It's 2018, and Senate candidate Courtland Sykes’ troll-ish ideas of feminism still impact women's realities
In comments sections in many corners of the internet, you’re bound to find that one guy. You know who he is. That guy whose ignorant, backwards, and uneducated comments about women are so bad that you’re certain he has to be a troll. Well, that guy doesn’t just lurk behind a computer screen — sometimes he decides to run for public office.
Missouri GOP Senate candidate Courtland Sykes is the political equivalent of that guy. As Gabriella Paiella of The Cut writes. “While it is definitely every day that someone takes to Facebook to write a long, rambling post about how feminism has gone too far, it’s not often that it comes directly from a Senate candidate.”
Sykes is currently campaigning to replace Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, who has fought against sexual assault and the recently passed tax bill, and for net neutrality and gender equality. On Tuesday, the Congressional hopeful posted a page from the 11-page statement he sent to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch back in September 2017 to “clarify” his views on feminism.
Unfortunately, the confusing read only clarifies one thing: Sykes has the regressive understanding of feminism that women have been battling since the women’s suffrage movement.
Between calling modern day feminists “career-obsessed banshees” with “nasty, snake-filled heads” and “nail-biting manophobic hell-bent feminist she devils” (yes, really), Sykes presents a dangerous ideology that women seeking gender equality are still up against.
For decades, feminists have been painted as anti-man, hysterical, and aggressive by politicians and citizens alike. In the mid-19th century — when feminism took form as the women’s suffrage movement — anti-suffragists portrayed the woman’s right to vote as a threat to the American household and political system. Early feminists were seen as man-haters, social outcasts, and sexual deviants.
We just have to look at how we’re represented in the workplace. In fields such as STEM, medicine, and business, studies have found a gender bias when it comes to seeing women as competent and hirable. This discriminatory view makes it difficult for women to have the same opportunities afforded men. Just ask Senator Tammy Duckworth, who will make history being the first sitting senator to give birth later this year. Considering that women have served in the Senate for 40 years, this milestone is a long time coming, and was no doubt delayed by society’s misinformed views of modern womanhood.
It’s frustrating to know that some still see feminism as an immoral or unnecessary movement, but it’s even more disappointing to know that an actual political candidate shares these views — and so proudly expresses them.
Sykes said in his statement that he wants his “daughters to have their own intelligence, their own dignity, their own workspace and their own degrees.” He said, “[m]odern women can BE anything they want.” (But apparently that means wanting to be “traditional homemakers.”)
“But [my fiancée] knows that my obedience comes with a small price that she loves to pay anyway. 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 to fix after they become traditional homemakers and family wives.”
Sykes denounces modern feminism while claiming that he wants his daughters to be their own people with ambition — but he seems to be unaware that the freedom to be anything they want with no restriction is part of modern feminism.
This bizarre example of cognitive dissonance makes his hate-filled statement feels even more illogical and erratic — and not at all becoming of a political candidate.
Only time will tell if Sykes’ run for Congress pans out, but one thing is certain: Modern feminism isn’t going anywhere because we are hell-bent feminist she devils who still have work to do.