On Wednesday, a progressive organization called The Young Turks uploaded a video of Hasan Piker criticizing Tomi Lahren, who is a well-known conservative television host. In the video, Piker takes issue with a number of statements that Lahren has made.
The video was presented as an enlightened response to Lahren’s supposed unintellectual bloviating, but it was little more than a gender-oriented attack on Lahren herself. Not only did Piker entreat Lahren to “DM” him several times throughout the video, he also undermined her intelligence using gender-based ad hominem attacks.
For example, at 2:22 in the video below, Piker accused Lahren of having a cringe-worthy fake laugh, then said at 4:20 that she is a “cringier” version of a high-school mean girl. Piker closed the video by beseeching Lahren once more to consider dating him, which I think was supposed to come off as hilarious, but actually struck me as a little creepy.
This video was not Piker’s first attempt to demean and delegitimize Lahren. A few weeks ago, The Young Turks uploaded videos of Piker mocking Lahren for her refusal to support the recent Women’s March on Washington. Piker’s criticism of Lahren in that video was especially ironic because he posed as a supporter of women’s rights, yet he spent most of the video commenting on Lahren’s attractiveness instead of addressing the content of her arguments. Watch that video below:
I know Piker’s supporters will argue that his frequent comments on Lahren’s attractiveness are jokes, but they are condescending jokes that he obviously wouldn’t be making toward Lahren if she were male. I also think it is difficult to deny that Lahren is an attractive woman, so Piker’s comments, whether intended to be jokes or not, certainly have the effect of undermining Lahren based solely on her looks.
About halfway through the video that Piker made regarding the Women’s March, he mentions, “I think you’re kinda cute,” referring to Lahren, and then tells her to “dm” him. Obviously, Piker would never say something like that in a video deconstructing the argument of a male conservative. In fact, he’s demeaning Lahren based on her looks and her gender, despite the fact that he’s supposedly trying to create a ‘feminist’ video.
Around 3:10 in that same video, Piker also accuses Lahren of “just trying to say what Glenn Beck would say,” which is another seemingly sexist statement that implies Lahren is incapable of generating her own ideas and opinions. Piker also states at around 3:50 that Lahren is only popular with the “MAGA crowd” because men who like Trump are sexually attracted to her, which represents a further mockery of Lahren and her success.
Finally, with about thirty seconds left in the video, Piker deploys his most condescending remarks thus far, and implies Lahren is a traitor to her gender for refusing to support Planned Parenthood — as if he has the right to tell women what they should believe. He concludes the video by assuring Lahren that Trump supporters do not “love” Lahren the way he could, and gestures that Lahren should call him.
The fact that Piker’s videos are popular and widely shared, despite their rather sexist content, tells us something disturbing about American progressives. Piker and his ilk don’t actually object to sexism. If they did, they wouldn’t deploy it as a weapon against anyone, even those they disagree with.
Instead, progressives selectively participate in sexism and stereotyping of women to gain political advantage. Throughout his videos, Piker relies on dated stereotypes of attractive women as air-headed in order to advance his argument and undermine Lahren without substantively responding to anything she says.
People like Piker undermine the intelligence and independence of women using the same vocabulary that they call “misogynist” when it is used by conservatives. For reasons beyond me, many supposed “feminists” don’t recognize how hypocritical that behavior is. It is my opinion, then, that feminists should not view progressives as their heroes, because anyone who uses sexist stereotypes to their advantage does not really care about achieving equality.