The View and Fake Feminism at its Finest

As the proud and loving husband of a nurse, I felt compelled to chime in on the events that surrounded the television show The View and Kelley Johnson, a registered nurse competing as Miss Colorado in the Miss America pageant. As a writer looking to establish a presence here on Medium, I thought this topic would serve as a good entry point.

For the uninitiated, a recent episode of the talk show included the hosts, for some unfathomable reason, deciding to use their platform to belittle a nurse who dared to have the audacity to wear scrubs and give a monologue during the talent portion of the competition. A panel of women who get paid enormous salaries to do nothing but sit and talk about other people for a living invested their time in the degradation and dismissal of a professional and intelligent woman. Her crime? Daring to be different.

She didn’t deliver a canned plan for world peace while wearing heels and a ball gown. She didn’t play into stereotypes exacerbated by beauty pageant contestants made famous by YouTube. She wore scrubs, sneakers, and a stethoscope; a device, according to a View host with less medical knowledge than my cat, that is used only by doctors. This nurse was, in the host’s words, wearing a costume.

The medical community isn’t taking this lightly, and rightly so as the show has a large and loyal following. They have also lost major advertisers. But there’s more to this than a panel of women on a national stage insulting a noble profession and those that chose to answer its call.

I couldn’t stop wondering why they spent their time attacking another woman that, in any other situation, would be worthy of nothing but the utmost respect. The word of the past few months has been equality after all; marriage equality, income equality, racial equality, and equality among the sexes. My Twitter and Facebook feeds are full of articles about women pointing out how X is sexist and Y is evidence of the continued inequality so pervasive throughout our society.

But here we have 5 influential women with a megaphone of epic proportions talking about the Miss America pageant. They didn’t mention a single word about how it puts women on display in order to judge them on their beauty, ranks them, and then gives the prettiest one an award. Instead, what did they use this opportunity to accomplish? They singled out a woman with advanced medical training who saves lives when she goes to work. They made a mockery of her and what she had chosen to do with her life simply because she dared to be different.

What did the women in the audience do as the hosts sniped at Ms. Johnson like schoolgirls on a playground whispering about the new girl? Did they boo? Were they outraged? Did they walk out en masse? No — they laughed.

They laughed. 

Would they have laughed if those exact words had been spoken by a man? What hell would have been unleashed if Howard Stern had talked about the little blonde girl in her nurse’s costume with her big boy doctor’s stethoscope? How many women’s groups would have come out of the woodwork calling for his head on a platter?

Right now, the only people making noise about this are the ones in the medical community — men and women alike — and the companies that have pulled their support for the show. But I don’t think that’s enough.

I want to see women other than those with medical letters after their names call this show and its deplorable hosts out for their behavior. They need to know that they not only belittled a nurse who affects more lives in a shift than they do in an entire season of television, but that they had an opportunity and they missed it.

They had the opportunity to highlight real strength in a sea of sexism; to point out a professional standing out among a parade of the very ideas that women say they are fighting so hard to overcome. And they came out on the side of mockery and oppression; a joke and a pat on the head for the little nurse playing dress-up.

And what was the fallout from it all? Empty studios? Calls for a boycott? No, it was another audience full of women the next day.

I’m pretty sure you can chalk this whole thing up as a loss in the whole “equality” struggle. Well done.