Misogyny in the Republican Party by Gina Messina

Gina Messina-Dysert profileIn my home city of Cleveland, Ohio, yesterday Donald Trump received the nomination to run as the Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 election.  While we were on an upswing following the Cavaliers NBA championship and have been highlighted as “Believeland,” the nomination of Trump is another disappointing and health hazardous event that can be added to the reasons Cleveland is sometimes called “the mistake on the lake.”

There are so many reasons to be angered by the nomination of Trump; his blatant racism and bigotry, incitement of violence, ignorance of domestic or foreign policy, his insistence on discussing his penis size, and the list goes on.  With the recent tragic murders of Alton Sterling, Philandro Castile, and eight police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Sterling’s 15 year old son has called for us to come together as “one united family” and end the violence.  Trump on the other hand, capitalized on their deaths as a way to highlight his “law and order” campaign and argue that Obama and Hillary Clinton are weak.

We’ve seen time and time again that Trump is unable to articulate anything meaningful in relation to his ability to fulfill the role of POTUS and his hateful rhetoric is influencing the ongoing violence in our nation.  Critical points are being made about an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-Latino, pro-white supremacy Trump; however, I am concerned that appropriate attention is not being given to the anti-woman sentiment of Trump and the GOP in general.

Oppressions are deeply intertwined and must be uprooted together. And so, the misogyny that exists within the Republican party must also be acknowledged as problematic.

Trump has certainly been condemned for his statements about women; however as a whole the Republican party is focused on a campaign that is anti-woman and ordained by God.  My question is why are many much more willing to acknowledge racist and bigoted statements, but often turn a blind eye to the repeated right wing attempts to over turn Roe vs. Wade, defund Planned Parenthood, and regulate women’s sexuality in the name of religion?

Despite the fact that we are a secular nation, the Republican Party has claimed Christianity as a weapon against women’s human rights and it has been accepted as fair game in the world of politics.  Trump’s argument, along with Gingrich’s and others that we should create tracking systems or ban Muslims from coming into the nation has been immediately recognized as racist, ethnocentric, and fear mongering (and rightfully so).  But attempting to control women’s bodies and send us back to biblical times, well, it is something that many shrug their shoulders at and call a reasonable political issue.

All forms of oppression need to be addressed; you cannot uproot one, you must uproot all.  And so, if we are to properly address the bigoted statements coming from the Republican nominee, and booming through Cleveland at the moment being, we must acknowledge the complexities of these issues, the ways they are intertwined, and why all are unacceptable.

Gina Messina, Ph.D. is an American feminist scholar, Catholic theologian, author, and activist. She is also Co-founder of Feminism and Religion. She writes for The Huffington Post, has authored multiple publications and is the co-editor of the highly acclaimed Faithfully Feminist: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay. Messina is a widely sought after speaker and has presented across the US at universities, organizations, conferences and on national platforms including appearances on MSNBC, Tavis Smiley, NPR and the TEDx stage. She has also spoken at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations to discuss matters impacting the lives women around the world. Messina is active in movements to end violence against women and explores opportunities for spiritual healing. Connect with her on Twitter @FemTheologian, Facebook, and her website ginamessinadysert.com.

Author: Gina Messina

Gina Messina, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Ursuline College and Co-founder of Feminism and Religion. She writes for the Huffington Post and is the author or editor of five books including "Faithfully Feminist" and "Jesus in the White House: Make Humanity Great Again." Her research interests are theologically and ethically driven, involve a feminist and interdisciplinary approach, and are influenced by her activist roots and experience working with survivors of rape and domestic violence. Gina is a widely sought after speaker and has presented across the US at universities, organizations, conferences, and in the national news circuit including appearances on Tavis Smiley, MSNBC, NPR, and the TEDx stage. She has also spoken at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations to discuss matters impacting the lives women around the globe. She is active in movements to end violence against women and explores opportunities for spiritual healing for those who have encountered gender-based violence. Connect with Gina on Facebook, Twitter @GMessinaPhD, Instagram @GinaMessinaPhD, and her website http://www.ginamessina.com.

12 thoughts on “Misogyny in the Republican Party by Gina Messina”

  1. Good point Gina, just yesterday I was reading a Nation mag series on what progressives should do now and after the election is over. Though there were several women commenting, discussion of feminism and feminist issue and feminists as part of the progressive coalition were thin on the ground.

    I often think: well sexism is so pervasive that to mention it every time it comes up feels tiresome and “harping” (as in harpies). Which is another way of saying women’s issues just don’t count.

