You really have to wonder why some of the leading voices on the right have such a difficult time hiding their contempt for women.
This weekend, for example, the Houston Chronicle reported that Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of the influential far-right website RedState, admitted he had been wrong when he called First Lady Michelle Obama a “Marxist harpy wife.” But he expressed dismay that his description of state Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for Texas governor, as “Abortion Barbie” might be offensive:
“The phrase was intentional to discredit Wendy Davis, but I never thought about ‘Barbie’ being something that demeaned women. I have an 8-year-old daughter who loves Barbie.”
Oh sure. Equating an accomplished attorney and elected official with a pretty-woman doll known for her remarkable figure, cute outfits and popularity among girls in elementary school? And using that to create a dismissive moniker for someone who opposes government interference in women’s reproductive health care? Gosh, who would be offended by any of that?
Erickson isn’t that stupid, but maybe he thinks everyone else is. In any case, he knows what he said is offensive. The problem is: he also knows that kind of misogynistic rhetoric is red meat for the far-right base.
And RedState’s attacks on Texas women aren’t limited just to Wendy Davis. Last week another post on RedState took aim at Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder of Whole Woman’s Health. Whole Woman’s Health offers abortion care to women but has been closing some of its clinics in Texas after the Legislature passed draconian an anti-abortion bill (House Bill 2) last year. Comparing those clinics to Nazi death camps, writer Steve Berman calls Hagstrom Miller a “monster” and a “witch.” And this:
“If Wendy Davis is, as Erick has so aptly bestowed upon her, ‘Abortion Barbie,’ then Amy Hagstrom Miller … is the High Priestess of the Coven of Death.”
Berman’s piece even repeats the discredited myth, manufactured and promoted by right-wing activists, that opponents of that anti-abortion bill last year brought jars of urine and feces to the Texas Capitol in protest. Berman calls those protesters “deranged.”
That’s how the right views women who think government has no business interfering in the personal decisions they make with their doctors about whether or when to have children.