November 7, 2011

Sexual "Hermaneutics": Bialek Accuses Cain


Am I supposed to take this seriously, exploring its importance in terms of: gender roles and gender politics; or the ethics of the GOP candidates and the height of that bar; or the specific character of Herman Cain? Am I supposed to delve into the optics of the white blonde woman who was propositioned by the powerful black executive, and the disapproving expression of the famous legal defender of wronged women? Or, is this primarily a visual which, on a slow news day, serves as info-tainment, a bit of a buzz and a distraction from things that matter more?

Update: I appreciate the critique from the readership for being dismissive, and also failing to wrestle with the visual.  (I might have been thrown by the FOX, NY Post and the double-helping of TMZ). Here are some more specific thoughts:

1. Hate to say it, but a lot of people are going to judge the former Revlon employee and former TV cooking show co-host on that full figure and all the blonde hair.

2. Bialek loses something as an independent voice standing next to the TV personality and big game hunter, Ms. Allred. How much more effective would this scene have been if  Nathan Goldberg, Allred’s law partner, was standing beside Ms. Bialek, or between her and Gloria? She’s baggage.

3. Because almost everything political these days seems to share some resonance with the Occupy movement, Ms. Bialek’s accusations function as one more indictment of corporate culture. And, to the extent that culture remains male-dominated, her presence only emphasizes how much Cain and other executive 1%-ers (boys with their toys) feel they can play by their own set of rules.

4. Like “futurebird” below, I’m also curious how the racial politics play out. If this allegation (by a white, blonde Republican, and former fundraiser for Easter Seals) was directed at a black Democrat, I imagine we’d see a racist subtext running through involving black male hyper-sexuality and lust for white women. Because Cain’s constituency is primarily a white conservative audience, however, I think the dynamics are a little different. If conservatives rally around him, I imagine this will make Republican’s even more color-blind when it comes to Cain. On the other hand, if the allegations, from Bialek and others, do stick, I could see how Cain’s skin color and those racist stereotype might suddenly become a whole lot more present in the mind of those right-wingers.

(Note: post retitled from: “Cain Grabbed My Genitals”)

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

The Big Picture

Follow us on Instagram (@readingthepictures) and Twitter (@readingthepix), and


A curated collection of pieces related to our most-popular subject matter.


Comments Powered by Disqus