    But in fact, a violent misogyny is driving the Republican party and less violent forms are everywhere in our culture — why for example is family leave not perceived as a right? Why? Because women are still perceived as servants of men and the patriarchal family. And why is the double day of work not mentioned by progressives every time the 1% and the 99% are discussed? Theoretically we could tax the 1% out of existence and still leave women doing unpaid work 100% of the time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This just came into my inbox: A good example of progressives “not seeing” sexism too:

      Dear MoveOn member,
      For months, we’ve known the Republican National Convention was coming to Ohio—and sure enough, it arrived last night complete with angry rhetoric against immigrants and Muslims, plagiarism, and tirades against political correctness. We can only expect more of the same—or worse—over the nights ahead.
      But this past weekend, MoveOn members and local organizers across Ohio had a bold and uplifting response to the Republican convention: #OhioAgainstHate—a door-to-door campaign where Ohio neighbors spoke to each other about the importance of voting against Donald Trump and his hate, bigotry, and xenophobia.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Molo (Xhosa greeting)

    I follow these posts and the state of affairs in the world in general.
    I am deeply ingratiated by the discourses which are brought into light with these discussions.

    I was reading this piece in relation to the recent plagiarised speech by Mrs. Trump, and it brought out the question of the objectification of women in this process. She was a means to an end and received the reciprocation of the current presidential campaign’s aggressive approach. This is also a violent occurrence where the impact is felt most by Mrs Trump, yet Donald Trump is the main focus of this debacle.

    There is clearly much to be discussed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Trump’s vice-presidential pick is, I think, even more of a concern. He is much more calculated, intent, on destroying any progress we have made in women’s self determination. I don’t know how people can stand it all until November; I’m already disgusted and ready to ignore it all. And I’m not even a citizen or living in the US. Maybe that’s the plan underneath the overly long campaign, the hype, and the Republican choice of candidates.


  4. I watched some of the convention Monday night on PBS. If there was ever an objectified woman, it’s Trump’s wife. Probably all three of his wives, and also his daughters. They’re obviously his property. One of the PBS commentators said that this newest wife married The Donald not to be First Lady or anything, but to live in comfort. That in itself isn’t a bad thing, but does she have any independent thought?

    I quit watching Tuesday night and watched two Judy Garland movies instead. And here is another objectified woman, one of Louis B. Mayer’s products. Which is why he fed her pills to control her weight, help her sleep at night, and wake her up every day to sing and dance in his movies. Mayer also reinvented American “history” the way he wanted it to be. The MGM musical America is probably the “great” America of strong white men and obedient women and black people only as servants or entertainers that The Donald wants to go back to. This is very worrying.


  5. Yes: “Make America great again” means a return to control, abuse, objectification of all sorts…don’t make me go on, or I’ll feel compelled to post the list I’ve been keeping of adjectives that describe DT (it fills a long page by now, with words for each letter of the alphabet) or one of the many political e-collages with which I’ve been boring Barbara.

    I’m disgusted. I’m irritated. I’m deeply embarrassed by the image the T.O.P. (“Trump’s Own Party”) gives of us as Americans, and what it says about us as a people.

    I feel like Cassandra, with nobody but the choir listening. I’m horrified at this country’s move — on the argument of “defending the Constitution” — toward a very unconstitutional theocracy. I’m angry at the witch hunt brewing towards that exemplification of all patriarchal fears, a woman as presidential candidate.

    And I’m tired of just plain stupidity. My tolerance for “dumb” has been stretched to the limit.


  6. On misogyny in the Republican party. I’ve given up on American politics, until some party, Republican or Democrat elects a woman President. I’m not a Brit but my father’s parents came from England. So I’m following the Conservative party right now in Britain because they elected their 2nd female Prime Minister and it’s so much fun to listen to Theresa May’s speeches. Even though she is a Conservative she promises she will give priority “not to the mighty nor the wealthy nor the privileged” — sounds liberal to me. In a recent exchange she questions the LIBERAL party in her country for never having proposed a woman Prime Minister (Thatcher was also a Conservative). I linked my name here to the interchange via a Theresa May video, absolutely priceless — and therein she challenges the liberals, whilst pointing to herself as PM and asking what the liberals do for women? Of course if Hillary Clinton wins the Presidency in the upcoming election that will change everything. (There’s a button under the video to skip the ad).


  7. “All forms of oppression need to be addressed; you cannot uproot one, you must uproot all.”

    Maybe you can uproot all if you can change the mind set for any one of them, that is, the simple fact that prejudice is prejudice.


  8. It seems to me that this election cycle proves that misogyny runs deeper even than racism. From the way that Trump’s sexist statements are tolerated and accepted to the party platform to the ongoing decades long attack on Hilary Clinton it is clear that sexism is very alive and very well in this USA of today. I have been so upset as I have watched some of the Republican convention (I can’t stomach much of it) with a feeling that I am witnessing the history of the late 1930’s repeat itself. Trump is disgusting but the folks at the convention and the speakers are equally full of hate. I fear the chants of “Lock Her Up” could devolve into “KIll Her”. Of yes they hate women for sure!!!!!


  9. My disgust with this cartoon “carnival” (my friend Harriet’s word) matches my terror that misogyny runs even deeper than I imagined…I can’t subject myself to this convention and don’t.


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