US military veterans have written to Fox News to tell it that a sexist joke one of its hosts told was not cute. That’s good; let’s have more of that.
During Wednesday’s broadcast of “The Five,” co-hosts Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld ridiculed Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri, the first female UAE pilot and F-16 squadron commander leading airstrikes against ISIS.
“Problem is, after she bombed it, she couldn’t park it,” Gutfeld said. “Would that be considered boobs on the ground, or no?” Bolling followed up.
Herewith the letter:
Dear Mr. Bolling and Mr. Gutfeld,
We are veterans of the United States armed forces, and we are writing to inform you that your remarks about United Arab Emirates Air Force Major Mariam Al Mansouri were unwarranted, offensive, and fundamentally opposed to what the military taught us to stand for.
First, foremost, and most obvious to everyone other than yourselves, your remarks were immensely inappropriate. Your co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle was so right to call attention to an inspiring story of a woman shattering glass ceilings in a society where doing so is immeasurably difficult. We never heard an answer to her question: why did you feel so compelled to “ruin her thing?”
As it turns out, women have been flying combat aircraft since before either of you were born. Over 1,000 Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) flew during World War II. Seeing as U.S. Army Air Forces Commander “Hap” Arnold said “Now in 1944, it is on the record that women can fly as well as men,” we can probably guess he thought their parking was adequate. The WASP legacy reaches into the present day; on 9/11, then Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney scrambled her F-16. Completely unarmed, she was ready to lay down her own life to prevent further devastating attacks on American soil.
Thus the skill of women as fighter pilots is well established. And before you jump to the standby excuse that you were “just making a joke” or “having a laugh,” let the men amongst our number preemptively respond: You are not funny. You are not clever. And you are not excused. Perhaps the phrase “boys will be boys”—inevitably uttered wherever misogyny is present—is relevant. Men would never insult and demean a fellow servicemember; boys think saying the word ‘boobs’ is funny.
James Randi please note. The idea that this kind of thing is just “what guys do” is insulting to guys.
The less obvious implication of your remarks, however, is that by offending an ally and cheapening her contribution, you are actively hurting the mission. We need to send a clear message that anyone, male or female, who will stand up to ISIS and get the job done is worthy of our respect and gratitude.
We issue an apology on your behalf to Major Al Mansouri knowing that anything your producers force you to say will be contrived and insincere. Major, we’re sincerely sorry for the rudeness; clearly, these boys don’t take your service seriously, but we and the rest of the American public do.
And then an impressively large bunch of names.
Thank you, veterans.
Lady Mondegreen (aka Stacy) says
catof many faces says
That gives me the warm fuzzies 🙂
Marcus Ranum says
I highly recommend a look at the wikipedia entry on Hanna Reitsch; she was an amazing pilot who still holds several world records.
And though the name “The Night Witches” is sexist, the accomplishments of those insanely brave Soviet pilots included: scared the luftwaffe. Which is a pretty good accomplishment. According to wikipedia, they flew over 20,000 sorties in bombers.
Women have quite a history with bombers. The allies in WWII had “the bomber girls” – who shuttled aircraft from North America to Italy and England. They racked up some amazing flight mileage in the process. ( http://militaryhistorynow.com/2012/11/16/bomber-girls-the-women-fliers-of-world-war-two/ )
Good on those veterans for telling Fox where to get off, even though their defensiveness was a bit parochial.
I’m always a little saddened when I encounter women’s equality in participating in mankind’s oldest folly. But that in no way diminishes the courage of their deeds.
Emma Watson’s HeForShe in action
What I don’t understand is that is the Bad Old Sexist Dark Ages you would never have heard such a thing in any mass media. They *were* sexist. No question about that. But they had to keep the real grossness hidden. What changed?
And for information of the doofuses on teevee: parking an aircraft is easy. You just roll along the marked line and at the end there’s a person with those nice indicator lights for final maneuvering. Even Bolling and Gutfield would be able to follow the process.
Brian Murtagh says
My jaw dropped when I heard the clip where he said that. The fact that he wasn’t fired or indeed disciplined in any way makes me doubt that there is any lower bound on the kind of behaviour Fox News will tolerate if it is directed against their political enemies.
I confess I would be more impressed by it, though, if the number of women in the armed forces raped each year weren’t staggering.
These bozos should learn a little history – and a lot of respect. Women such as Lydia Litvyak and Yekaterina Budanova, both of whom became aces, were flying in combat in WW2. I seriously doubt Bolling and Gutfeld have that kind of accomplishment on their records. Many thousands of soviet women fought in combat in WW2. And many thousands were decorated for it. One of the soldiers who raised the red flag over the Berlin chancellery in 1945 was a woman. Now tell me what a couple of immature mysogynists at Fox have ever done.
Al Dente says
During the Great Patriotic War aka World War II eastern front almost all Soviet heavy artillery units consisted entirely of women. After the war, several hundred women were kept on active duty to teach men how to maintain the artillery they were inheriting from the women.
Great letter, perfectly pitched at the men, the network and (perhaps most importantly) to resonate with the network’s audience.
The “couldn’t park it” reference was pretty clearly aimed at the fact that women aren’t allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. However, it was obviously a ridiculous comment because the pilot is from the UAE, and of course it had an unintentional meaning regarding women’s driving skills.
Not defending the chump who made it, just want to help criticism be accurate.
Your interpretation seems pretty farfetched. They were just making a ‘women can’t drive’ joke. Nothing unintentional about it.
An explanation of the type ‘they wanted to bring up the problem of Saudi law about women drivers, but ended up aiming it at the wrong reason in a totally unrelated case’ is pretty farfetched. You might not be aware, but the jokes about women and parking are nothing new (and I’ve never heard one aimed at pressuring Saudi Arabia against the ban).
Was ‘boobs on the ground’ another super cryptic message to an unrelated middle eastern country as well?
There are women signers too, judging by the names.
But … is the sentiment that the armed forces men have more clout?
A Hermit says
…that’s my new mantra…
A Hermit says
Those FOX asses should be apologizing to their colleague Kimberly Guilfoyle too.
One of the many reasons I don’t watch FAUX NEWS.
I always get the feeling that REAL networks won’t hire them.
Damn! … I do love a good slap down in the morning.