Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of sexually assaulting at least three women, and today, September 27th, Kavanaugh and his first accuser, professor Christine Blasey Ford, are testifying about these allegations in a Senate hearing. The Kavanaugh hearing began with Ford giving her testimony, and already, one of the pictures from the hearing has drawn an unsettling comparison to The Handmaid’s Tale.
At 10:45 a.m. ET, Osita Nwanevu, a staff writer for The New Yorker, tweeted a picture of what Ford saw as she testified. And it amounted to a sea of white, male faces. Although female senators were technically in attendance at the hearing, only one woman was visible in the image.
In a follow-up tweet, Nwanevu clarified that from Ford’s vantage point, the Democratic senators weren’t visible, but “the GOP side of the semicircle [was] right in front of her.”
One Twitter user replied to Nwanevu’s photo with an image of the Council from The Handmaid’s Tale, the group of powerful men who control laws in a (not-so-distant) dystopian future.
The comparison was disturbingly accurate.
Like Ford, Anita Hill testified before a crowd of men in 1991 after she alleged that Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. But while the view from Ford’s seat is depressingly similar to what Hill would have seen, so far there are a couple promising differences between the two hearings. As CNN noted, Ford was questioned by a female sex crimes attorney, Rachel Mitchell. And there are currently four women on the Senate Judiciary Committee (as opposed to zero in 1991).
Even so, that means only four of the 21 senators attending the Kavanaugh hearing are women. And many of the men listening to Ford testify have actively tried to discredit her for coming forward.
All things considered, we hope today’s hearing is as fair as possible.