Michigan Republicans: Don’t Say We Don’t Understand Women. We Read Fashion Magazines.


National Journal
Marina Koren
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Marina Koren
June 5, 2014, 12:10 p.m.

What do wo­men want?

A hand­ful of Michigan Re­pub­lic­ans seem to think they will find that an­swer deep in the glossy pages of wo­men’s in­terest magazines. Michigan Pub­lic Ra­dio Net­work state Cap­it­ol re­port­er Jake Ne­her tweeted this photo of a trio of law­makers read­ing sev­er­al fash­ion magazines, in­clud­ing Glam­our, on the Michigan House floor on Thursday.

“Don’t say we don’t un­der­stand wo­men,” joked Rep. Peter Pettalia, at cen­ter.

Too bad. You don’t. Be­cause this type of cal­lous ste­reo­typ­ing is not what wo­men want, es­pe­cially not wo­men voters. For a polit­ic­al party that is con­stantly fa­cing charges that it’s out of touch with wo­men, jok­ing that “un­der­stand­ing wo­men” amounts to read­ing enough fash­ion magazines may not be a good idea.

The House Demo­crat­ic Caucus shot back with its own photo, aimed at the Re­pub­lic­an Caucus. The tweet read, “Real Wo­men read bills not fash­ion mags …”:


Wo­men! Am I right?

Pet­al­lia later ex­plained his com­ment in a state­ment to Mlive.com:

“Dur­ing a short break on the House floor, Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Gail Haines, a lead­ing ad­voc­ate on wo­men’s is­sues in the Le­gis­lature, gave some of us magazines to read and asked to take our photo with them,” Pet­al­lia said.

“A mem­ber of the me­dia then walked up be­hind her and snapped an­oth­er photo. As part of that light­hearted mo­ment, I made an off-the-cuff re­mark that has since been taken way out of con­text.”

Lib­er­al group Pro­gress Michigan has called on the state Re­pub­lic­ans pic­tured to apo­lo­gize for the re­mark in a press re­lease.

This story has been up­dated with new in­form­a­tion.

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