If you think that we’ve move past the need to advocate for women’s rights, be prepared to be shocked. In Trump’s America, anti-woman views are not only tolerated, but touted by candidates running for office.
Meet Courtland Sykes, who has thrown his hat into the ring to represent Missouri in the U.S. Senate. He’s gearing up for a run against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO).
Missouri, like every state, contains a large number of women (3,055,450, to be exact). And Sykes has never been shy about expressing his views on women. During the special election for the Alabama Senate seat, he jumped into the fray on his fiancée’s Facebook page:
‘I abhor the women who falsely accused Judge Moore. I am proud to call them what they are… Pathetic charlatans trying to cash in by tarnishing an innocent man.’
In Sykes’ quest to win the vote of the Missouri electorate, he’s embraced hard-line conservative social beliefs that even your grandparents would blanch at.
Just in case any ambiguity still existed regarding his specific views on women, he spelled out his thoughts in a document distributed to media outlets and posted on his Facebook page. Highlights include:
"I want to come home to a home cooked dinner at six every night, one that she fixes and one that I expect one day to have daughters learn after they become traditional homemakers and family wives" – @SykesforSenate
— Maureen Shaw (@MaureenShaw) January 25, 2018
Heaven forbid one of his as of yet non-existent daughters chooses to not get married. Speaking of his daughters, Sykes further expounds on his views:
"I want daughters to…live in homes shared with good husbands and I don't want them to grow up into career-obsessed banshees who forego home life and children and the happiness of a family to become nail-biting manphobic hell-bent feminist she devils…" – @SykesforSenate
— Maureen Shaw (@MaureenShaw) January 25, 2018
Before this excerpt he does mention that he wants his daughters to have their own workspace and their own degrees. But this is not enough for his fictional daughters. They must also have a home with husbands and remember that it is also their responsibility to take on the emotional labor of that home. To Sykes, men are defined by their actions outside the home. Women are allowed to exist however they like, as long as their first priority is meeting the needs of their husband.
When Sykes discusses women, he focuses most of his hatred on feminists. Contained in his statement are varying misconceptions of the social movement. He mentions second-wave feminist Gloria Steinem, saying, “Gloria Steinem be damned.”
Perhaps Sykes misunderstands the legacy of Steinem, who defined a feminist as:
‘…anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.’
This is a far cry from Sykes characterization of feminists as:
‘…nail-biting manophobic hell-bent she devils.’
In his diatribe, he claims to support the rights of women, as long as they don’t stray from “natural womanhood.” This is an interesting choice of words. Sykes throws it into his screed, assuming that everyone reading agrees that “natural womanhood” is the true state of femininity, which exists deeply buried in every woman. To him, it is this natural state that feminists seek to suppress.
But this interpretation of the relationship between femininity and proper performance of womanhood is built on a shaky foundation. Femininity is defined as the rules imposed on women by the society around them. What is the proper expression of femininity? It is dependent upon the society in which the woman exists.
So the appeal to “natural womanhood” is not a call for women to acknowledge their genetic predisposition to be subservient homemakers, it is a demand that women conform to standards set by a society. Historically, these standards have been largely based on the demands of men. Sarah Gamble explains this nuance extremely well in her book The Routledge Companion to Feminism and Postfeminism:
‘Masquerading as ‘natural’ womanhood, [feminism] is actually something imposed upon the female subject, in spite of the fact that the pressure to conform to the culturally dominant feminine ideal is internalized to the extent that women effectively tailor themselves to fit it — hence the existence of an immensely profitable fashion and beauty industry.’
Were Courtland Sykes to indulge in some introspection, he might more articulately express his frustration as being directed to the changing societal standards that require people to value women as much as men.
The most troubling aspect of Sykes’ statement is that he is not alone in his views on women. Take a look at some of the support he’s received since these statements came to national attention:
Hang in there Courtland. They'll probably hit you with more lies, spins and accusations than Roy Moore ever dreamed of. #MAGA
— Summer Skies❌❌❌ (@Summerskies12) January 25, 2018
ANYONE LIVING IN MISSOURI HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE FOR COURTLAND SYKES FOR US SENATE! He is supporter of Trump Agenda & huge MAGA proponent! pic.twitter.com/dJiOsbakGD
— G. Pyle ??#MAGA (@GomerP6699) January 24, 2018
Others shared more broad views on women and feminism:
Feminism is cancer
— Joe Biggs (@Rambobiggs) January 25, 2018
Feminism is a total contradiction… they claim they want equal and gender neutral, not notice women for their lady parts but their lady smarts yet they wear pussy hats and vagina costumes and Hollywood women dress half naked. ?
— Lori Hendry (@Lrihendry) January 24, 2018
It used to be that you had to go out of the church and into the world to encounter feminists. Now, they are everywhere. Even professing Christians uphold feminism. They are the majority.
I, for one, am sick to death of it.
I desperately look for Christ to return.
— CoramDeo (@stone_719) January 25, 2018
Underneath a rock in a dark corner of the internet, there exists a community that espouses similar values: The Red Pill. Billing itself as “sexual strategy”, The Red Pill suggests that the rise of feminism has created a power imbalance in the favor of women. At the heart of The Red Pill ideology is that women, commonly referred to as “b*tches,” long to be expected to conform to the same kind of natural womanhood that Courtland Sykes advocates. One of the fundamental texts of The Red Pill, The Manipulated Man, explains the natural state of women:
‘A woman, as we have already said, is, in contrast to a man, a human being who does not work.
‘By the age of twelve at the latest, most women have decided to become prostitutes. Or, to put it another way they have planned a future for themselves which consists of choosing a man and letting him do all the work. In return for his support, they are prepared to let him make use of their vagina at certain given intervals. The minute a woman has made this decision she ceases to develop her mind. She may, of course, go on to obtain various degrees and diplomas. These increase her market value in the eyes of men, for men believe that a woman who can recite things by heart must also know and understand them.’
The author goes on to address a woman’s relationship with stereotypically “feminine” tasks:
‘When a man sees a woman spending hours cooking, washing dishes and cleaning, it never occurs to him that such jobs probably make her quite happy since they are exactly at her mental level.’
Sykes’ assertion that his fiancée “loves” paying the price of cooking dinner each night at six is exactly in line with The Red Pill text. According to the author, women love doing housework above all else:
‘A woman does not want to stay at home just to rest (what has she, after all, to rest from?) – but she is addicted to pleasure and she needs time for her pleasures. And what are they? Baking cakes, ironing the laundry, making clothes, cleaning windows, curling her hair, painting her toenails and sometimes even – and we will come to this later – doing a little shorthand and typing. And just to make sure that no one recognizes the fact that for her all this is pleasure, she calls these pleasures `housework.”
Lest you think that these views only exist on the fringes of society, consider that Sykes is only following in the dinner-obsessed footsteps of his idol, Donald Trump:
Just in case you can’t see the video, Trump is discussing his wife working outside the home, saying:
‘And then I have days where, if I come home — and I don’t want to sound too much like a chauvinist — but when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I go through the roof.’
Even though Donald Trump holds these views and is president, Sykes might do well to remember that it is indeed 2018, not 1950. Should Courtland need some pointers on how to move forward, he may consider this advice:
I suggest you emigrate to Gilead, what with those throwback, knuckle-dragging views you espouse pic.twitter.com/UBpaEJP5nv
— MarinCountyGal (@MarinCountyGal) January 25, 2018
Featured image: sykesforsenate2018.com