Judging Meghan McCain

Freedom of speech is guaranteed to all Americans.  Freedom from judgment is not.

Consider the great décolletage debacle of ’09.

Meghan McCain threatened to delete her popular Twitter feed Wednesday night after receiving a torrent of comments about the revealing photo she posted.  Although many reactions were complimentary, some were negative and offensive, calling the Daily Beast columnist a “slut” and admonishing her for displaying considerable cleavage.  She wrote:

so I took a fun picture not thinking anything about what I was wearing but apparently anything other than a pantsuit I am a slut, this is … why I have been considering deleting my twitter account, what once was fun now just seems like a vessel for harassmentI am going to take some more time to think about it but seriously I was just trying to be funny with the book and that I’m a dork staying in … when I am alone in my apartment, I wear tank tops and sweat pants, I had no idea this makes me a “slut”, I can’t even tell you how hurt I am

Calling Meghan McCain a slut is infantile and idiotic no matter how skimpy her tank top.  It’s a nasty, overused pejorative that only reflects poorly on people who fling it around. Much like calling a woman a mashed-up bag of meat, it has no place in polite discourse.

But Twitter isn’t prime time television and there’s no promise or expectation that every interaction will be polite. For the famous and infamous, it’s a vicious celebrity gauntlet, not a genteel afternoon tea party.  Every tweet, every Twitpic, is an open invitation asking other Twitter users what they think of you. And sometimes they think you’re a slut.

Meghan McCain knows this.  In fact, that’s why celebrities like McCain use Twitter.  It’s a gargantuan, interactive global advertising platform offering unlimited promotion for the low, low price of $0.00.

I’ve followed Meghan McCain on Twitter for the better part of a year.  She’s done a brilliant job of building a large following she can leverage to promote her upcoming book.  In part, she does well with Twitter because of her penchant for oversharing, and for spitting invective at conservative bloggers and commentators.  She’s not afraid to dish it out, but can she take it?

Apparently not.  And that’s fine.  No one is forcing Meghan McCain to endure the trials and tribulations of fame.  Living in the media spotlight requires a thick skin.  Hell, even writing a blog with open comments places you in the line of fire.  Whether it’s your ideas or your body, when you put yourself out there for the world to see and hear, you’re going to get criticized.  A lot.  Plenty of it will seem unfair, and some of it will make you want to bring up your lunch or crawl back into bed.  Right or wrong, good or bad, it’s the price we pay for participating in the marketplace of ideas.  There’s no invisible rider on the First Amendment that promises to protect the thin-skinned from vile and demeaning criticism.

I’d love it if no woman had to suffer the stinging indignity of having her virtue called into question based on the size of her breasts or the way she dresses.  Been there, done that, and it sucks. If a public figure like Keith Olbermann had something foul to say about Meghan McCain, I’d be dialing up MSNBC to complain.  But there’s not much to be done about lonely strangers tweeting insults as they masturbate to the thought of Meghan McCain crying into her cleavage. She can ignore them or ridicule them, but they’ll always be there.

Meghan McCain has two choices: toughen up or drop out.  Expecting the world to stop judging her is not an option.

Update: Sister Toldjah and The Other McCain link. Thanks!


12 Responses to “Judging Meghan McCain”

  1. bandit on October 16th, 2009 9:51 am

    Drop out of what? Other than being a quasi-celebrity because she’s McCain’s daughter what is she doing?

  2. sluset on October 16th, 2009 11:14 am

    Meghan Mccain breasts make twitter scandal photo.
    She is so stupid she does not understand why people dislike her. Why?
    She is a tremendous example of the privilege that the idiot children of the rich receive

  3. Jenn Q. Public on October 16th, 2009 5:41 pm

    bandit, she’s writing a book, doing guest hosting stints on The View, and filing a weekly column for the Daily Beast. She’s no longer off limits for being a politician’s kid. She’s a public figure and it’s her choice whether she wants to fade from public life or continue to put herself out there.

  4. hotspur666 on October 16th, 2009 5:58 pm

    Jane Mansfield once said:
    “They can badmouth me all they want as long
    as they are mouthing about me”(or something similar…)
    Trolls will usually say far, far worse things about just anyone!

    Thin skin = big ego, is what most will conclude.

  5. Mwalimu Daudi on October 16th, 2009 9:49 pm

    When, oh, when, will Meghan McCain’s 15 minutes of fame be up? Her father already did enough damage to the country without her chipping in her 2-cents worth.

  6. Wallace on October 16th, 2009 10:27 pm

    I agree calling her a slut is dumb. However, her defense is pretty dumb too.

    when I am alone in my apartment, I wear tank tops and sweat pants

    Yeah, but when you take a picture and put it on the net, the argument “alone in my apartment” no longer applies. For sure, I wouldn’t take a fun picture of me in the bathroom, put it on the Net and then go around saying “but I was alone in my own bathroom”.

  7. Janis on October 17th, 2009 7:34 pm

    The thing I love is how most of the guys who are giving her a hard time for having them would probably sell their grandmothers down the river to get their hands on the things. Tits — men love playing with `em almost as much as they love holding them in utter contempt!


  8. Jenn Q. Public on October 17th, 2009 10:29 pm

    Janis, from what I’ve seen, straight women are being at least as hard on her as men. It’s not an impulse I pretend to understand, and it bugs the hell out of me.

  9. Janis on October 19th, 2009 7:33 pm

    Jenn, I can believe it. We all saw what other women did to both Hillary and Sarah. I don’t get it, either — and I definitely don’t respect it.

  10. Ymarsakar on October 20th, 2009 5:10 pm

    It just means men and women are both humans. They may have different motivations, but their behaviors congeal at the same basic common denominator: low.

  11. P on October 21st, 2009 12:24 am

    I could see her “being comfortable” in a tank top if her bra was a little um, less uplifting. I am married to a woman with certain endowments. Often, if we’re driving a long way home she comes out of her bra in an odd dance she does keeping her shirt on. Then, of course, she refuses to get out of the car, whether or not we stop at a supermarket.

    Anyway, I showed her that picture and she was all “no way” about comfortable at home. Having said that, neither of us would have, or would, call her a slut. Unless she did the whole Cardinals Offense in one night or something. Slut, no. Dingbat, OTH, yeah.

  12. Janis on October 22nd, 2009 7:33 pm

    Ymarsakar, I’d just say that it means that both men and women hate women.

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