Why Men Find the New Congresswomen So Frightening

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      What these women, and the other vocal, aggressive new faces in the House, are doing lives right on the seam between Ginsburg’s lawyerly legal reform project and the teenage Jane’s hunger for furious public protest. And that’s exactly why Republican men find them so terrifying. It’s why Ocasio-Cortez was dismissed as a “little girl” by Ed Rollins, and why Donald Trump (the swearing-est president in history) condemned Tlaib for being a mother who cursed in front of her sons.

      These men aren’t afraid of these women because they’re part of a movement, although they are. They’re terrified because these women are empowered professionals who have parlayed careers in institutions of power to become formidable political actors. Calling them uncivil or bad mommies or child-like isn’t effective when women are legitimate holders of high office—and yet, as we see, it continues in ever-more comically depressing forms. As Virginia Heffernan notes, “These moth-eaten virgin-whore tropes have become self-satirizing. If you think misogyny has faded since ‘Mad Men’ days, you’re wrong. In fact, as women pack the halls of power, it seems more virulent than ever, as conservatives convulse in fear at losing their old rubrics of control. They lash out more than Don Draper ever did.”

      The result, as we saw last week, is a bizarre news cycle that centers around the stunning revelation that a congresswoman danced when she was in school and that another congresswoman said a bad word.

      Fueling the parodic effect of the male hysteria around these women is that it comes at precisely the moment when the men in control of government are openly and demonstrably giving up on the whole idea. Donald Trump is defending his shutdown-slash-tantrum with claims that most of the hundreds of thousands of unpaid federal workers are Democrats; that all furloughed federal workers want his wall; and also that all federal workers are “making adjustments” to handle not being paid. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has said negotiations to end the partial government shutdown will not begin in earnest until Democrats put someone “that’s not crazy” (i.e., legitimately elected and confirmed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi) in charge of the talks. And Sen. Mitch McConnell is seemingly made out of air—he has all but vaporized as the shutdown wears on.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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