Soooo Un-Lady-Like!

libido crazed baby machines sargent
(Ben Sargent via

I thought we’d finally beaten down the GOP’s “real live sooperwimmen” fantasies from back when Reagan rode off into the sunset, but there is no bad idea Repubs won’t try to resurrect. Ann Friedman, in NYMag, on the GOP’s New Vagina-American Rising Star:

The fact that McMorris Rodgers was selected to respond to the president’s annual address has been widely explained as the GOP’s “new way” of counteracting the fact that prominent Party members appear to have been media-trained by Todd Akin.

But the Republicans’ decision to focus on McMorris Rodgers’s mommy cred illustrates just how little they understand about their woman problem. They’re responding to what they see as a superficial problem — offensive quotes about unchecked libidos and “victimology” — with a superficial solution. True, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee aren’t helping the Party win female hearts and minds. But their gaffes are just symptoms of the underlying issue, which is that the policies the GOP advocates do nothing to improve the lives of the majority of American women. And we know it…

The Party is decades behind in its gender messaging — not to mention its actual policies — because it’s not actually representative. Only 8 percent of House Republicans are women, and there are only four Republican women in the Senate. This gives McMorris Rodgers and her ilk higher visibility, but also places greater pressure on them to fall in with the party line. It’s a dynamic that any woman who’s been outnumbered in the workplace can relate to. Just because prominent GOP moms manage to have a demanding career while raising three small kids doesn’t mean they can be trusted to make the same thing easier for other women.

Dahlia Lithwick, in Slate, takes it a step further:

The new GOP attack on women who feel they are being attacked by Republicans? Trash Democrats as the party that sees women as wimpy wallowers in their own victimhood…

The unifying theme here is that real women are meant to resent being called victims, and we should all rise up against Democrats who belittle and demean us by trying to solve our problems. I get the surface appeal, I suppose. Who wants to be called a needy, pathetic weakling? But forgive me for thinking that this is one of those slurs that only works best—to the extent it works at all—when men say it about other men. Calling someone a big wuss is still, I imagine, a good way to get yourself clocked at a biker bar. But telling a bunch of women that the Democrats think they’re all a bunch of women, well … maybe it works on Sarah Palin.

The deeper problem with the “You’re not disadvantaged at all, little lady!” meme is, of course, obvious: Even women who are not personally suffering from major structural gender disadvantages are pretty well aware that many other women are; women have been disadvantaged throughout American history; and those disadvantages persist for a lot of women, even as we all work to transcend them.

Also, one of the major structural disadvantages from which American women continue to suffer is condescension and hectoring from clueless elected officials….

33 replies
  1. 1
    KG says:

    From Friedman’s article:

    The supermom archetype is perfect for a party whose policies send the message that if you’re not getting ahead, it’s because you aren’t working hard enough.

    Pretty sure that’s the message allllllllll of their archetypes sell because that’s what they’re selling

  2. 2
    Lyrebird says:

    Maybe Marcotte already covered this (Lithwick links to her article), but the other glaringly obvious problem, before the fun libido nonsense is…

    According to [Huckabee], Democrats “think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures…”

    According to Huckabee, Democrats think about women but (like most Republican reps, senators) ARE MEN. Otherwise what he said makes no sense. I do not always agree 100% with Wasserman Schultz or even with my hero, Nancy SMASH!, but I am 100% confident that they will not feed me this line of crap… nor would I think of either of them as helpless or hopeless creatures themselves!

    Used to talk a lot about not wanting to be limited by the party system, yadda yadda yadda, and I still believe most of the things I believed then, but GOOD GRIEF Republican leadership!

    Or rather, –what was it? Go on, Senator? —

    Go for it! Keep putting these instant parodies out as your spokes folks.

    I will keep re-running the VP debate between Palin and Joey O’Biden. Talking heads were all wondering, gosh, will all women voters be magnetically drawn to her XX-chromosome-having highness? BUT NO. For all that there are real divisions w/in American society as far as who cares about policy stuff, Joe was _real_. and Joe brought us the VAWA. And we’re not gonna forget. Especially not for Winky. Nor for McWhatever BadResponse.

