Bill Maher reminded everyone Thursday evening that no matter how progressive he claims to be, when it comes to women, he’s an old school misogynist. Despite a long history of being called out by both liberals and conservatives for his tendency to use sexist slurs, Maher still thought it appropriate to tweet this:
Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who's trying to kill u - u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her— Bill Maher (@billmaher) July 18, 2014
So much sexism packed into one tweet! As others have already pointed out, Maher is making light of the serious problem of domestic violence. But he’s also trading on the tired stereotype of women as irrational children who need to be brought in line by more stable men. (See: Clark Gable or Cary Grant putting a hysterical woman in her place with a calmly delivered slap that swiftly reminds her of the proper order of things.)
There’s also the matter of the “who’s trying to kill u” part of the tweet, a nice bit of ass-covering that turns domestic violence into self-defense. (Bill: If a woman is ever actually trying to kill you, slapping her probably isn't enough.) Maher may admire men of yore who slapped screaming women with aplomb, but he fails to have their courage of conviction. Also, his Israeli-Palestinian conflict commentary is dumb.