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Don’t get mad, get funded


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By Anna Levitan

Staff Writer

Democrats are taking the phrase “don’t get mad, get even” to a new level.

Republicans persist in making sexist remarks about their female opponents. They have called a candidate for Texas governor an “abortion Barbie,” a Kentucky Senate candidate an “empty dress,” and a pregnant woman a “host.”

Democrats are no longer letting these blatant shows of sexism pass by without comment. Instead, they’re cashing in.

Traditional wisdom is that sexist remarks should be shrugged off in case they draw attention to gender over issues. In fact, we’re taught from a young age to ignore insults, to be the “better man.” Democrats are throwing that old idea out the window and choosing to be the better women.

A 2010 study by Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, called “Name It. Change It.” supported this new course of action. According to the New York Times, the study found that “sexist attacks on a hypothetical female candidate decreased the likelihood of men and women voting for that candidate. But a direct response, rather than making matters worse, made up for that lost ground, and in some cases damaged her male opponent.”

Democrats are going out of their way to track Republican opponents and show off their sexist comments to the world in order to increase their voter lists and donations. The strategy is proving effective.

Steve Martin, a state senator in Virginia, referred to a pregnant woman as a “host” in a Facebook message. In response, Emily’s List, a committee that backs female candidates who support abortion rights, created an online petition, “Tell the G.O.P.: Pregnant Women Are Not ‘Hosts.’”

Emily’s List has raised a record $25 million this election cycle, no doubt in part due to actions like that.

Republicans are, naturally, not fans of this new strategy. Some claim that this behavior is an attempt by Democrats to portray them as out of touch with women. Katie Packer Gage, deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney in 2012, said that she’s “more than just a set of reproductive organs.”

Yet Republicans have proven over and over again that they are out of touch with women and that they do view us as just a set of reproductive organs—if that.

In August, the Hillary Project, an anti-Clinton PAC, released an online game “that allows viewers to virtually slap the former secretary of state across the face.” In the race for the Missouri Senate seat Todd Akin claimed that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely became pregnant.

Republicans oppose equal pay legislation, repeatedly attack family planning funding and legal abortion, fight against birth control options, and more. And then they try to claim that they are fighting for women, not against them.

In 2012, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh called a woman advocating for contraceptive coverage a “slut.”

The fight for women to be treated as equals is real, and Republicans fall on the side against women all too often. They need to be told that their remarks, their actions, and the laws they are passing are not okay. After all, they’ll never learn otherwise.

A balance must be struck, though. As important (and sometimes fun) as it is to call out sexism, there are other important issues at stake. Democrats must be careful to not let the fight against sexism drown out their other views.

It would be a broad generalization to say that no Democrats are sexist or that no one in the party is against abortion or that they’re all paragons of equality. If Republicans want to start calling them out and making money, they should. Sexism isn’t okay, no matter what political views are held.

For now, here’s a tip for Republicans: Stop being sexist, and we’ll stop making money off your comments. To Democrats: Keep up the good work.

 

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Don’t get mad, get funded