Today we speak with Clark University political science professor Valerie Sperling. She is the author of Sex, Politics, and Putin, which explores the gender politics of Vladimir Putin’s reign in Russia and how he leverages stereotypical concepts of masculinity to legitimize his power. This includes images of Putin as a rugged outdoorsman, a fearless firefighter, and object of adoration from young, attractive russian women. In the same breath Putin’s opponents are put down as weak and effeminate, using perceptions of femininity and homosexuality as an insult and incompatible with leadership and strength.
We then listen to a segment of the Thom Hartmann show that includes a disturbing discussion thread from a messageboard for Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, where police officers appear to discuss acts of corruption such as planting drugs,using force to elicit information, and engaging in cover-ups of abuses by fellow officers.