This election has turned into a battle of the sexes. Polls have consistently shown that the vast majority of American men prefer Bush, and the majority of women prefer Gore. This situation has left the left behinds on both sides wishing they could somehow excommunicate the greater part of their gender. In the absence of sweeping surgical remedies, however, liberals have taken to recommending that Democrats appeal more to men [See The American Prospect's, "Do Real Men Vote Democratic?"] -- and Republicans have decided the ticket to winning this election is putting women in their place.
The nexus of right wing women bashing has been at the National Review, where successive feature articles have done hatchet jobs on those with two X chromosomes. Consider:
Half the Population is Stupid. That was the upshot of a recent self-loathing article by Kate O'Beirne (XX) titled "Clueless: What women don't know about politics." Here's a nugget from that screed:
Many polls attribute Al Gore's current lead to a double-digit advantage among
female voters, who perform more poorly than men in most surveys measuring
political knowledge. In his chat with Oprah, George W. Bush could have best
helped himself with uninformed women voters by suggesting that she add some
remedial reading on politics to her list of recommended books.
The underlying theme here is -- guess what -- that if only women were smarter, they'd vote GOP. But what's curious about this notion is that, if women were really poorly educated when it comes to politics, you'd actually think Bush would appeal to them more. After all, he doesn't know much about politics either.
But when it comes to GOP women putting women down -- or at least making them look bad -- blond bombshell pundit Ann Coulter (XX) bakes the cake:
Sleeping With the Secretary. In a morning-after "analysis" of last week's vice-presidential debate, posted on the National Review Online, Coulter wrote:
Speaking as a Gyno-American, I'm wallowing in estrogen over this whole Republican ticket. I love both our guys, but my main crush is on Dick Cheney. He is such a man -- strong and calm and kind. If this ticket doesn't close the gender gap, it's time to repeal the 19th Amendment.
Hey guys: Click here for an enticing picture of Ann Coulter. If she is going to objectify the GOP contenders, she can't mind if you return the favor.
But that's not all. The National Review lunged straight for the heart of the gender with a sharp story attacking -- we're not lying -- Girl Scouts:
Cookie Monster. The arch-conservative magazine followed up the anti-gay Boy Scout flap with an attack on the Girl Scouts for P.C. policies. But as the article -- melodramatically titled "The Cookie Crumbles" -- progresses, it becomes clear that writer Kathryn Jean Lopez (XX) is really going after what she describes as "the prevalence of lesbians in Girl Scouting." And not only is Lopez's piece homophobic -- who cares if Girl Scouts are lesbians? -- it's sexist. Anti-feminists have long tried to denigrate opinionated women by calling them lesbians. Lopez carries on the tradition. Near the close of her article, Lopez writes: "There are currently 2.7 million Girl Scouts in the U.S. That's a lot of liberal feminists to look forward to." (And how. We hope they're all working on their "Political Participation" badge.)
But it isn't only Republican women who have been trying to berate women into becoming Republicans. The GOP men have been happy to join the effort:
Respect my Authority. In a recent column titled "Men must stand up," conservative opinator Walter Williams (XY) begins: "Quite frankly the behavior of some women has gotten out of hand, and it's because we men have become cowards and wimps."
But it's not the only example of Y-chromosomal right wing women bashing:
Barefoot Naked Ladies. In a similar column titled "Does America need a Ms. President?", Larry Elder (XY) carries on the GOP's proud tradition. Provoked by comments made by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Elder provides plenty of arguments against having a woman president. One of the most striking -- pun intended -- is the following: "Presumably, Albright sees a female president as a positive role model for women. Really? But wouldn't such a woman, by definition, be unlike most other women?"
Despite their thrashing, Republicans have not built a movement to repeal the women's vote. And in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, Gore still led Bush by 9 points among women. It's no wonder. With the conservative crowd made up of "Women belong in the home -- not the House, Senate, or even the voting booth"-men and "I love them, even though they hate me,"-women, even the snarling Gore may seem like a teddy bear.