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6 Absurdly Demeaning Conservative Attacks on Women

Republican politicians are rolling back women's reproductive rights based on the norms of animal husbandry.

Photo Credit: Ann W. Kosche/


Everyone knows women can be bitches sometimes, right? Unless they're cougars, that is, on the prowl -- or if they're a bit younger, they're more like vixens, kinda foxy. They henpeck when married and go wet and wild when single. They can take out their claws out or put them away. (Who doesn't love a good catfight?)

Less dangerous are the girls and the young women, softer and fuzzier, who are more like bunnies, or, as the English say, like birds. Either way, diminutive and harmless. Girls like these are more like pets. Chicks or kittens.

Everyone does it, using language that renders women as animals;the list is endless. This culturally ingrained misogyny, as reflected in acceptable language that dehumanizes half the world's population, is not limited to any one country or religion, or followers of one or another ideology.

 But in U.S. politics, a particular trend has emerged among a certain set of conservatives: that of equating a woman with a farm animal. When, last week, Safeway Senior Vice President General Counsel Bob Gordon stood before a shareholders’ meeting telling a quot; jokequot; that portrayed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as being worth less than a pair of hogs,he clearly had no reservations about publicly making this joke and obviously thought it was funny. After all, he was only elaborating on a meme that's been evolving among right-wing Republican politicians in state legislatures.

Let's see. There's state Rep. Terry England, the infamous Georgia legislator comparing pregnant hogs and cows to women while debating a proposal that became known as the " women as livestock bill," which would hold pregnant women to the animal husbandry standard of carrying a dead fetus to term.

Then there's Missouri House Majority Leader Tim Jones, explaining that he was well-prepared to propose restrictions on women's health options because his " father's a veterinarian."

And Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce's sexist and racist reasoning that immigrant women come here to " drop a child" during their " breeding season."

Montana Rep. Keith Regier recently explained the higher value of " preg-tested" cows, forcing his opposition to point out that "We do not place price tags on women in the same way that we do on cattle."

State Rep. Mary Franson of Minnesota created a video to explain, as a context for discussing food stamps, that " animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves." That was similar to South Carolina Lieutenant Gov. Andre Bauer's explanation of welfare mothers as " stray animals" who will "breed"because they don't "know any better."

Last but not least, there's the sexualized bitch category to which Georgetown student Sandra Fluke was dragged, in a sort of gender-bending mode, when Republican state representative Krayton Kerns, an actual " cow doctor," compared herto a rutting bulldog paid stud fees for sex at Kern's veterinary school.

These right-wing politicians and legislators obviously favor pigs, cows and livestock in their "women are not quite human" metaphors and analogies. What does this tell us about how conservatives like their womenfolk? What do these animals share?

1) They're domesticated: docile and tame.

2) They're often used for controlled breeding and reproductive purposes.

3) They're generally considered dumb and unthinking, and there is the implication that they are immature and dependent.

4) They're often thought of as unclean.

5) They're not dangerous or threatening (i.e. sexual and powerful).

6) They're a consumable resource.

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