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Things are getting heated on social media in the fallout from Monday’s Iowa caucus. But one common theme keeps surfacing for female supporters of Hillary Clinton: They’re being accused of voting with their vaginas.
The term first surfaced on a national level in June, when actress Susan Sarandon told the New York Daily News that she supports Bernie Sanders, adding, “I don’t vote with my vagina.” Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter noted that the phrase has come up repeatedly in recent months, and there are many new tweets to prove it:
It’s worth pointing out that these messages are coming from men and women. But why are they bringing female anatomy into this?
Because it’s demeaning, clinical psychologist John Mayer, author of “Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life,” tells Yahoo Health. “It devalues all else that a woman is — her intelligence, personality, social smarts, skills, capabilities, strength, etc.,” he says.
It also implies that the only elements of a woman that have value are her genitals, he adds. But when it comes to politics and political views, all bets are off — which could explain why women are using the phrase to demean other women.
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The phrase is meant to be offensive, and it is, Mayer says, adding: “It insults the other core elements that make up a person and a woman.”
So why are people using it? It’s bullying 101: They’re hoping to get a rise out of people they see as their political enemies.
“The perpetrators of this type of statement hope to get an emotional reaction from woman, and then this plays right into the bully’s aims,” says Mayer. If a woman reacts emotionally to the insult, the bully will see it as evidence that women are “emotional” and therefore incapable of making sound political decisions.
But as with other bullying techniques, it’s best to just ignore it. Says Mayer: “There is no winning in reacting to such ridiculous comments.”
While voting booth technology varies by state, Yahoo Health cautions against attempting to literally vote with your vagina.
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