Friday, August 24, 2012

Republican sexism...beyond reproductive rights

I find it interesting that right in the middle of the blow-up about Todd Akin's sexist remarks on rape and abortion, the flagship of conservative publications - National Review - ran one of the most sexist articles I've ever read.
What do women want? The conventional biological wisdom is that men select mates for fertility, while women select for status — thus the commonness of younger women’s pairing with well-established older men but the rarity of the converse. The Demi Moore–Ashton Kutcher model is an exception — the only 40-year-old woman Jack Nicholson has ever seen naked is Kathy Bates in that horrific hot-tub scene. Age is cruel to women, and subordination is cruel to men. Ellen Kullman is a very pretty woman, but at 56 years of age she probably would not turn a lot of heads in a college bar, and the fact that she is the chairman and CEO of Dupont isn’t going to change that.

It’s a good thing Mitt Romney doesn’t hang out in college bars.

You want off-the-charts status? Check out the curriculum vitae of one Willard M. Romney: $200 million in the bank (and a hell of a lot more if he didn’t give so much away), apex alpha executive, CEO, chairman of the board, governor, bishop, boss of everything he’s ever touched. Son of the same, father of more. It is a curious scientific fact (explained in evolutionary biology by the Trivers-Willard hypothesis — Willard, notice) that high-status animals tend to have more male offspring than female offspring, which holds true across many species, from red deer to mink to Homo sap. The offspring of rich families are statistically biased in favor of sons — the children of the general population are 51 percent male and 49 percent female, but the children of the Forbes billionaire list are 60 percent male. Have a gander at that Romney family picture: five sons, zero daughters. Romney has 18 grandchildren, and they exceed a 2:1 ratio of grandsons to granddaughters (13:5). When they go to church at their summer-vacation home, the Romney clan makes up a third of the congregation. He is basically a tribal chieftain.

Professor Obama? Two daughters. May as well give the guy a cardigan. And fallopian tubes.
Need I mention that the author is male - Kevin Williamson.

I hope I don't need to outline for anyone all of the many ways these few paragraphs demonstrate several forms of noxious sexism. But this is all a lead-up for Williamson to suggest that - rather than run FROM his wealth and status - Romney should run ON it. In the end, he sums up why.
Elections are not about public policy. They aren’t even about the economy. Elections are tribal, and tribes are — Occupy types, cover your delicate ears — ruthlessly hierarchical. Somebody has to be the top dog.
Sometimes I feel like the women's movement has confined itself to discussions about reproductive rights and equal pay while not articulating the way patriarchy is propped up by our equation of power with dominance. Williamson just tied that all up for us in the argument he's making for Romney's presidency.

In my ideal world, this kind of sexism would get as much blow-back as the kind recently espoused by Akin.

One of the few people I saw who wrote about this mess of an article was actually Markos at Daily Kos. His response to that shit about fathers and daughters...


There are times when Southern women say "bless your heart" and mean it. This is one of those times for me...bless your heart Markos.


  1. So is Williamson implying that GWB, with two daughters--y'know, the mucho macho preznit who pounded his alpha-male chest into "Mission Accomplished"--is he implying that Dubya isn't a manly man?

    By Williamson's logic, Jerry Lewis is the same as Willard.

  2. And this?

    In “Mitt Romney, an Inside Look at the Man and His Politics,” a book written by Ron Scott, one of Mitt Romney’s distant cousins, Mr. Scott wrote that “three of the sons have wrestled with fertility issues in their own families and, to help things along, have sought solutions that are seemingly inconsistent with their father’s views on abortion and stem cell research.” (Mitt Romney cites an epiphany during the debate over stem cell research during his time as governor of Massachusetts for moving him to the antiabortion camp).

    Comment not meant to impugn surrogacy, fertility issues, or blessed events--just to comment on the selective reasoning of some. Does sexism breed infertility? Does polygamy cause infertility unto the third and fourth generations? Does IOKIYAR indicate or generate mental deficiency?


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