Erick Erickson (Credit: Fox News) (Fox News)

Erick Erickson doesn't understand why calling Wendy Davis "Abortion Barbie" is sexist because Erick Erickson is sexist

"It's a perfect way to parody who she is," he explained


Katie McDonough
August 11, 2014 11:46PM (UTC)

Adults know when to admit that they've made a mistake, and Erick Erickson is an adult. The RedState editor in chief admitted to the Houston Chronicle that he probably shouldn't have called Michelle Obama a "Marxist harpy wife" or said that U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter was a "goat fucking child molester." (Shouldn't there be an activating hyphen in there? Isn't it "goat-fucking child molester"? Discuss in the comments, please.)

"Not everything I say I'm proud of having said," he explained.

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But his contrition only goes so far. Erickson thinks his campaign to brand Wendy Davis as "Abortion Barbie" is plain old good parody. "The phrase was intentional to discredit Wendy Davis, but I never thought about 'Barbie' being something that demeaned women," he told the Chronicle. "I have an 8-year-old daughter who loves Barbie."

That explains things. Erickson's child plays with a doll, and so reducing an adult woman to an anatomically impossible doll that lacks cognition can't be sexist. And while many women -- both progressive and conservative -- responded to Erickson by saying that the comparison demeans women, he has maintained from the beginning that he does not agree or care much that people take offense.

More from the Chronicle:

Erickson said media profiles have "described her Barbie good looks" and built her "as someone who was fashionable and blonde and took on this issue." He said Democrats had no problem putting the "Caribou Barbie" label on Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor who was John McCain's running mate.

Most importantly, he said, polling last year showed that "even millennial Hispanics" were less likely to vote for a candidate "defined singly by the issue of abortion."

"It's a perfect way to parody who she is," he said.

This is not surprising because 1) Erick Erickson is sexist and 2) it is basically the same thing he said in response to his critics last year:

It sums her up perfectly. All the nation knows about Wendy Davis is that she is ignorant of the horrors of Kermit Gosnell, wears pink shoes, and filibustered legislation to save the innocent in Texas. She joined the long line of Democrats before her to oppose legislation to protect other people while using property rights arguments to do so.

The media would prefer to focus on her blonde hair, her great outfits, and her pink shoes than on the procedure she wants to protect. That procedure, late term abortion, is opposed by a majority of women and men.

I get sleepy when I have to think about Erickson. I find his bigotry to be repugnant, but also totally rote and boring. I don't like it when people call women Barbies. I did not like it when people called Sarah Palin Caribou Barbie. I will not like it when, inevitably, some other jerk in the world calls another woman a Barbie as a way to paint her as unserious, as airheaded, as a prop being manipulated by someone else. Language matters. Women are wildly underrepresented in politics, and men like Erickson foster a culture of hostility and disdain that only exacerbates the problem.

But more troubling to me is everything Erickson has said or written about the fight over HB 2, which brought Davis to national prominence. When the bill passed, reproductive health advocates warned that a lack of available abortion providers in the state would drive people seeking care to take dangerous measures to terminate their pregnancies. (They were, of course, correct.) Erickson gleefully responded by tweeting a link to a website that sells hangers. (Because people used to die while attempting to self-induce abortions with wire hangers. Get it? Excellent parody.)

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Calling a former Supreme Court Justice a goat-fucker seems like an "oops" moment, sure. Calling Michelle Obama a "Marxist harpy" is gross and bizarre. I'm glad he regrets those things, though doubt that this regret will inform his language moving forward. But right now I'm more interested in reading Erickson explain why he got giddy at the prospect of women dying in an effort to control their own bodies, particularly as the threat is realer than ever.


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Abortion Barbie Abortion Rights Erick Erickson Hb 2 Reproductive Healthcare Texas Wendy Davis

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