Conservatives tend to respond to fear more strongly than liberals do, according to Bobby Azarian, a neuroscientist whose expertise in anxiety has led him to examine political behaviors. His research has found that the brains of conservative people are likely to display the same attention biases as the brains of people with anxiety.
“The one main cognitive difference is that conservatives are more sensitive to threat,” he said. “Their fears are sometimes exaggerated.”
…The most time-tested way to undermine a woman’s power is to sexualize her, to make her an object instead of an agent. A 2013 study by the Women’s Media Center found that merely discussing a female candidate’s appearance has a negative effect on her support from voters.
“The moment at which you turn someone into a sex object, you put yourself in a position of authority over them, which is why sexual harassment is classified as being a form of gender discrimination in the workplace,” Heldman said. “They are the object who exists for you, and you are validating their worth.”
Or, as former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer Jess McIntosh put it: “Defining a woman’s value by whether or not men want to have sex with her is the oldest trick in the patriarchy. Either way, she’s diminished.”
…The typical strategies men use to devalue women ― “sexualizing, dismissing, controlling, teasing, criticizing, interrupting, psychopathologizing, humiliating, abusing,” according to one psychologist ― seem to bounce right off her.
“Alexandria presents a challenge, because conservative men or men in general who are encouraged to objectify women are attracted to her, but she’s also ‘unmanageable’ in that she doesn’t exist for them,” Heldman said. “She is a woman who not only has now formal power, but a lot of informal power, in that she doesn’t give a damn what they think of her. I think it’s a disconcerting place for men who may be used to attractive women seeking their validation.”