A couple more Undead Sexist Cliches …

Echidne of the Snakes looks at a new study analyzing how conventionally masculine or feminine the features of male and female politicians (respectively) are. The conclusion of the sutdy is that female Repubs conform most to the “typical” face of their gender.
The conclusion presented in various media outlets: Republican women are hotter! Which is not the same thing.
The fuss made over the study seems to suggest it plugs into a very Undead Sexist Cliche: Liberal women are ugly creatures because they don’t care about their looks, don’t shave their legs, don’t shave their armpits, don’t wear short skirts, wear sensible shoes, etc., etc. And if true, this is somehow a coup for the right-wing. Because, you know, if feminists don’t look hot, we can’t take them seriously. Or alternatively, they’re only feminists because they’re not hot: They’re independent because they’re too plain or ugly or man-hating to find a man to take care of them, which is all Real Women want.
Men rarely get this kind of crap (though it’s not unknown—Maureen Dowd has been mocking male Dem politicians for looking girly and unmasculine for years). And when they do, it’s often in the form of how their manly looks will mesmerize women voters.
Then we have Mitt Romney’s schizophrenic view that it’s noble and important to have a parent (i.e., a mother) stay home with the kids … but if a mother is on welfare “even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work.” and know the Dignity of Work.
Of course, with Romney this could be him pulling out of his butt whatever he feels will work at that point in time. But it also reflects a long-standing disconnect about women. As multiple people (family historian Stephanie Coontz among them) have pointed out, the image many people have of the 1950s as an age when women didn’t work ignores that many women relied heavily on women who did. Maids. Housekeepers. Cooks. Ditto the Victorian age when men and women were supposedly divided into separate spheres. The women who didn’t work were upper class; the women who did were lower class. By applying the same divisions (though probably unconsciously), Romney sees no difference between insisting his wife does indeed work and insisting that poor women who stay home with their kids do not.
I have an And column that also covers the topic.

1 Comment

Filed under Politics, Undead sexist cliches

One response to “A couple more Undead Sexist Cliches …

  1. Pingback: There’s never a shortage of material when I write about sexism. | Fraser Sherman's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.