Why do Republican Women Participate in the War on Women?

The GOP's ongoing "war on women" has never been pretty, but the past week has been particularly ugly.

The big to-do at the moment is Republican pushback over the Paycheck Fairness Act, which seeks to close the income equality gap, as well as a Mitch McConnell slam that the law is merely designed to allow Dems to "blow a few kisses to their powerful pals on the left." (As opposed to, ya know, getting women equal pay.)

In related WTF news, potential GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul's just-unveiled budget plan would disproportionately cut programs for women, according to the National Women's Law Center. And Republican Sen. Vance McAllister, after being caught flogging an employee, got to keep his job while his (low-paid, naturally!) mistress was canned.

Instances like these have never failed to utterly confound. The GOP used to be pretty damn pro-women, so this doesn't necessarily have historical precedent. And it seems to be one of many weapons the party is using to commit a slow and bloody political suicide. They do realize women make up half the population and can vote now, right?

While these instances are maddening enough, we can at least look at them as the actions of guys who benefit from the whole submissive-woman thing. What's more confusing white-knuckle angering are the Republican women perpetuating the nasty gender politics of their party.

Case in sad point: last month, on the final day of National Women's History Month, a bunch of GOP ladies got together in National Harbor, Md., to participate in a discussion called "Evaluating Feminism, Its Failures and Its Future." During the event, backed by the uber-conservative Heritage Foundation, the ladies talked about how life would be so much better if women everywhere just got hitched and started taking care of the household and kids and stuff (ya know, like in the good ol' days!) A quote from a female panelist at the event was (brace yourself):

Feminism has done so much damage to happiness.

Far from existing in a silo, the event leeched upon a 2011 book, The Flipside of Feminism, that argued female liberation has actually damaged women. Written by two conservative ladies, it aims to "provide readers with a new view of women in America—casting off the ideology that preaches faux empowerment and liberation from men and marriage."

It's also worth noting that the Paycheck Fairness Act has been shunned not only by GOP men, but by prominent Republican Congresswomen who are directly impacted by such pay inequality.

But perhaps the most egregious example of a GOP woman falling in line with her party's war on women is Kristen Kukowski. The Republican National Committee aid recently went on MSNBC to discuss her party's alternative plans to the Paycheck Fairness Act. Her generally garbled, incoherent responses revealed absolutely zero solutions.

Perhaps Kukowski's blundering was the result of deep inner conflict—a subconscious struggle between what's right for her and her party line. But I prefer to believe she's actually a double-agent, tasked with bringing down the GOP's female-damning ways from the inside by illustrating on national television how f'ed up it all is. Maybe that's true of all Republican women who cling to a party ideology that tells them to be subservient, low-paid man-pleasers.

We can only hope.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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