Undead sexist clichés: Women vote for whoever their clitoris tells them

I first ran across this idea some years back, when John Kennedy Jr. was just grabbing attention for his magazine George (like many of these ideas, I’m sure it has a longer tradition). Entertainment Tonight or some equivalent show gushed about his looks, then closed by assuring viewers that if he ever went into politics, he’d certainly win the women’s votes!
Okay, it’s ET, I don’t expect deep insight (though that still made it gratuitous sexism). But in 2003, W gave his “Mission Accomplished” speech on board an aircraft carrier, decked out in a flight suit, and suddenly right-wing pundits were gushing the same thing. Aside from general gush about his manly good looks and fighter-pilot swagger (ignoring that W ain’t a fighter pilot, and hadn’t been for 30 years—he was grounded for blowing off his National Guard physical in 1972), we had Andrew Sullivan announcing that Bush’s heroic good looks would win the heart of every woman voter (although Sullivan is gay, he didn’t suggest that gay men such as himself could at all be influenced by such things). Chris Matthews, as Digby reminds us, gushed quite a bit and G. Gordon Liddy claimed that if women pretend the president’s package didn’t influence their vote, they were fooling themselves.
In the same vein, Kevin Williamson of the National Review claims that “From an evolutionary point of view, Mitt Romney should get 100 percent of the female vote” including Michelle Obama’s. He’s rich! And he’s powerful! And women are irresistibly drawn to that because that’s how they’re wired—women are drawn to status and if Mitt Romney hung out in college bars, the girls would be all over him! Oh, and he has five sons where Obama has girls, and those girl cooties make Obama look like a wimp (no, I am not making that part up).
Both Echidne and LGM tackle this; LGM’s parody is hysterical (and dead on). I’ve written about the undead sexist cliché that women are inevitably drawn to power too.
The “women vote with their clit” cliché is largely a variation of this: If it’s not about looks, it’s about power. And contrary to reality, evolution is destiny where women are concerned: They can’t help but kneel. Of course, I could make just as good an argument that men are genetically drawn to authoritarian presidents because they’re hard-wired to look to powerful leaders to protect their tribe—but I can’t imagine Repub males suggesting their own gender has such an inconvenient trait (Note: Neither am I. That argument is bullshit).
It also plays into a lot of clichés about how older men are sex symbols, which proves women are drawn to status and wealth. And sure, some women are, but so are some men—fortune-hunting aristocrats were common in the Victorian era, and it wasn’t even considered unmanly.
And sure, some older men are sex symbols. But only some (my twentysomething female friends can be quite scathing about older men trying to pick them up). And even then, the men aren’t sex symbols to all women, and some young women (based on their own statements) would still prefer a sex symbol their own age—a Jake Gyllenhaal or Justin Timberlake to a Sean Connery or Jack Nicholson. If you dropped off Romney in a college bar, I’m sure you’d find some women who’d jump him based on his looks. And some because he is a powerful man. But you’d find some who wouldn’t touch him for all the tea in China—pretty much the way it works with everyone.
And the same could be said of Obama. I’d assume he could find young women to sleep with him just based on his looks, even more with his presidential status. And again, some who wouldn’t.
But while it will obviously shock Williamson (and Matthews, and Sullivan) that doesn’t actually say anything about how those women would vote. Because the clitoris is not a magic switch that pulls the voting lever all by itself.

5 Comments

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

5 responses to “Undead sexist clichés: Women vote for whoever their clitoris tells them

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