The GOP has finally caught on and realized their whole 'let's talk down to half the population' message isn't really good for their brand. In order to make sure that no one pulls an "Akin" in the next election cycle, they're setting up special Republican sensitivity trainings for conservatives running against females in the next election.
No word yet on what those meetings will teach our Republican comrades, but we can certainly speculate. So let's! Judging from their odious mistakes in the past, here's what Republicans should be taught behind closed doors.
During a controversial Twitter exchange, Greg Abbott, the front-runner in the Texas governor election against Wendy Davis, thanked one of his supporters after he called his female opponent a "retard barbie." After he (or probably his PR team) realized the implications of that communication, he issued a semi-apologetic tweet. Other words women don't appreciate being called include sweetheart, angel face, babycakes, and snicker doodle. Write it down, guys.
After Todd Akin became known for his clever invention of the term "legitimate rape," he wasn't going to stop there. He followed up his bigotry with a touch of chauvinism, to bake the perfect double-layered sexism cake by criticizing his opponent for not being "ladylike" enough. Yes, because we all know that's the first quality every voter looks for in a female candidate. That and good table manners and the ability to serve up good coffee.
A woman serving in the U.S. military is far more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. You'd think that the epidemic of sexual assault would be the one topic where Republicans would watch what they're saying really closely. Well, not so for Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), who said in reference to sexual assaults in the military: "Gee-whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur." I suggest he be careful not to imply that a mass rape problem is due to sophomoric sex urges.
Back in October, during the California Republican Convention, these buttons were on display. Let's hope that during these seminars, Republicans are taught to resist the urge to reference a candidate's lady parts when trying to make a point about her political leanings. If you get the sudden desire to compare a woman to a hen, you might also want to take a breath and ask a friend to kindly slap you in the face first.
Despite the controversy surrounding Todd Akin's comments about "legitimate rape," Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) decided that we needed more fictitious comments about pregnancy from rape. Back in June, when he said "the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low," he faced massive backlash, mostly because people are familiar with basic math and know that the 30,000 pregnancies that result from rape every year in the United States, is not a negligible amount. Hopefully there's a special session just on this topic where a facilitator can teach our Republican friends the only appropriate time to spew fake information about rape is never.
Remember when Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner used the words "large posterior" and "big butt" to describe Michelle Obama's behind? Although he apologized afterwards, it hasn't stopped many other prominent Republicans from commenting on women's bodies. Whether it's the size of Nancy Pelosi's head or Hillary Clinton's "cankles," it's time that conservative men (and Democrats too) finally butt out (pun intended) of the business of women's looks.
Why does this sexism in politics matter? Because it can cost a candidate her race. A study conducted in 2010 found that when a female candidate was attacked with chauvisnistic language, she lost twice as much support as an attack without sexist undertones, even when the language was largely toned down.
So sexism doesn't just hurt our feelings, it can harm our electoral potential too. And it's discrimination. This kind of below-the-belt attacks should never be tolerated in a modern society that treats everyone equally. Keep it classy. Attack us on our ideas, not our gender.
More From Liz Plank