Whew doggie are the Republicans in a tizzy over Janice Sontany's recent comments—"You have to lift their skirts to find out if they are women. You sure can't find out by how they vote!"
But I've been trying to figure out what, exactly, upsets Republicans about this comment. Is the comment sexist? Is it evidence of Democratic hatred of conservative women? Are Democrats disrespecting the rights of women to hold different opinions?
They seem very angry, but unfocused. If being called a man is so bad, will they have to turn on Congressman Blackburn? Is making fun of someone really a sign of hatred? Are they really saying that female politicians are such delicate flowers that they aren't able to handle a little political elbow-throwing? Are they for treating women equally or are they not quite certain if that's what they want?
I can't tell and I have to imagine most people can't either. And yet, I can't help but feel some sympathy here. They clearly are struggling with a sense of something having to do with gender. And, let's be honest, if not for the gains of feminists that made room for women in the public sphere, there wouldn't be conservative women in the public sphere.
So, I, as a feminist, have developed some talking points for the conservatives.
1. Republicans believe that men and women are equally capable. And that means equally capable of making independent decisions about political matters. If you can't tell what gender a person is just by the way she votes, that's because Republican politicians vote in line with Republican beliefs.
2. Joking about forcing your way into looking at or groping the genitals of anyone is disturbing and inappropriate in civil discourse.
There you go. Two easy talking points that align with Republican beliefs and don't require Republicans to have to grapple with nuance.