Ahead of the 2012 United States Presidential Election, the "war on women" was a prominent topic with the Republican and Democratic parties trading jabs against one another and on the fairer sex at campaign rallies and in televised interviews. Women raged when Rick Santorum declared women too emotional to serve in combat, an opinion also shared by fellow GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich nearly two decades earlier.
But it's not always the words that say the most, it's also the actions of politicians that stuck out like a sore thumb. Women cried foul when state officials passed bills to limit their rights, such as in Wisconsin when a provision regarding equal pay for women was repealed or in Virginia when lawmakers sought to require an invasive ultrasound prior to an abortion.
Despite being the 21st century, this sexist thinking is still encountered and it's not limited to the states. United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron was criticized for telling a woman to "calm down, dear" while Tasmanian Liberal Senator David Bushby had the nerve to meow at a well respected female colleague.
Call it old-fashioned values or simple ignorance, but unfortunately sexism is still alive and well today and these sexist political comments prove just that.
Tasmanian Liberal Senator David Bushby Meows
Penny Wong, Australia's Minister for Climate Change and Water, was interrupted during a discussion with Tasmanian Liberal Senator David Bushby when he meowed at her.
Yes. Meowed. As if to indicate a "catfight" taking place.
Wong correctly pushed back at Bushby, calling him out on the double standard of meowing only when a woman stands her ground and argues her case, calling it "schoolyard politics." But it's not even just that Bushby's being juvenile and inappropriate (though he is.) This isn't even the correct use of the "meow"/catfight stereotype. That's about when TWO WOMEN are fighting. If you want to be sexist towards a woman because she's being argumentative with a man, that's a whole different (and regrettably extensive) family of insults. If you want to be a backwards neanderthal, at least get your put-downs right.
Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman on Equal Pay
In April 2012, Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman sponsored a bill that removed stipulations regarding equal pay for women. The apparent expert on the female psyche argued that there is no such thing as pay discrimination; rather, women are paid less because they choose to be paid less. (Well, who wouldn't?)Women, after all, get to duck out of the workforce to raise children, while men are left slaving away at their offices just to provide for said children (not to mention the wives). Grothman proclaimed:
Money is more important for men. Take a hypothetical husband and wife who are both lawyers. But the husband is working 50 or 60 hours a week, going all out, making 200 grand a year. The woman takes time off, raises kids, is not "go go go." Now they're 50 years old. The husband is making 200 grand a year, the woman is making 40 grand a year. It wasn't discrimination. There was a different sense of urgency in each person.I mean, be fair, a woman's going to maybe "go go," and maybe just "go," but she's never going to "go go go." I'm not sure how you can argue with airtight logic like that.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's Sweetheart
While campaigning for GOP hopeful Mitt Romney, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made a crude joke about oral sex, degraded women and made people across America gag all at once. He's a triple threat. Check out his clever clever quip:
You know, something may go down tonight - but it ain't gonna be jobs, sweetheart.
I believe it was the great politician Perciles of Athens who said "Always trow da word 'sweetheart' on da end o' yo sentences so dem broads knows you means business." Did you watch the video? Forgive me for being gauche and stooping to his level, but just look at that guy... Enough said. Let's move on.
Rick Santorum on Women in Combat
In February 2012, then GOP presidential hopeful / full-time professional woman patronizer Rick Santorum responded to news of a rule change allowing US military women to take up positions closer to the front lines in combat. Santorum said:
I do have concerns about women in frontline combat. [Women in combat could create a] very compromising situation [in which soldiers] may do things that may not be in the interests of the mission because of other emotions that are involved.
Just to be clear, there are two possible very offensive things Santorum could be saying:
(1) Women are super-emotional crybabies who can't drive and go all bitchy psycho once every few weeks (amirite fellas?) and so if foreigners were shooting at them, they might just lose it and start revealing state secrets or something.
(2) Women in combat would make men in combat flip out and would render them incapable of completing their intended missions.
He later clarifies that he sort of meant the second one, but also adds on that women are totally weak and can't do the physical work of fighting wars. (Clearly, Rick is not a Game of Thrones fan.)