Is Maureen Dowd Mocking Elena Kagan For Being Too Butch?

In an uber-ironic article New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote an e-mail as Vice President Joe Biden endorsing Supreme Court nominee Elana Kagan as “a girl’s girl… [who has] never been spotted at Home Depot or the Meow Mix bar.” Dowd’s definitely mocking the way that the administration has drawn additional attention to Kagan’s sexuality by repeatedly calling it unworthy of discussion and Dowd’s also mocking those who are obsessed with Kagan’s ambiguous sexuality. But has Dowd’s satire missed its targets and instead hit Kagan for being too butch?

Everyone’s speculating on Kagan’s sexuality not only because of her dyke-haircut and the fact that Americans are disproportionately obsessed with other people’s genitals, but because (in Maureen’s words) Kagan is “a garden-variety, sad, scary, single, childless career woman who can’t get a man because she’s too smart, works too much and refuses to settle.” In America if you’re 50-years-old without a man and kids you must be a lesbian—it’s called sexual typing and misogyny and it certainly didn’t go away with Hilary and Sarah running for office; if anything we never even discussed what their candidacy meant for American women the same way that Obama discussed the significance of American race, but I digress.

Dowd’s parody of Biden’s e-mail is especially interesting because Biden’s real e-mail about Kagan praised the candidate for her qualifications and made no mention of her sexuality. Of course, reducing Kagan to a purely sexual level, praising her for the diversity she would bring to the Supreme Court, and yet acting as if her sexuality is somehow inappropriate for discussion is all a farce that merely distracts from the larger questions about expanded presidential powers, First Amendment restrictions, immigration, and economic issues that will effect us all once she’s appointed.

Dowd knows this and she’s decided to give those pre-occupied with Kagan’s sexuality exactly what they want, a straight-forward answer. But even if Biden himself had vouched for Kagan’s straightness by swearing that she’s the girliest girl from Girlville, it still wouldn’t tell us anything more useful about her sexuality than that dumb photograph of her playing softball did.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #politics #elenakagan #lesbian stories and more


  • christopher di spirito

    Elena Kagan is Mama Cass Eliot’s doppelganger.

  • Joey O'H

    What? Are we idiots? C’mon, most of the women I’ve met in my life that are as old as she is, never a man (the hell with the kids thing) have always been lesbian.
    People are defending her like being gay is a bad thing. This country is so homophobic, it’s almost impossible for someone like her, in her position, to be out.

  • Cam

    I just LOVE the way Dowd is acting like all women who are 50 and not dating men are straight. Give it a rest Maureen. Nobody has ever produced once single previous boyfriend. People at Harvard were surprised because she and her girlfriend were out on Campus. And lastly, which men exactly don’t want smart women? The other female Supreme Court Justices are married, the women in Congress and the Senate are married. We’re always told how Brilliant Hillary Clinton is, married, etc… So just which smart women are the ones who don’t date?

  • Pip

    Dowd is pretty much a vile person when it comes to how she treats other women. Every other aspect of her political character may be left of center, but she pretty much gets off on savaging any and all women of stature/merit in the zeitgeist.

  • Syl

    What? An intelligent, well-written entry on Queerty? Has the world gone topsy-turvy?

    Well written, Daniel.

Comments are closed.