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Category: Great Women, Media Monitoring

She’s Not a “Danish Pastry,” Pat Buchanan—She’s the Prime Minister of Denmark

December 22, 2013


On this week's The McLaughlin Group, Pat Buchanan nominated as his top photo op of 2013 "Obama, at the Mandela funeral, flirting with that Danish Pastry, while Michelle gives her thousand-yard stare." The video below is cued to the eye-popping moment at 14:28:

Pat, what you meant to say was "Her Excellency the Prime Minister of Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt," and you owe Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt an apology.

Eleanor Clift, thankfully, didn't miss a beat as she corrected the insult, and how right she is when she says "Pat needs a little educating on how to talk to women." But as she did so, John McLaughlin doubled down on the sexist fun when he pushed back against her correction off-camera with "Have you seen her picture?" There could be no clearer evidence of the way in which even "positive" comments about the appearance of a woman in politics end up having a negative effect.

As Media Matters pointed out on December 11, right-wing media began a campaign of objectification of the Danish Prime Minister the day of Nelson Mandela's funeral—which apparently hasn't stopped yet. It's tremendously disrespectful to the woman who is the first to have the job of Prime Minister in Denmark, and it's a sad reminder that neither power nor position insulates women from degrading sexist attacks. Indeed, it's easy to come to the conclusion that those who participate in such behavior are simply signaling the extent to which they feel threatened by women of accomplishment.