Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congresswoman from Florida and Chair of the Democratic National Committee, knows a thing or two about power and politics. And in a recent interview, she acknowledges that her own actions as a leader are viewed differently (and more problematically) because of her gender. So it gave me a bit of whiplash to see, in the same interview, Wasserman Schultz take a pot shot at younger women — in a comment that is brief but so bold it became the title: “Debbie Wasserman Schultz Thinks Young Women Are Complacent.” Responding to a question about the generational divide among Hillary Clinton supporters, Wasserman Schultz said briefly, “Here’s what I see: a complacency among the generation of young women whose entire lives have been lived after Roe v. Wade was decided.” Geez, Congresswoman, why frame young women as apathetic? It hardly seems that way to me. And asserting so is both inaccurate and a bad strategy for rallying support among an important constituency: young, progressive women.
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A brief list of coded words you should not be using to describe women: Hysterical (not like, “Oh my God, that’s so funny, it’s hysterical!” but the antique mythical disorder where a uterus floats around a woman’s body and she can’t control her emotions because of it). There’s also shrill, bossy, emotional, high maintenance, etc. Each of these are fraught, loaded with sexist implications, and used as weapons against women on a regular basis.
When Donald Trump called Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee Chairwoman, “crazy” and “a highly neurotic woman” it was one more comment in a long list of politically incorrect statements he has made since joining the presidential race. Unfortunately, it is also a characterization frequently made about Jewish women in general.
Ever since the complete firestorm surrounding GOP senatorial Candidate Todd Akin’s comments on “legitimate rape” the GOP has kept mum on “red-meat” social issues. The word “abortion” was barely mentioned all week in prime-time convention speeches, for instance, many of which were by women and delivered well. And even though the party’s platform contained a complete abortion ban, there appeared to be a concerted effort not to attract attention to that inconvenient fact.
In light of an email tirade in which Tea Party congressman Allen West called Democratic National Committee chairwoman (and proud Jewess) Debbie Wasserman Schultz “vile,” and wrote that she has proved that she is “not a Lady,” The Daily Beast’s Michelle Goldberg pulls back the curtain on what she sees as West’s history of misogynistic behavior.