Thursday, April 15, 2021
News + Politics The Chron decides Jane Kim's love life is big...

The Chron decides Jane Kim’s love life is big news

SF's daily paper shows a stunning sexist attitude toward a woman who is running for office

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A day after Supervisor Jane Kim spoke to a packed auditorium full of supporters about housing and transportation policy, the Chronicle (which ignored the forum) posted a big story that would change Kim’s politics forever. The in-depth piece talks about an important aspect of Kim’s politics, and that of any other female politician — her love life.

At long last, the important question about whether Kim is dating has now been answered. We can all rest easy now. After all, what’s an election without subtle sexism?

Forget her qualifications for office, lets talk about who Jane is dating!
Forget her qualifications for office, lets talk about who Jane is dating!

Did you find yourself up at night wondering whether Kim would ever find a man, because of course this would have a direct impact on her work on ensuring and protecting the rights of tenants in the city or making sure the budget is spent correctly?  It’s simple — how can a woman ever think about housing policy without focusing on building a home and a family for herself? With a man on her side Kim will now make these decisions more confidently. Heck yeah, she’s now responsible enough for the Senate too.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill told  Cosmopolitan about some of these challenges in 2015: “I had a pair of jeans that I wore to a legislative softball game and there were a number of my colleagues that would come up to me every day and say, ‘When are you gonna put those tight jeans on again?'”

The story by Matier and Ross refers to the state Senate hopeful as the “onetime law student,” of the man she is dating; all hail “young woman dates old professor” fetishes. Never mind that the age gap between them is about six years and no matter when they apparently started dating both individuals were well within the age of consent.

The piece goes to length to describe the work and credibility of the man Kim is supposedly dating — but her qualifications are an afterthought. The most pressing argument in the piece is whether or not she’s responsible for breaking the marriage, without a thought on the man himself or his former wife having played any role in the demise of their own marriage.

Forget her two terms on the School Board, her time on the Board of Supes ,her work as a civil rights lawyer and community organizer: Kim’s biggest qualification is that she’s successfully dating a man.

Then there’s the case of the comparison between Kim’s alleged relationship with a previously married man and that of repeatedly disgraced Anthony Weiner. It’s a solid case if you look at it, of course, because two consenting adults deciding to end their marriage and moving on to new partners is pretty similar to a disgraced former mayoral candidate who can’t stop himself from sending dick pics to women online, not even when his 4-year old son is lying beside him in bed. And the collection of these “scandals” are directly linked to the Clinton campaign because a woman presidential hopeful should at least be capable of keeping her women in check.

The epidemic of homelessness, police brutality, corruption, teachers unable to live in the city, are all issues of the past San Francisco; apparently, America’s biggest problem today is women’s politicians and what goes on and between their legs.

Sexism is more insidious when it’s implied because it is consumed beyond the realm of consciousness. Blatant sexism can be dealt with, but it’s the subtler sexist cues that need to called out and quashed. What’s happening here is aversive sexism and it needs to end.

Sana Saleem
Sana Saleem is a writer with a focus on social justice and human stories. She's member board of advisory for the Courage Foundation, Edward Snowden's legal defense fund.

63 COMMENTS

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  12. Is that Rose Pak the Boss Tweed of San Francisco, standing behind Kim.

    It’s always nice to have a power broker who has never been elected to public office in your corner.

  13. Sorry Sana, dead wrong on this one. As a woman, I am tired of women rushing to victimhood. You really think male politicians love lives haven’t been probed and exposed? Covering this story isn’t sexist. She is having an affair with a married man who has young children – full stop. Judge or don’t judge. The fact that this is the second Clinton staffer who has a cheating husband is newsworthy, no matter how you slice it. Kim had better be prepared for this to go national. Did she really think politics was clean arena? Stop calling it sexism and own it.

  14. What about the incessant coverage of Gavin Newsom’s love life? Was that sexist too, or is it only sexist when a woman is being talked about?

    Oh… and what about the coverage of Goodwin Liu’s love life? I clicked on the link, and I read this as a story primarily about Goodwin Liu. He is, after all, the highest official named in the story, and therefore the one with the most to lose. But I guess no one pays attention to the harm done to men by such stories.

  15. I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. I just think the Chron hasn’t written about any of the more embarrassing elements of Scott Weiner’s luv life even though they could have. When there’s a gap between the kind of coverage men and women receive, then I think it’s worth thinking about whether or not that may be the result of sexism.

