It’s The Patriarchy, Stupid.

In 2008 I was watching a video of a Hillary Clinton speech in which a man in the audience pops up with a sign that reads ‘IRON MY SHIRT’ in big letters, and he shouts “IRON MY SHIRT! IRON MY SHIRT!” at her, over and over. Clinton eventually gives up trying to ignore him and says something about the remnants of sexism being alive and well. She confronts him with class but she sounds tired. She’s been here before. I found this video strange because, when you remove all context, the words ‘iron my shirt’ are kind of funny. It’s almost Monty Python-esque in its absurdity. It’s like someone showing up at a political debate with a sign that reads ‘I LIKE DORITOS!’ Everyone enjoys a silly sign, they add levity. But the man in the video is not silly. He is not giggling like an imbecilic schoolboy, as I first expected. He is furious. He is fucking livid. He is loudly spitting those words at her. “IRON MY SHIRT! IRON MY SHIRT!” This is weird, I thought. He really means it. Right then my trusty privilege force field slipped for a second and I understood the following:

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