Ohio GOP Mailer Calls for Sending Female Rep “Back to the Kitchen.”

You know that ol’ bumper sticker that says: “A Woman’s Place is in the House….And in the Senate?”  The one that turns an old stereotype (“women are not fit for public office”) on its antiquated head?

Well, it appears the Ohio GOP believes that it should read: “A Woman’s Place is in the kitchen, not in the Congress.”  I make this assumption because, as reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Medina, Ohio GOP  sent out a mailer that urges voters to “take Betty Sutton out of the House and put her back in the kitchen.”  In those words.

The person in question is current Cong. Betty Sutton (OH-13).

The brochure goes on to articulate the “real values” of “real Americans.”

Let’s join together to change the direction of this great nation.  Let’s return to the values that keep us strong and free. Limited government, strong defense, fiscal discipline, free enterprise, personal responsibility and family values. [Emphasis added].

So let’s just spin this one out a bit.  Keeping us “strong and free,” must mean men, of course, because women who are socially expected and mandated to be “in the kitchen” are not free in any sense of the word.  

And what about those “family values?”  The vision inherent in the “family values” on which this call to voters is based is one of a society in which women know their place and maintain the “family space” while men are off doing those important things men do. In this scenario, women’s role is to enable the work of men, not do it.

It is blatantly sexist.

And to some extent, I am glad it is so blatant.  Because the more directly that these folks expose themselves for who they are, the more we can root out the sometimes obscured cancers of sexism, misogyny, racism, and other prejudices that are at the heart of so much of the ultra-right’s agenda.

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  • elyzabeth

    I read elsewhere http://thinkprogress.org/2010/04/23/sutton-kitchen/ that the chairman of the Medina GOP didn’t exactly come out against the material, but expressed concern and confusion over the message since his wife had held elected office in the county.  I don’t know what he was confused about, but maybe he isn’t that bright.


    Women are good enough for local government, just not real government, is the message we are supposed to take away from this, I guess?

  • crowepps

    At the link: 


    “I’m not sure that it was intended — in fact I’m positive that it was not in intended to be sexist,” said Heck. “In fact, it was speaking to the people of that district, and not intended to be a sexist comment.”

    “I mean, I have a wife that was elected twice to county office, and once was a judge. I’ve got two daughters,” Heck added. “It was not authored by me, but it was published by the Republican Party of Medina County. We are just trying to get the attention of the voters. It is rhetoric that I think is very common in all elections, of sending people somewhere — either to the House or back from the House. And we certainly apologize for any offense that anyone would take from this.”

    In other words, “We didn’t catch that when we proofread the thing but now that everybody’s freaking out about it my wife and daughters are giving me all kinds of grief and —  Maybe instead we should have said ‘out of the House and back to her knitting’.  That’s sexist too?  Really?  Men knit too!  No good?  Hmmm, how about ‘out of the house and to the woodshed’?  Domestic violence?  Oh, geez.  You people just will never be satisfied!”


    It was, obviously, really effective in “getting the attention of the voters”. 

  • faultroy

      Definitely a poor choice of words, and one I’m sure he will live to regret.  However let’s take a look at the big picture in which of all elected officials, women make up anywhere from 10 to 15% on average.  When one considers the fact that there are 5.2 million more women than men in the USA, and 5 million more women voters than male voters, one can only conclude that women are actually responsible for these disparages.  A far more provocative article would be a serious think piece on why women  as a whole are so quick to become indignant, but when it comes time to make meaningful political changes, they seem very uninterested in doing so.  As far as sexist goes, I think that you are overplaying your hand.  Obviously this man tried to become a little too creative in the use of the English Language, but I doubt that he was attempting to denigrate women in any way.  We see women utilizing male stereotyping to make a point all the time without men joining protest marches and burnng their jockstraps or getting all flustered.  For myself, I hope to see far more women in positions of leadership.  Men are, for reasons unclear, incapable of organizing for meaningful changes in terms of rights and responsibilities in society.  We are already seeing a steady stream of women joining men’s rights groups, and it is my opinion that it will be women operating within the men’s rights perspective that will bring balance and fairness to both genders.  The reason of course is self interest:  for every man out there getting a raw deal, there is usually a woman suffering silently behind the scenes.