Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Help Ohio Rep. Betty Sutton fight sexism

This is one of those stories that you almost can't believe. We all know statements like this are said all the time, all over the country, about all kinds of women, and followed up with "and make me a sandwich" (I'm guessing). But this really happened: the Medina County Republican Executive Committee sent out a flier -- 15,000 of them -- in which the Medina County GOP said "Let's take Betty Sutton out of the House and put her back in the kitchen!"

They are referring to Rep. Betty Sutton, who was elected to serve in the House in 2006, who spent eight years serving in the Ohio House, and who is an accomplished lawyer.

Why the kitchen, and not just, say "let's take her out of the house, period"? Well, because a woman's place is in the kitchen! Duh. Even though Bill Heck, chairman of the committee, later said the wording was in poor taste, he stands by the flier. He offered up this bullshit "apology":
"This piece of rhetoric was certainly not meant to be offensive." Heck noted that he has two daughters and his wife had previously run for elective office. "So the words themselves weren't intended to be offensive or sexist."
"See," he says, "I know women! Three of them! And at least one of them has done something outside of the kitchen! Obviously I'm not sexist and neither is that statement!" I mean really, is there anything worse than when someone says something completely offensive and sexist, and then says "it wasn't meant to be offensive or sexist." Just what was it meant to be then, if not sexist and offensive? How is there possibly any other way to interpret that statement? Bill Heck, would you ever say "Let's take Some Man out of the house and put him back in the kitchen!" NO. No you would not, ever, and here's why: It doesn't make any sense because the kitchen is where women belong. Not men. See how that works, Bill Heck? Also? If Betty Sutton should be put back in the kitchen, should all women be there? Or just her?

Here is Sutton's statement on the flier:
“The statement in the mailer is an insult to all women regardless of whether they work within the home raising families and managing households or work beyond the home, providing for themselves and others. Women play a vital role in every facet of this great nation from nurturing our children, caring for their families and aging parents, managing households to managing small businesses, protecting our communities and nation, and everything in between. The comment made in the flyer not only devalues women and all that they contribute to the strength of our nation, but it is also an unconscionable statement of belief about the potential of our girls and young women. A young woman who brought me the mailer shared her pained disappointment about it, saying, ‘I can’t believe that this is how some people value women. And, even if they do, I can’t believe that they would feel comfortable promoting it in a flyer like this.’

“The statement in the mailer devalues the tremendous breadth of talents of women and girls, be they Republicans, Independents, Democrats or none of the above. I call on Republican candidate Tom Ganley to unequivocally denounce the comment immediately and for Medina County Republican Party Chairman Bill Heck, who continues to defend the belittling comment about the women to step down.”
Another story says that "[Medina County GOP] party officers have agreed to more closely supervise newsletter content" and quotes Heck as saying "We will do much better in the future." We'll see.

If you would like to help Sutton fight sexism, you can donate to her campaign here. You could also let the Medina County GOP know how you feel about this flier. Contact information is here.

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