  3. 3
    Comrade Mary says:

    Hi, y’all! I’m really working right now, but I’ll hang around and hope that if John does choose to bigfoot this post, he does so with a picture of a freshly brushed and snorting Steve and maybe a bonus shot of his poor knee. I can only handle pictures right now: cortex is almost soup.

  4. 4
    KS in MA says:

    @Lyrebird: “Winky”…..

    Ha! Love it!!!!

  5. 5
    J.Ty says:

    Can’t these women tell that it’s straight white men who are the real victims of discrimination nowadays?

    (Source: straight white men)

  6. 6
    mdblanche says:


    Talking heads were all wondering, gosh, will all women voters be magnetically drawn to her XX-chromosome-having highness?

    The fact that they were wondering that says to me their knowledge about women is as antediluvian as the GOP’s.

  7. 7
    Anoniminous says:

    Women Are Not a Unified Voting Bloc:

    Obama, and Democrats in general, consistently do better with women than men when you compare voters within a racial or ethnic group. That’s the “gap.” But simply grouping all women together and thinking they are reliably Democratic is wrong. If you were to list gender and racial/ethnic groups by their Democratic vote on Tuesday, the list would go like this: black women (96 percent), black men (87 percent), Hispanic women (76 percent), Hispanic men (65 percent), white women (42 percent) and white men (35 percent).

    The only way the GOP is going to be able to win the presidency in 2016 is to raise their “take” of the white women* vote by 2 to 4 percent. By 2020 the odds are stacked against them so badly I doubt they will be nationally competitive unless a Republican is already president – given incumbency is a huge, major, dang near insurmountable advantage for a challenger.

    But the more they move towards the centrality of the demographic on “women’s issues” the further they move away from the centrality of their Fundie-Con/TeaBagger base. It would be more damaging to the GOP to lose 65+ white males.

    Thus, the ham-handed appeals using McMorris Rodgers as the spokeswoman.

    * it was Black women who enabled McAuliffe to win the Virginia governorship. The chances of the GOP taking a significant share of Black women is close to zero.

  8. 8
    Mnemosyne says:


    IIRC, there’s also an age gap with the “white women” vote — solidly Republican above around 50 or so, much more evenly split among younger white women. So the window of opportunity for Republicans to get more white women to vote Republican gets smaller and smaller every year.

    White dudes seem to stay more solidly Republican across the board, though I think the under-25s are more evenly split.

    ETA: And, as a white woman in her mid-40s who has never voted for a Republican in a real election (grade school doesn’t count!), I fully realize that African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American women are doing all of the heavy lifting on behalf of my gender.

  9. 9
    Karen in GA says:

    All I know is that every time a Republican talks about women, I want to take 35 showers. I wish they’d just STFU about us, because they really creep me out.

  10. 10
    Alison says:

    The fact that they still think – long after it completely failed with Palin – that just shoving a lady out in front will get women en masse to vote for them…it’s hardly worth the energy one would expend to roll one’s eyes.

    They try it with every demographic though – they still think they’re gonna one day get us Jews to all turn right by yelling BLAH BLAH ISRAEL. It’s fucking insulting. And pathetic.

  11. 11
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The interesting thing is that Huckabee’s “libido” remark scored points with the cretinous GOP base, while at the same time repulsing the bulk of the electorate.

    They’re truly fucked, they are. To get the nomination, they have to be total assholes, which kills them in the general. What’s worse is they have learned nothing from prior experience…they keep doubling down on the stupid.

  12. 12
    Yatsuno says:

    @Comrade Mary: Mea culpa for the stress. I kinda wish I could come over and cook something, but it’s kinda far. I COULD possibly afford the plane ticket, and I do have a passport, but I have my own (positive!) life upheaval to address.


