Treating Women Like Helpless, Brainless Babies Is Bigotry

Most of the women I know don't need to hear about the latest escalation in the right-wing War on Women because they are already so pissed off. But the hits just keep on coming.

Maybe you've read something about the dust-up in the Michigan legislature, where they are currently considering the most extreme anti-choice legislation in the country. You may have heart about the woman legislator who tried to speak and was silenced for using the word "vagina," and how Michigan women mounted a performance of "The Vagina Monologues" in front of the statehouse there. Women from all walks of life participated, and playwright Eve Ensler even flew in for it.

Michigan Republicans got a ton of negative attention from this, which GOP legislators got all sulky about. So they tried to spin it. But wait! They made it worse! (Who could have guessed?)

Ari Adler, spokesman for the Republican Speaker of the House Jase Bolton, claims the women aren't being silenced because of using "vulgar" terms like "vagina," but for throwing "temper tantrums."

So now women trying to speak and offer their opinions is "temper tantrums"? How much more demeaning could these assholes be?

Oh, you shouldn't have asked. Their contempt and hatred for women is apparently bottomless.

Republican state. rep. Wayne Schmidt says they weren't trying to censor the women legislators. Oh no:

You know, as I said to someone up north here, it’s like giving the kid a time out for a day.Hey, time out, you went a comment too far, you spoke your piece, we’re gonna let these other people have their dissenting comments, and then we’ll get back to business. But unfortunately, business has become a sideshow.

The sheer brazenness of their misogyny is breathtaking. Referring to grown women in elected office as if they were toddlers is the equivalent of calling gays "faggots" or calling blacks "monkeys" (or worse).

Go look at Schmidt's photo and tell me if you don't think he looks like an aging frat boy who shouldn't be judging other peoples' maturity. He definitely looks like he'd hang out with Ohio state senator Kris Jordan. I'm sure they'd enjoy throwing back a few beers and exchanging ways to keep uppity women in their place.

(You may remember that after Jordan's wife called 911 in fear of his drunken rampage, Jordan said that "She got a little upset. Girls do that." Hmmm .... common thread here.)

Frankly, this language directed at women should be every bit as toxic as those other examples I cited (not that it's stopped today's Republicans from using all those terms). Men who talk this way should be called out — and maybe THEY should be given a "time out."

Unfortunately, this depiction of women too childish and unthinking to make decisions for themselves has become rampant in the radical anti-choice movement, which has another argument against abortion it's been using in addition to "Don't kill pre-born children." It's that, in fact, anti-abortion laws "protect" women from making mistakes they might regret (as if no woman ever regretted for a minute having children). They insist women just don't have the ability to make crucial choices that determine the direction of their whole life, and they need a benevolent (so the anti-choicers claim) government to do it for them.

It's a vision that sees women as the equivalent of children, not autonomous adults. And it's sick, misguided and driven by hostility, contempt and fear: fear that if women are allowed to compete in public life as equals, judged on their intelligence, talent, education, skills and experience, well, men who have been coasting on their male privilege might have to step up their game. And I suspect many of these clowns in state legislatures know that they can't do it.

Ladies, we need to get together and make these guys' lives miserable, drive them out of public life when we can, and work to strip them of the power to strip us of our freedom and our rights. If you'd like to start by telling Wayne Schmidt how women should be talked about, here's his page:

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