This week, I published a blog post entitled "Abortion: A Few Assessments." There, I outlined three reasons that I remain firmly-and unabashedly-pro-choice. As a result of the recent resurgence of anti-abortion bills being submitted by Republican representatives, I believe it is important for liberals and progressives to engage in this type of discourse. Recently, a great blog post I came across from Ms. Magazine reignited my understanding that maintaining a posture of fervent, thoughtful opposition to regressive ideologies regarding female bodies and reproductive health is very important. The blog post, entitled Conservative Commentator Calls Wendy Davis "Abortion Barbie," was very telling. As indicated by its title, Ericson referred to Democratic representative Wendy Davis as an Abortion Barbie.
Although a plethora of questions come to mind when I consider the fact that Ericson used this odious phrase to reference Davis, the primary query is this: What catalyzed the name-calling? Although one can only speculate about the impetus for his utterance, Ericson's irritation seems to result from Davis's lack of knowledge about the Kermit Gosnell case during an interview with the Weekly Standard. Clearly, understanding the intricacies of a case in which an abortion doctor was found guilty of performing illegal, late-term abortions in an out-of-date facility would be important for a representative who has become the political spokesperson for the pro-choice cause in Texas. Nevertheless, even experts of specific subjects lack the sort of comprehensive knowledge about their area of expertise which would render being able to answer every question under the sun about it possible. In short, no one is omniscient.
The previous paragraph should certainly not be interpreted as a celebration of ignorance. Indeed, it's good to know things and having facts either directly or tangentially related to a subject about which one is being interviewed can be helpful and important. But the fact that Davis didn't know the details of the Gosnell case and seems to have inaccurately referenced his clinic as an ambulatory care center do not constitute justification for Ericson's pejorative utterance, which (as the author of the aforementioned article already alluded to) amounts to anti-woman rhetoric. In addition to constituting the sort of prototypically patriarchal statement which reinforces the idea that woman=sex/woman=body, Ericson's rhetoric elides the reality Davis actually represents: thinking women can operate in spheres traditionally reserved for men and make positive contributions to the world. This fact-when juxtaposed to the world of beauty, fashion, and intentional anti-intellectualism dolls represent-seems to indicate that Davis's existence is essentially antithetical to that of a Barbie. And that is why Ericson's choice phrase for her seems egregiously inaccurate. And sexist, of course.