Election 2012 Sexism Watch #6: “Thank God” (She Kept Her Clothes On)

The senate race between Republican incumbent Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren has taken a sexist turn.  During last Tuesday’s debate, a college student posed this question to Warren:

“To help pay for his law school education, Scott Brown posed for Cosmo. How did you pay for your college education?”

Warren responded, “I kept my clothes on…I borrowed money.”

Scott Brown Posing Nude in Cosmo

The topic surfaced again a few days later when Brown was asked to respond to Warren’s comment on local radio station WZLX. His response? “Thank God” (she kept her clothes on), eliciting raucous laughter from the male disc jockeys in the studio.

This planned comment was certainly vetted by Brown’s campaign and had the double impact of belittling her physical appearance and reminding voters that women are first and foremost judged by their appearance, despite other accomplishments.

In this same interview, Brown went on to defend his decision to pose nude by painting Warren as an elitist. “Bottom line is, you know, I didn’t go to Harvard, you know, I went to the school of hard knocks, and I did whatever I had to do to pay for school,’’ he said.

But here’s the thing.  Elizabeth Warren did not attend Harvard. She’s the daughter of a janitor who started waiting tables when she was barely a teenager, and later worked and borrowed to pay her way through the University of Houston and Rutgers School of Law. Warren worked her way up to becoming a professor at Harvard Law School.

In addition to attending the school of “hard knocks,” Brown also attended Tufts University and Boston College School of Law.