When Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) went off on an emailed tirade against DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) after she criticized his stance on Medicare, many news agencies focused on the fact that he called her “vile, despicable and cowardly.”
There was a lacking focus on another epithet, however. West took his tirade a step further, asserting that Schultz was “not a lady.”
The congressman’s personal attacks showcase a recurring misogynistic theme in politics. Being called vile, despicable and cowardly is insulting enough, but when resorting to gender-based attacks one has reached an all-time low.
Why would a member of Congress cry wolf and of all things, do it via the Internet? An adult should be able to address conflict headstrong and with integrity, but I digress. It’s no surprise that West acted in such a manner, however, considering he’s a freshman member of Congress, and he has apparently not learned the basics of “couth 101.”
Of course, Wasserman went on national television to show West just how much of a lady she can be, and condemned him without losing her refinement.
See her reaction below:
It appears West’s attack is rooted from a history between the two, as Wasserman Schultz once protested outside West’s office in Florida, and accused him of writing columns that denigrated women.
Isn’t that coincidental.
But would West have reacted so vehemently if Wasserman Schultz was a man? I’ll take a stab at it and say no, however, it is up for debate.
What isn’t debatable is the influx of misogyny in politics. If it’s not questioning whether Michele Bachmann can handle the presidency because of migraines, or applauding how well spoken she is as if it should come to a surprise, one has to admit that the media and male politicians find many ways to marginalize women.
Even Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has fell victim to the world of politics and misogyny, being criticized for her lack of femininity.
It appears when female politicians like Clinton, Bachmann, Wasserman Schultz, and even Nancy Pelosi take the aggressive approach to politics — which is an emblematic element for any political make-up — they’re somehow made out to be easy targets.
Misogyny isn’t just represented in politics, however. Women are still paid less than their male counterparts in the workforce, despite out-performing males in education, are underrepresented in the military, and still face societal criticisms such as balancing motherhood and employment.
When will we give women in politics a break?
According to Rep. West, it’ll be when they learn how to be more lady like.