What matters, in all these cases, is that powerful women are portrayed as being bad at femininity. Power, intelligence, ambition, authority: In our culture, those qualities are all “masculine,” too. We’re being reminded that, if women manage to possess any of those leadership qualities, it’s only at the expense of their feminine graces. The caricatures the GOP typically creates are monstrous in the manner of Lady Macbeth, praying to the gods to “unsex her” so that she can get on with the male business of killing and ruling. The implication is that by trying to be king, these women have lost their womanhood, and turned themselves into freaks. Just ask the Lady Macbeth of Little Rock. [emphasis: mine]
The smears aimed at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aim not to desexualize her, but to hypersexualize her, casting her as an empty-headed pinup with ideas above her station. …There are the Sarah Palin comparisons, the constant, ancient implication: A woman that turns you on can’t be smart. Right?
…It was easy to mock powerful Boomer women as desexualized or androgynous because they had been trained to desexualize themselves in order to survive hostile work environments.
…[The GOP] portray her as a sex object because sex objects don’t talk back, unless it’s to ask what more they can do for you. In so doing, they give themselves an excuse not to deal with the more serious challenge she poses. Ocasio-Cortez is not meant to be challenging, she is not meant to be argumentative or assert herself, she is not meant to have bold opinions or radical ideas, because she is not meant to have ideas and opinionsat all. She’s not supposed to think. She’s supposed to be looked at. She is supposed to be consumed.
When she ages, men will decide she’s not worth looking at, and that, too, will be cited as a reason not to listen to her.
This. All of this.