Why Women Will Persist In the Aftermath of Kavanaugh

The Wild Word magazine
5 min readOct 11, 2018

By Maria Behan — SPOTLIGHT

As I watched Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh rant and weep in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee two weeks ago, I asked myself what, exactly, I was seeing — and why it was both so pathetic and so frightening. Then it struck me: I was witnessing the death throes of white male privilege. Death throes are seldom pretty — and apparently that’s especially true when aging frat boys are involved. Kavanaugh’s demeanor veered between outrage, self-pity, and sniveling like you’ve never seen sniveling before. As one CNN commentator observed, if a woman behaved that way, she’d be escorted from the Senate in a straight jacket.

Born far up on the ladder of Republican privilege, young Brett swung easily up the rungs that brought him to Yale and beyond, his Beatles ‘do unruffled despite the underage drinking, puking, and other nefarious activities we’ll likely never know much about because as the middle-aged Brett quipped a few years back, “What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep.”

We can all get a little misty recalling scenes from our lost youths, but the injudicious judge turned it up to 11 during his Senate testimony as he blubbered and pined for the good old days of brewskis with Squee and “lifting weights with other guys at Tobin’s house.” His behavior struck me as pitiful and disqualifying in the context of hearings determining eligibility for a lifetime appointment to one of the most consequential offices in our nation. But to the all-male, all-white, all-privileged Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, Judge Kavanaugh was warbling their favorite tune. His delivery may have been off-key, but to them, it was sweet, sweet music: an ode to the days when maleness and prep school privilege meant they were untouchable by lesser humans, especially women.

What most of us, especially women, saw as an embarrassing and disqualifying performance stiffened those Republican senators’ spines, and perhaps other parts of their anatomy. They’d been downcast after Christine Blasey Ford’s heroic testimony that morning, forced to face the reality that a credible charge of sexual assault might actually bring down one of their own. But Kavanaugh’s weepy defiance put the lead back in their pencils, reminding them of the days when any…

The Wild Word magazine