bio. Photograph by @daniellelevitt for TIME
The question is why? Yeah, he’s a Supreme Court justice–but so are eight other individuals (Let’s be real, Ruth Bader Ginsberg deserves that spot better) Like GQ noted, “His actual tenure on the Court has not been particularly memorable, mostly because he has had few opportunities to make memories of note; to date, Kavanaugh has authored three majority opinions, two of which were decided unanimously.”
So what exactly earned him that covetable spot? Well, according to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, it was his “resilience and commitment to public service” which apparently was proven when his character was “tested” by Dr. Ford’s allegations. “When unhinged partisanship and special interests sought to distract the Senate from considering [his] qualifications, we saw other facets of Justice Kavanaugh’s character shine forth,” he wrote. Adding, “We saw his loyal devotion to family and friends. We saw his undeterred reverence for the law, for precedents and for our nation’s highest traditions.”
Really, TIME? Well, to be fair, being “influential” does go both ways. Page Six claims an insider from TIME insisted the list is about influence “for good or for ill.” Okay, we’ll take it. In the past, they have included names such Duterte and Trump. But that glowing writeup— well, that was disappointing. I think they got mixed up, and the “influence” they’re referring to is the fact that he’s somewhat responsible for increasing “hostile sexism” in the US.
A new study by PerryUndem, a nonpartisan research firm, reveals that after the Kavanaugh hearings, 68 percent of Republican men, specifically, agreed that “most women interpret innocent remarks or acts as being sexist.” It’s important to note that in 2017, only 47 percent felt the same way. In addition, only 45 perfect of Republican men said that sexism was a problem in American society—a stark change from 63 percent in 2017. Not to mention, their support for women making sexual assault claims, rather than the man being accused, dropped from 80 percent in 2017 to a mere 59 percent in December 2018.
And sadly, majority of the survey’s respondents predicted women would have a harder time being believed post-Kavanaugh.
Exclusive: New data shows that over time (even) more people believed Christine Blasey Ford, that hearings may have motivated Dems more than Republicans — and that they made Republican men more sexist and less likely to believe victims. @PerryUndem https://t.co/IEq1sQH8DC
— Irin Carmon (@irin) April 16, 2019
However, the study did have some postive results, namely that the hearings “made voters reflect on gender inequality,” and it “caused about a third of parents to talk with their children about sexual assault and consent as well.”—which, if anything, are just further proof of Dr. Ford’s POSITIVE influence.
If there’s anything we can learn from this unfortunate list, it’s that male privilege still reigns supreme in our society, and blatantly so. Dr. Ford risked her name, even her life—to avoid putting a sexual predator in a higher seat. Like Sen. Harris wrote, “[Her ambition wasn’t to become a household name or make it onto this list. She had a good life and a successful career—and risked everything to send a warning in a moment of grave consequence.” Meanwhile, all Kavanaugh did was preserve his name and power. Sen. McKonnel mentioned his “commitment to public service,” his “loyal devotion to family and friends.” and “undeterred reverence for the law”—all these things expected from a public servant—and especially from a Supreme Justice. It shouldn’t be the golden standard, really.
Obviously, while some are pressured to claim themselves allies of women and the marginalized, in the end, (white) powerful men are still revered and put on a pedestal, regardless of their morals. Sadly, mainstream media—even those we view as “progressive”—become enabling tools of that.
Photo courtesy of TIME’s Instagram account
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