Dear Mr. George,
“This is not a hit piece.”? Really? I would hope it was a hit piece because if this is how you write about female politicians in general, I’m going to have a lot of open letters to you to write.
Let’s consider who, aside from Evans, gets quoted in your story: Mike Jameson, Jason Holleman, Kevin Sharp, Richard Riebeling, and Joe Hall. You don’t find that the least bit strange or remarkable? I’ll tell you what; I find it strange and remarkable. Not one woman in town had anything quotable to say about Evans? Is that because you didn’t talk to women? Women wouldn’t talk to you? It didn’t occur to you to talk to women? Women don’t have enough power, in general, to make your list of important people to talk to? You just didn’t think your quotes from women were as interesting? What?
It makes me wonder whether criticisms of Evans being too much of a smarty pants, too arrogant, not helpful have to do with her as a politician or have to do with her not behaving how your “certain cadre of well-connected Nashvillians” expect a woman to behave.
You provided no examples of what folks think is her intellectual dishonesty, no examples of what you found arrogant about her, and when you were flailing around for a way to describe her, you said, “Evans looks more like a mom than a crusader,” as if those are mutually exclusive terms. And what the hell does a “mom” look like anyway? The majority of women over the age of 30 are moms.
So, you’re basically saying that she looks more like a woman than a crusader. Your criticisms of her and the criticisms of her you pass along from others are all pretty thinly-veiled gendered complaints–the way she moves through the world hurts the egos of powerful men. They want her to be more, you know, demure, willing to hide her brains, willing to defer to them, willing to know her place.
And you! You feed into this nonsense. First by calling her arrogant without, you know, providing examples so your readers can judge for themselves, like we should just take the word of you and five other men that this woman is arrogant. Then you call her a mom, as if that tells your reader anything other than her gender and reproductive status–as if her gender and reproductive status somehow shed light on her brains. And your whole framing is kind of vile–that Evans has become less of a public figure, perhaps because she’s learned her place.
As the kids say, WTF? Your story is basically, some men don’t like her, but some dude did fuck her at least a couple of times, and now maybe she’s gotten most of that thinking silliness out of her system.
How is that a story? More than that, how is that not a hit piece? And not even a hit piece on Evans as a person, which, you know, more power to you on that, but on Evans as a woman? That’s kind of a finger in the eye to all your female readers.