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The Atlantic Does Another Gender Dive and Hits Rock Bottom

CONCLUSION: Republican congresswomen have more feminine faces than Democrats, a phenomenon that observers are able to recognize. [The Atlantic]


THE MEDIA outlet that brought you Ann Marie-Slaughter’s weirdly retro “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” is once again mining sexual stereotypes. For whatever reason, The Atlantic just can’t get enough of their 1950s gender assessments, while perpetuating the past under cloak of being serious. They evidently don’t get the irony in hinging this article on a “Journal of Experimental Psychology,” with writer Lindsay Abrams doing the stenography.

Republican congresswomen had the most sex-typical faces. When the subtle dimensions of their features were taken as a whole, they were rated twice as typically feminine as their Democratic cohorts. The correlation between femininity and party alignment was directly related to their voting records: the more conservatively they voted, the more sex-typical their face. – Study: Republican Congresswomen Look Twice as ‘Feminine’ as Democrats

This is some throwback stuff and I say this as someone who did the pageant scene all the way up to the grandmother of them all, the Miss America Pageant. But once they helped me pay for college at least I got over it.

This latest gender dive would have been better titled Republican Females Like Long Hair and Lots of Makeup, Because Feminine Sells. The anecdotal evidence could have come from Fox News Channel, but then they’d also have to talk about false eyelashes and Roger Ailes’s fetish for blondes and his theory for hiring women.

The Atlantic’s Ms. Abrams finally gets to something half-way interesting in “implications,” emphasis added.

IMPLICATIONS: The researchers see an easy connection between the Republican women’s objective femininity and their party’s obsession with traditional sex roles. That the correlation wasn’t seen in men allows them to expand on the role of gender in politics: political leadership, they suggest, “is a historically masculine endeavor, thus automatically conferring masculine characteristics on male politicians.” In other words, male Republicans don’t need to look masculine in the way that female Republicans need to look feminine.

Holy revelations, Wonder Woman! Who could have guessed?

Defining “easy” should come with a cartoon.

But wait! There’s more:

In a statement, author Kerri Johnson pointed to research suggesting that people tend to think of competency and femininity as being mutually exclusive in women. “We suspect that conservative constituents demand that their politicians be not just competent but also gender-typical, especially among women,” she said — putting the ladies of the GOP in an unfortunate double-bind.

To repeat, Research suggesting that people tend to think of competency and femininity as being mutually exclusive in women.. I swear to God somebody has to have been punk’d.

My heart is breaking for Linda McMahon, Gov. Susana Martinez and other Republican female pols like Sen. Kelly Ayotte. No, strike Ayotte, because she’s definitely safe, her “objective femininity” fits perfectly into the Republican “obsession with traditional sex roles.” She could have been in a pageant if she had to. You know, that girl next door, pretty as a picture, Sarah Palin babe factor in a party that believes women should be forced to give birth if a victim of rape and incest.

Oh, sorry. Slipping into issues again. Female equals looks, repeat. Female equals looks.

But Sarah Palin was a governor, so what went wrong?

It’s all so confusing. If only The Atlantic would help.

Speaking of Sarah Palin, she actually is the only proof you need to validate this critically important reductive analysis, though the people involved prefer to use “The Bachmann Effect.”

Funny that, after becoming the first Republican female to win a presidential caucus, primary or straw poll, she’s now in the fight of her life to keep her House seat. After all those debates and her primetime interviews, something didn’t quite translate right or maybe Bachmann finally was able to be heard fully and that wasn’t such a good idea.

Whatever happened to she’s crazy, but she’s our crazy? Ah, how the times have changed. Some things false eyelashes, expensive makeover, and new outfits can’t change. Who knew?

Going back to Sarah Palin, the first female in Republican Party history to be included on the white male dominated national party ticket. She wasn’t even invited to the 2012 Republican convention. Mike Huckabee was fine, but Palin was not. Haven’t noticed her femininity factor slipping much lately, though she did look like she donned a second-rate wig recently on FNC when talking to Sean Hannity.

The Atlantic takes us back to Robin Givhan’s cleavage column on candidate Hillary Clinton back in July 2007, with all eyes on Hillary’s wrinkles and whether America was ready for our own Golda Meir or Margaret Thatcher.

The work to rise to commander in chief has been so daunting that Hillary Rodham Clinton is yelling from every microphone that she’s offered that she’s “out of politics,” which can now be fed in a loop for those requiring therapy and a tape at the thought she won’t make a second run.

Is it any wonder that The Atlantic, stuck in the far flung world of “experimental psychology” and retro anti-feminism, spotlights one professional powerhouse, whom I’ve admired for years, who has multiple choices and picks running for home after she’s reached her dream job, while opining, women take heed.

But what do these two analyses even mean? Absolutely nothing new, so what’s the point? Where does The Atlantic hope to take us with this mindless junk? That women who make it regret it? That choices don’t lead to the perfect life? That choices don’t come with sacrifice? What about the women who have no choices? They sure as hell shouldn’t be reading The Atlantic’s columns on women and gender.

Retro gender articles don’t advance the conversation into modern reality where most women don’t have choices to bail to an Ivy League school and feminine looks being stereotypical of one party over another doesn’t mean squat even when linked to the policy it represents, because of the lack of thought to perpetuate the discussion beyond what stereotypical analysis brings, which inevitably leads to yet another dead end.

Whether it’s Ann Marie-Slaughter’s whine about her own choices at a time when two-income families have become the norm, or the assignment taken on by Lindsay Abrams, we stay stuck. Never venturing beyond the easy fallback choice of relying on some “Journal of Experimental Psychology,” meant to offer expertise, when all it does is hoist more nonsense into the tubes with a headline that screams Republican Congresswomen Look Twice as ‘Feminine’ as Democrats.

What it means to look feminine and how that manifests through actions continues down the Leave It To Beaver Road. A woman of substance gets exhausted by the drill. When this will end nobody knows.

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7 Responses to The Atlantic Does Another Gender Dive and Hits Rock Bottom

  1. pritesh September 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    I believe they are completing with Newsweek to see who can publish the craziest non-sense.

  2. secularhumanizinevoluter September 28, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    Could someone please explain to me why this garbage rtag is even still in business? Or do they only sell to the faux not news, limpwithnoballs crowd?

    • PWT September 28, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

      Sorry, the Atlantic is a lefty magazine.

      • angels81 September 28, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

        Well. its obvious you have never read the Atlantic journal.

        • secularhumanizinevoluter September 28, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

          It’s obvious there’s a LOT of things some folks here are disconnected from….starting with reality.

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