Brett Kavanaugh and America’s ‘Himpathy’ Reckoning

Kate Manne, assistant professor of philosophy, wrote two pieces last week related to the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. In this New York Times opinion piece, Manne writes, President Trump isn't bothered with a lack of empathy, but his empathy only goes in one direction.

"The real problem is that the people Mr. Trump feels with and for are most frequently powerful men who have been credibly accused of serious crimes and wrongdoing," Manne writes. "He felt sorry for Michael Flynn, referring to him as a 'good guy.' More recently, he felt bad for Paul Manafort. And, in the case of Judge Kavanaugh, Mr. Trump feels sorry for a man accused of sexual assault while erasing and dismissing the perspective of his female accusers."

In an opinion piece for CNN Online, Manne draws parallels between the current controversy over Blasey Ford's accusations of sexual harassment against Kavanaugh and Anita Hill's testimony against Justice Clarence Thomas nearly 25 years ago. Using these two examples, Manne discusses the imbalance of control in situations of sexual assault and gender-based harrassment, with the party in power rarely rallying behind the victim, instead asking why the women did not come forward sooner or fail to report the inappropriate action. 

"And so it goes: a woman speaks out against a privileged boy or powerful man only to face willful denial, moral indifference, and seething rage from many sources," Manne writes. "She will be subject to stonewalling, gaslighting, and the impugning of her character, her motives, and her history. (Also, what was she wearing? Can she even remember?) Meanwhile, he remains a robust 'good guy' figure in the minds of many people, who feel sorry for him, given what he's going through. She becomes a pariah; he gets what I call 'himpathy.' "

Read the entire New York Times piece.  

Read the full op-ed on the CNN website.

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