Breaking: It’s Still Not Okay to Call Women “Whores”

Up north in Canada, the John Oakley Show got dragged down a pretty dark path when pundit Lou Schizas began speaking to AM640 listeners about Ontario New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath. You see, the supposed joke came when Schizas made note of the pronunciation of Horwath’s last name, and coupled that sound with his apparent distaste for her. According to a rough transcript, the conversation went like this:

Schizas: Just to get back to our previous quick quotes on Andrea Horwath. I think whore is the operative syllable there.

Oakley: Well, well let’s not take it that far.

Schizas: What do you mean? She was bought.

Oakley: (in agreement) Alright, bought and paid for. Alright, it’s pejorative.

Schizas: Alright, Sorry, I’ll take the hit.

Oakley: That’s alright.

Schizas: I’ll take the hit.

There are like, ninety-four different kinds of sexism going on here. Schizas begins with what most rational people would conclude is Not Okay: calling a woman a whore simply for not agreeing with him. He specifically attributes the title to Horwath because she’s a woman, first sexualizing and then degrading her. Knocking her down this far keeps the actual opinions of Horwath’s that Schizas disagreed with comfortably out of reach, so he never has to engage with them intellectually.

And perhaps worst of all, Schizas does this because he can. In the recording booth with John Oakley, on one of the most popular radio programs in the country, Schizas isn’t held accountable for his sexist takedown of Horwath. Instead, Oakley holds up his hands and averts his eyes, letting Schizas keep going as long as Oakley himself isn’t implicated. Schizas says he’ll “take the hit,” implying he knows full well he’s in big trouble and should probably really, really seriously consider retracting his statement, but that he stands by it anyway and will deal with whatever silly feminist flack comes back.

This whole mess isn’t just limited to one woman being lambasted for no reason. Schizas is putting down whole swaths of people here: Horwath herself, women as a group, opinionated women, and sex workers.

So moving forward, let’s all try a fun game where we can continue making puns (however mediocre they end up) about people’s names, but this time, we don’t make them wildly sexist and hurtful. Let’s stretch our imaginations that tiny bit, shall we?


Published by Katie Hegarty on 06/14/2013

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