Get ready to be pissed off. I mean really pissed off.
The Washington Times’ Communities section online featured an article by independent, conservative writer Eric Golub titled, “The Top 30 Hottest Political Women of 2012”, a wretched little roster objectifying accomplished women in the name of the “ultimate aphrodisiac” — power.
Think that sounds jaw-droppingly sexist and offensive? It is. Golub uses “political” as a broad term, relating it to any women operating in the sphere of politics, from commentators to legislators, but all that are judged on the merits of their magnetism. Fear not, he does not discriminate based on age, because “hot is hot.” Golub unabashedly lists ten liberals, centrists, and conservatives and makes a point to omit Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin from the list in a benevolent gesture that would “give another deserving hottie a chance.”
His list provides a short narrative of each lucky lady, giving a nod to her political accomplishments or sprinkling a noteworthy factoid, but in every instance, disarming her with a reference to her appearance.
Fox News Legal Bombshells highlight Kimberly Guilfoyle who “bounces in her chair to the music, which she knows drives the male audience insane.” Why of course, Mr. Golub, because the motive of all women everywhere is to satisfy the viewing pleasure of her male spectators. Pam Bondi, the Florida Attorney General is a “tough as nails prosecutor who simply looks stunning”. Lauded for leadership, Lisa Roper’s main purpose is serving as proof that the National Federation of Republican Women is “getting younger and hotter.”
Let’s not forget Leslie Marshall, a liberal radio host who is a “fierce debater” with skills “matched only by her pleasant nature and warm smile.” Ah, yes, because all women in power are made palatable by a disarming softness and feminine affability.
These are only a few of the repugnant remarks that left me roiling. What’s worse is that this is only an abridged version of a larger crass collection of his “120 political bouncies” of 2012. He harrowingly describes this compilation as “20 breasts and 20 hides per all three political denominations.”
My favorite quote in the piece gives lip service to Jill Filipovic of Feministe and Jessica Valenti who founded Feministing, both whom I greatly admire, by channeling a tired and clichéd anti-feminist mantra, “Not all feminists are hideously ugly.“ Golub reduces women of great accomplishments and potent power to compromised consumables. This list is a disservice to politics and horrifyingly degrading to women everywhere.
Women are already patently underrepresented at all levels of government, occupying only 17% of the seats in Congress, 23% of statewide elective office positions and 24% of State Legislatures. The United States ranks 90 in the world in terms of women in governmental positions of power and only 6 of our 50 states have female governors.
Aside from these harrowing statistics, female politicians are famously scrutinized for their appearance and fashion choices in a way that male politicos are not. A 2008 study from Northwestern University known as ‘The Political Gender Gap’ revealed that facial attractiveness was more important for the electoral success of female politicians. The same was not true for their male counterparts. In other words not only do you have to be a competent candidate, but you also must be visually pleasing to win votes.
How can be we fight for representative equality when we’re constantly being impaired by the politics of beauty?
Golub commits an egregious crime with his misogynistic and pompous pontification. He is encouraging others to openly objectify women in power. He gives lip service to their merits, but only at the price of reducing them to eye candy. He sanctions sexism by celebrating female power as long as it is accompanied by conventional attractiveness. What better way to disempower them than by reducing them to numbers on a list?
I tweeted Golub based on his information listed on the website and called him out on his overt objectification. I have yet to hear a peep from him, but I’m sure he’d welcome additional critiquing of his offensive ode to female political power. Tell Golub how you feel by tweeting him @TYGRRRREXPRESS or sending him a message here.