By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Who actually wins 'most sexist' title?

Biden, Basketball and Benevolent Sexism: I don’t know if I can cover all that in 400 words, but here it goes.

Joe Biden drew heavy fire this week for his alleged past invasions of women’s personal space with acts of hair-smelling, head-kissing and nose-rubbing. Said one accuser: “There’s absolutely a line of decency. There’s a line of respect. Crossing that line is not grandfatherly. It’s not cultural. It’s not affection. It’s sexism or misogyny.”

Kim Elsesser, writing in Forbes, called Biden’s transgressions, while indeed sexist, examples of “benevolent sexism.” She described the term as “a form of paternalistic prejudice toward women … a patronizing attitude that perceives women as needing men’s help, protection and provision.”

Benevolent sexism includes some basic tenets of old-time chivalry. “I would say,” wrote Elsesser, “it also includes rubbing noses.”

Maybe so, but I think Biden’s behavior definitely exceeded the extremely benevolent sexism of opening a door or offering a coat on a chilly night. Still, his now-former behavior — “I get it,” he said Wednesday — merits criticism but not contempt.

Which brings me, finally, to basketball.

From my ages 10 to 16, Bob Cousy and Bill Russell led the Boston Celtics to six national NBA championships. Cousy seemed small at 6-foot-1, but his dribbling, passing and shooting wizardry was beguiling to a budding athlete like me. Those images of Cousy pushed me to work myself onto varsity basketball teams. Being short and slow, I got to watch a lot of good basketball from a front-row seat.

Being such a basketball connoisseur, I naturally became a big fan of the current University of Oregon women’s team. Today in Tampa, as Cinderella of the Final Four, the Lady Ducks play No. 1 Baylor at 4 p.m. — one underdog win away from Sunday’s NCAA championship game against Notre Dame or UConn. (By the way, old-time sports fans, 90-year-old Bob Cousy is still living a quiet life split between Massachusetts and Florida.)

Well, let’s wrap up this jumble with “CBS This Morning” news on Wednesday: First, an extended report on Biden’s benevolent sexism; next, an action-filled review of the college men’s teams headed into this weekend’s NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis; and finally, not so much as a mention that there also is a women’s Final Four.

I had to ask myself, who was the more sexist: Joe Biden or CBS News?

While contemplating what might be called the Benevolent Snub, I can only say, Go Ducks!

Jeb Bladine can be reached at or 503-687-1223.


Don Dix

Jeb -- Back in the day, those of us (including you) who hadn't experienced any growth spurt yet sat in a cold gym, on a hard bench in only a poor fitting game uniform. Not getting much playing time would have been a little more bearable if we at least had warm-up clothing. Looking back, after game showers were almost a blessing!

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