State Rep. Says Congresswoman Too “Ugly” to Win

14235150822_bd15e31f21_zAnother day, another amazingly tone-deaf and sexist remark about a woman politician.

Last week, New Hampshire state representative Steve Vaillancourt (R) wrote a blog post in which he mused on the fate of congress member Ann McLane Kuster (D). Kuster is up for reelection and running against Republican challenger Marilinda Garcia.

Wrote Vaillancourt,

Let’s be honest. Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin? And I hope I haven’t offended sin.

Yes, folks, you read that right. Kuster is “ugly as sin” and the whole world knows it!

You may be wondering why Vaillancourt was musing on a colleague’s looks (in such a clumsy and audacious way, no less!). Well, apparently he had seen some polling data—possibly on television, possibly in a dream; he can’t recall—showing that a more attractive candidate can sometimes lead a less attractive candidate of the same sex by as much as seven to 10 points. In case you weren’t clear, his position on the matter is that Garcia, who he describes as “one of the most attractive women on the political scene anywhere, not so attractive as to be intimindating, [sic] but truly attractive,” is a shoo-in.

Aha, the perfect opportunity—fake data plus a public platform—to devalue two women politicians with one stone! One is a somewhat older woman—whose value in society has, of course, dwindled with the turning of each calendar page—and the other is a young, attractive woman with plenty of social capital; but neither, as far as Vaillancourt is concerned, has any political opinion worthy of commentary or credentials that might qualify her to govern. Ugh, indeed. MSNBC’s Bridget Todd got it exactly right when she called New Hampshire’s congressional race a “sexist beauty pageant.”

Hey, Steve, I’ve got some advice for you: Why don’t you keep these thoughts to yourself, consider doing some research before blogging and maybe—just maybe—keep your focus on candidates’ politics instead of on the radiance of their skin? Just a little tip from me to you.

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Photo courtesy of Flickr user Topher McCulloch licensed under Creative Commons 2.0



Stephanie hails from Toronto, Canada. She is a Ms. writer, a master of journalism candidate and a hip hop dancer/instructor/choreographer. She got her start in feminist journalism at the age of 16 when she was a member of the first editorial collective at Shameless magazine—and she has never looked back.