  13. 13
    GregB says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The most malleable voting bloc ever. The polls follow whoever says the stupidest, meanest thing the loudest. It’s like a cat following a feather on a stick.

    Plus the base is going to feel so betrayed if the leadership tries any sort of immigration reform.

  14. 14
    Yatsuno says:

    Oh Holy Jeebus Fuck. Australia is sure joining the ranks of the greatest polluters. Sister Sarah is gonna throw a shit fit over this.

  15. 15
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Yatsuno: Hey, it’s not your fault — why the mea culpa?

    And how is rehab going?

  16. 16
    cthulhu says:

    I think there are two other structural facts not mentioned in either excerpt by Friedman and Lithwick that will continue to undermine any attempts by the GOP to stave the apparent continuing loss of female voters. First, there is a sizable chunk of their base who may pay lip service to and even promote the idea of equal value and power of men and women yet they still believe that modern women are making category errors. In other words, the proper state of affairs is separate dominions of control: men, outside the home, women, inside the home. It’s difficult for them to understand why this would be neither desired nor practical given modern social and economic history. Somewhat related is the fact that one of their main responses to the feminist attack on the status quo is to harness male fear as it relates to gender relations. It may always be so that males and females will feel some sense of incomplete understanding and distrust of their opposite but I would argue a positive correlation of the intensity of this feeling with the liberal-conservative axis. The result is a war-like footing whereby a zero-sum game is assumed. Thus you have alarmist articles about more women graduating college than men, more female physicians, females gaining here, gaining there, and the reciprocal fall of the American male (e.g., implicitly, Charles Murray has moved onto this from his “black people are hopeless” days). So another large part of the GOP base has been encouraged to be muttering “Goddamn bitches!” under their breath for some time now. Hence, the rank and file will be largely baffled, non-supportive, and perhaps threatened by any countervailing window-dressing by GOP marketing. It’s like saying you need to respect the enemy as human while the war is ongoing. That’s way too much cognitive dissonance for most people to handle.

  17. 17
  18. 18
    Sly says:

    Problem: Republicans are having trouble getting the votes of single women, women under 40, and non-white women. They do moderately well with married, white women over 40.

    Solution: Have a white, married, 44-year old woman do a personal infomercial as a “response” to a Presidential Address to a Joint Session of Congress. Problem solved. Now lets get back to curtailing abortion rights.

  19. 19
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    One has to wonder WTF they are thinking. For one thing, the insane extraction mindset (once that coal is gone, it’s gone, and there’s nothing to replace it…) then they shit on something that CAN be a sustainable attraction.

    But, short term profit for a handful is waaaay more important than long term prosperity for all, even down under.

    Bring on the meteor.

  20. 20
    Anoniminous says:


    The best breakout of the 2012 election I’ve found is here.

    According to the poll Romney decisively won the white vote. Obama did best in the 18 – 29 age group (44%.) The other groups went for Romney: 39-44 year olds at 59%, 45-64 year olds at 61% and over 65 years old at 61%.

    I cannot find detailed information as to where or how this poll was conducted. The only reference I can find is on the Roper website which references the CNN poll and is footnoted the polls were conducted in “Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.” Now, note a possible bias towards “GOP Friendly” polling as whites in Florida and North Carolina have a history of racism and bigotry and that has carried through to today. Even so, and discounting as much as 3% due to this suggested possible bias, the conclusion is inescapable: Romney won the white vote and if Gallup had been correct, and Whites had comprised 78% of the electorate instead of the actual 72%, we’d be talking about President Romney.

  21. 21
    EriktheRed says:

    Speaking of Rep. McMorris Rodgers…

  22. 22
    Central Planning says:

    @EriktheRed: A commenter over at DailyKos has done a good analysis/response of Bette’s insurance “woes”: TFA

  23. 23
    NonyNony says:

    @Central Planning:

    @EriktheRed: A commenter over at DailyKos has done a good analysis/response of Bette’s insurance “woes”: TFA

    Jesus fracking Christ. If that woman is telling the truth, she’s another moron who shouldn’t have been running a goddamn business in the first place. If you can’t objectively look at the options in front of you and do what is best for yourself and your business because you hate the President, you’re a fucking idiot.

