In an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airing this weekend, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said that Democrats and the media have created a phony conflict with the role of gender in U.S. politics and the upcoming elections. I just blogged about whether the War On Women is real, so in this post, I am primarily going to address what he said, but for more on the War On Women, please read: The War On Women: Is It Real?
Priebus’ exact quote was:
“If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we’d have problems with caterpillars. The fact of the matter is it’s a fiction.”
To start, it is absolutely condescending to say that if the Democrats say it, or if the media says it, women believe it. Priebus is saying that women can’t make their own decisions and that we can’t see what’s going on without someone explaining it to us or feeding us information.
This is what he’s saying to women and to the nation about Democrats: If the Democratic party and the media said there was a War On Women, you’d believe it. If there was a War On Caterpillars, you’d believe that too. Basically, he’s calling women stupid. And that is at the very core of the War On Women. The inequality we face is based on lies about us being dumb, inferior and unable to make our own decisions.
Priebus is also making light of the issues at hand. He might as well be saying: “Pipe down little lady.” “Don’t get your panties in a wad.” You make it seem like we are feebleminded and can’t figure out what’s going on. He makes it seem like we need to have it all explained to us and when it is we are gullible and believe anything. When we speak up, he blames it on a political party. This is not about the Democrats or Republicans- it’s about women and our right to be full equally participating citizens in this world.
He also likens women to insects who will come into themselves- we are caterpillars who must go through a metamorphosis to be able to be the beautiful creatures we are supposed to be. Where? In his glass display case with a pin stuck through our torsos?
Priebus- Stop Saying the War On Women is not real “A fiction.”
This is always how it plays out for marginalized groups. They speak their truth and then have those with more privilege than them say what they are saying isn’t true.
Priebus- You are not a woman. There are hundreds of thousands of women who see this War On Women is real. Stop telling everyone it isn’t. Stop telling us to be quiet about our experiences and take our places shut up in the corner.
Here are some helpful tips for men:
HOW TO NOT BE A PRIEBUS MAN:
1. Believe women.
2. See women as equal to men.
3. Understand that the War On Women exists because of Patriarchy and as a system it hurts men too.
4. Fight as allies for women.
5. Recognize women’s inequality in the world leads to violence against women as well as violence against men and children. This violence may be verbal, physical, emotional, and sexual. It often ends in rape and murder.
6. If you feel guilty about being a man, that doesn’t help. It helps to educate other men and to speak out when men are being sexist and misogynistic in any way and not stand for woman-hating.
7. Don’t ever compare women to any animals or insects.
8. March for women. March against the War on Women on April 28th. It is a nationwide march. Find out where it is in your area.
Grrl Code: Stick with other women. This is a time to unite. Don’t believe the backlash that there is no War On Women. The bills passed around women having to have vaginal ultrasounds before an abortion when they aren’e medically necessary and even if they don’t want that or having ultrasound results showed and described to them even if they don’t want to hear them. Not funding the Violence Against Women Act. Rush Limbaugh calling all women who want access to birth control sluts and prostitutes. Rush Limbaugh stating to America that women’s existence is for men’s sexual pleasure- when he said Sandra Fluke should post a sex tape. Darrell Issa holding a committee on contraception and not allowing women to participate. Virginia Rometty not being given a membership to the Masters when all other IBM CEOs have gotten them, but they were men. And IBM not doing anything- still standing by the decision of the Augusta National Golf Club versus by their CEO. Women continue to be beaten, harrassed, raped, and killed directly related to inequality. The list goes on and on. Yes there is a War On Women- Fight against it. Talk to other women you know. Fight for our lives.