  16. On the matter of whether the coverage is ‘sexist’, I’m not convinced. Read the article again.

    If it were, say, Weiner, or another fellow who was single and got in-between a couple who were separating … and there were the whole teacher-student prior relationship … you don’t think something would be made of it? Its salacious indeed.

    That it just happens to be a gal glomming onto an older guy (now if it were a YOUNGER guy, that coverage – I would say – would be sexist!, as that is the usual articulation for men’s paramours) is to be expected; but still note-worthy given the timing.

    Its curious that Jane feels the need to jump into a relationship that’s bed is still warm, when she has enuf on her plate trying to run a political campaign. Anthony Weiner’s behavior reflects poorly on the Clinton campaign, as any scandal does. That Kim seems to wind up tainted by another Clinton scandal is just … bad ‘luck’?

  17. Oh I totally agree. There are three question here: “Is the Chron’s coverage sexist?;” “Is this tawdry gossip fun to read?” and “Could this have unfairly negative consequences?”

    I think the answer to all three is yes.

  18. Personally i don’t think it looks good for either Liu or Kim. As Liu seems to have more to loose (SCOTUS nomination?!), makes me cringe.

    There is Impropriety, and then there is the Appearance of Impropriety. Its like saying “its not the crime, its the coverup”. From what we’ve heard, it seems that Kim – however innocent – comes up to close behind a car-wreck. But, Luv is blind.

  19. That’s one way to look at it. Another way is to take her statement at face value. That would be consistent with your observation that the only parties responsible for the state of the Liu-O’Leary home are Liu and O’Leary.

  20. That’s one way to look at it. Another way would be to take it at face value, which would be consistent with your observation that only Liu and O’Leary are responsible for the state of their relationship.

  21. That was the shadiest thing ever, which I looove. The best way to make folks think it’s Jane Kim’s fault is to say “it had nothing to do with Jane Kim.” It’s like, “How did that fire start, you ask? Well, it had nothing to do with this lighter fluid over hear. Nope nothing at all.”

  22. Thoughtful comments. And if I recall correctly, O’Leary was quoted as saying that Kim was not responsible for the breakup.

  23. Agree to disagree on that one. The only parties responsible for the state of the Liu-O’Leary home are Liu and O’Leary. Trying to make Kim responsible for another person’s marriage is unfair. Also, some folks would find attending a fetish party just as scandalous as dating a married man. Both items are tabloid-esque in nature and exist only to allow the reader to cast moral judgement on the subject. Covering one and not the other is sexist. Covering neither would be showing good taste.

  24. There’s a difference btw looking-for-luv and wrecking a home. Everybody is lookin-for-luv; not all go to the extent of (inferentially) separating parents to try to find it.

  25. Jeesh, I didn’t realize Jane was 39?!

    Jane is probably not the best of news for Liu either. Just another hurdle to a Senate confirmation.

    What DID she say at the housing forum? They didn’t mention much in the other article.

  26. Agreed. Kim’s treatment was sexist.

    I can’t decide if it was newsworthy or not. Is it newsworthy that O’Learly, who has some national significance, specifically named a local pol in her joint statement? Liu is also a local. It’s definitely gossipy. Maybe newsworthy, maybe not.

    The authors do mention the ages, and do talk about Kim’s resume (civil rights attny, school board, and BOS), but those are not on the forefront like O’Leary or Liu’s.

    The real test for me is that Scott Wiener did not/has not received the same treatment. He was photo’d at Dore Alley wearing a leather harness, and he’s an active Tindr user. I’m not trying to shame him, but these facts are as worthy of publication as those about Kim. The fact that Kim’s love life is in the papers and Weiner’s isn’t (despite the presence of gossipy/tawdry details for both) is proof of that sexism.

    If the Chon wants to print salacious gossip, that’s up to them, but they should do so with equal opportunity.

    Note: Matier and Ross also published a story about John Avalos having an affair w/ a staffer, which is slightly different (a public official potentially abusing his authority is news). http://blog.sfgate.com/matierandross/2014/07/16/s-f-supervisor-avalos-admits-affair-with-top-staffer/

  27. The Chron article was a pretty typical example of media voyeurism — due to all parties involved being (minor) public figures — but hardly sexist.

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