    I mean, I know business owners who hated Ronald Reagan – it didn’t stop them from taking advantage of every bit of the tax code that they could when he was in office because that’s what you fucking do when you have a business.

  24. 24
    Dave says:

    @Anoniminous: True though if I remember correctly this is influenced by region. If I remember correctly Obama actually won the white vote in the northeast. So geography and demographics matter.

  25. 25
    Princess says:

    And then, after they chose McMorris Rogers, have a dozen big GOP guys stepped on her and did their own rebuttals because they didn’t have confidence in the little woman to let her do her own. That was my biggest take away from their choice of her. Hardly a great moment for GOP women.

  26. 26
    Cervantes says:


    The best breakout of the 2012 election I’ve found is here.

    Pew (November 26) had a good one about “the youth vote” (among other things).

    Pew’s Andrew Kohut had a good round-up in the WSJ (November 13):

    Despite their weak candidate, Republicans increased their share of the presidential vote among many major demographic groups. Compared with 2008, they made significant gains among men (four percentage points), whites (four points), younger voters (six points), white Catholics (seven points) and Jews (nine points). Mr. Romney also carried the independent vote 50% to 45%. Four years ago, independents voted for Mr. Obama 52% to 44%.

    Republicans can take some solace from these gains. In addition, only 43% of voters this year said they wanted an activist government (compared with 52% in 2008), and 49% continued to disapprove of Mr. Obama’s health-care law (compared with 44% approving).

    In short, the current American electorate is hardly stacked against the Republican Party.

  27. 27
    Paul in KY says:

    Why does Sargent draw his female characters to look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book? That staffer looks like the Cat in the Hat’s sister.

  28. 28
    feebog says:

    The question I have is how much of that white vote was based on the color of the Democratic Candidate’s skin? And if we have a older white woman as the Democratic candidate in 2016, will that mean a larger share of the white vote, especially women and older voters. My gut feeling is yes. I tend to look at Presidential elections by state; to me that means that states like Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia and Arkansas will be in play. In other words, we could be looking at blow out of about 380 electoral votes for the Democratic Candidate.

  29. 29
    WaterGirl says:

    @Sly: Please tell me they aren’t really that stupid.

  30. 30
    Anoniminous says:



  31. 31
    JoyousMN says:

    It’s the same thing they do with African Americans. If you like government services it’s just because the Demon-o-cRATs are victimizing you.

  32. 32
    Susan S says:

    When my family was young, we had no child support but I made good money A wonderful family cared for my two and their other grandchildren, Cinn and Quincy grew up in a loving family with children on welfare, autistic children, a caregiver who was a deaf extraordinary, blessed childhood. If I had tried to stay home with them, they would have missed so much. I made big dollars..enough for private schools, clothes for me, and even elegant vacations [tho not till kids were ten or so.] I ran up debt but never had to worry about the last dime, or choose between clothes or food. I remember being so tired..but I could even afford to have people help me with housecleaning. I often wonder..what if it had been different. I made six figures when my daughter was in college..she didn’t need to work, I really didn’t need to scrimp..we were so blessed.

    When Ann Romney, or worse, the lady from Washington try to make minimum wage increases something evil..I just keep thinking how blessed I was to be able to raise my children easily. I have taught them never to take from someone who has less..indeed, we now try to focus on giving [look up PopesKidsPlace if you want to see a magical place].. but why I would prefer million dollar bombs to expanded food stamps.. no, unless one has no made an extraordinary difference in our lives..minimum wage of $15.00 would transform this nation..remember, we get some back in tax dollars. And public class size of 15; college loans at train all is so easy and all those new jobs created..ah well, we just have to keep voting and giving..Thanks for listening.

  33. 33
    Cervantes says:

    @Susan S:

    ah well, we just have to keep voting and giving..Thanks for listening.

    Thanks for writing.

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