The women that just stormed Washington after a legendary midterm election have an agenda. They’re not taking crap and they’re backing up their claims. This straight shooting behavior has not been accepted by their peers. Namely male politicians who have nothing else to criticize outside of their looks. Female politicians aren’t eye candy. Enough.
Have there been some policy critiques thrown in the mix? Definitely. Some are concerned with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposed tax plan that would increase the tax rate on the wealthiest in the country.
Despite this one instance, all the jabs aimed at female politicians are based on their looks and other factors that have no relevance to their service. Arizona’s first female Senator Kyrsten Sinema has often been referred to as Senator Madonna, Senator Barbie, and criticized for her eccentric clothing.
In one extreme, Hallandale Beach commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub started a petition to have Rashida Tlaib removed from office. The petition was dripping with racist comments, one of which Lima-Taub said Tlaib would blow up Capitol Hill.
Our political system is already a divided one and these toxic comments do not do anything change that. These comments also hint at something bigger- those dishing out the insults have nothing of substance against these women. Or if they do, they’re choosing the pettier route.
Female politicians in the spotlight aren’t there for your entertainment. They’re not there to ‘look pretty’ or ‘dress appropriately’. Frankly, none of that is any of our concern as long as they are doing their job properly.
The ability of these women to properly serve their states does not lie in their bright clothing, blonde hair, middle-eastern descent, or the color of lipstick worn during their oath. It comes down to hard work. These women facing a barrage of insults are scrappy enough to handle their own and get things done.
This unsubstantiated hate is woven into our country’s societal norm. It’s only over the last few years that it’s garnering media attention. Those hurling the insults are getting more bold as to where and when they say these things. If they’re not careful, karma will be pay back.
Constituents, especially younger ones, are listening more than ever before. They are realizing their power to keep someone in office or put someone new in that place. Any politician, regardless of political affiliation, that participates in this baseless bashing risks losing their seat. How can they represent large, diverse states while insulting another person or people?
The women currently dominating congress are inspiring future generations of girls who may one day take office. How they address these attacks is paramount. They are showing young girls how to handle these situations with class and persevere despite it.
We should leave critiques to factors that matter such as policy, inappropriate behavior, and job performance. Critiques on looks, race, or ethnicity have no place in our government.
The women in the 116th Congress aren’t here to be your eye-candy.
Cover image courtesy of The New York Times
Also published on Medium.