Ken Buck, “Vote for me because I don’t wear heels.”

Ken Buck, Colorado Republican Senate candidate believes the reason you should vote for him instead of Jane Norton is because he doesn’t wear heels (and because his cowboy boots are full of bullshit). Seriously.

And shudder to think the best thing Obama gave us is “Tea Parties and a great constitutional newspaper” but I digress.

He claims she questioned his manhood. In response to ads against her she said, “You’ve seen those ads attacking me. They’re paid for by a shady interest group doing the bidding of Ken Buck. You’d think Ken would be man enough to do it himself.” I really hate when people suggest that men should “man up,” because it relies on the idea that masculinity assumes being tough, strong, unemotional and reinforces traditional gender norms for men. Her statement was problematic.

But while that is problematic, she didn’t suggest he shouldn’t be elected because he is a man. In responding with the heels comment Buck is drawing from and reinforcing the idea that women don’t belong in politics. He claims he was kidding, but realizes the joke wasn’t really that funny. Yeah, no shit.

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  • aLynn

    Bleh. This type of sexist political rhetoric is just tired. When can we just move past it?

    Also–in regards to the “man enough” comment…I think this type of wording is often used as a replacement for “act like an adult” because you’ll hear it in both man enough/woman enough contexts. Unfortunately people don’t think about how it “relies on the idea that masculinity assumes being tough, strong, unemotional and reinforces traditional gender norms for men” (which it very much does.)

    It’s so disappointing to see a woman attacked for her gender and not her politics respond with a gendered comeback.

    • aLynn

      Sorry—got the order of their statements mixed up there.

    • layalally

      I sometimes find myself saying “man up” too but I say “woman up” just as often. Like you say, it’s an adult vs. immature child thing. It’s “man” in contrast” to “boy” not to “woman.” However, I am aware that the expression is tied to the idea that male=tough and that a lot of people really do mean man vs. woman when they say it, whether they realize it or not. Part of the reason I make sure to say “woman up” too to make a point of changing the meaning of the expression. And I don’t really see anything wrong with this. Do you just think it’s one of those things that can’t really be reclaimed?

      • aLynn

        I’m divided about it…but I do tend to fall on the side that it has too much of a history in stereotypical notions of masculinity to be reclaimed. Too many people do think of it as man in contrast to woman. I think it’s less offensive to say woman up because there isn’t really that confusion like there is with “man up” …but then where do we go from there?

      • paperispatient

        I think I see it more as something that’s not really worth reclaiming. It still involves ideas about what “man” and “woman” mean and are. I think trying to put a feminist spin on it is certainly better than nothing, but to me it’s an expression I’d like to see abandoned altogether as opposed to reclaimed.

  • nazza

    I really take offense to both statements, but having had the “act like a man” one thrown at me during the course of my life, it makes me angry to hear it in any context.

  • Kristin

    I’ve been following this election and I saw commercials of Jane Norton telling him both to “man up” and “grow a spine”, which has been often mentioned at Feministing is similar to “grow some balls”. This really disappointed me because she was insinuating in her own campaign that a lack of masculinity connoted weakness. What Ken Buck said was completely out of line, but I think they both need to sidetrack the gendered attacks.