Jessica Valenti’s article, The Shooting of Gabrielle Giffords highlights the “Man-up” culture in US politics: In a country that sees violent masculinity as the ideal, it’s no wonder this rhetoric resonates, does a remarkable job of looking at Tea Party women that have promoted a culture of violence. Sheriff Dupnik acknowledged this disgrace in his press conference.
Valenti looks at several key culprits, including Sharron Angle, who suggested that if Congress “keeps going the way it is”, people would turn toward “second amendment remedies”. (The second amendment of the US constitution outlines the right of Americans to bear arms.) And in an interview with a local Nevada paper, Angle said: “The nation is arming … If we don’t win at the ballot box, what will be the next step?”
I love how Valenti articulates how these right wing women buy into a masculine model of violence for political expediency: “Stephen Ducat, author of The Wimp Factor: Gender Gaps, Holy Wars and the Politics of Anxious Masculinity, says that masculine and violent language is often used in elections and campaigns – especially by men on the right – because of a fear of being perceived as feminine. In a sexist society, what could be worse than being called a girl? So it doesn’t seem unlikely that conservative female politicians feel the need to peddle their ideas in gendered and violent language in order to fit in with the masculinised right.” Republican Christine O’Donnell said that her opponent was “unmanly”; Angle told Harry Reid to “man up”; and Palin praised Republican Arizona Governor Jan Brewer as having “the cojones that our president does not have” to enforce immigration laws–all embarrassing examples of the promotion of violence. Did these women not believe there words would have consequences? I hope you will take the time to read the article in full.