Is Michele Bachmann Crazy?
Where are the feminists of the world to speak out against the sexism, the injustice, the assault on all the progress we’ve made as women in America?
By which, of course, I mean the rhetoric used to attack Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Nikki Haley, Cathy McMorris-Rodgers and other female Republicans — by both mainstream media and the rest of us.
No? Not offensive? Is it legit stuff powerful women into the tired-as-hell crazy/stupid/bitch/slut costume if they’re pro-life and anti-gay?
I disagree with all of these women on many, many issues. But when I hear myself talk about them like I never took a gender studies class, I feel like a giant traitor. Since when does ideological disagreement trump my maddening obsession with correcting our language’s gender bias?
Here are the things I hear, and sadly, say, the most:
- Cathy Mc-Mo-Ro is stupid.
- Sarah Palin is crazy/ vapid/ oversexualized/ a raging bitch/ hysterical (a word for “crazy” never applied to men.)
- Nikki Haley is a skank.
- Michele Bachmann is all of the above — oh, and her husband’s gay. Oh, yeah, and did you see how crazy she looks on the cover of Newsweek?
These labels are applied to women way more liberally – pun! – than to men. If we’re going to overcome stereotypes applied to our gender, we’re going to have to stop applying those stereotypes ourselves.
Maybe Sarah P. is vapid. Or maybe the same media machine that has painted all women as the stupider sex has struck again, equipped with an arsenal marvelously delicious quotes that — although quite stupid and pretty crazy — are peripheral to what she actually has to say. Which may be wrong, but is no more stupid than what all the men who are rarely called stupid have to say.
So here’s the challenge for the week: If you are inclined to rail against female Republican politicians, see if you can do so using adjectives that do not imply “stupid,” “slutty” or “crazy.”
Maybe that will result in some actual discussions about their actual ideas, and then we will change the world and sparkly butterflies will swoop in and devour the Bachmann Institute for Un-Gaying the Gays.