During an interview on Fox and Friends Thursday morning, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch tried to slam former first lady Michelle Obama’s comments on parenting and gender by claiming that American women were too demanding, and that, sometimes, people make fake rape claims.
Speaking at the Obama Foundation’s youth leadership summit in Chicago on Wednesday, Mrs. Obama had lamented the culture in which today’s parents were being forced to raise their daughters — one in which they were expected to “love our boys” but “raise our girls” by teaching them to speak out against sexual assault and harassment from a young age and navigate “a world that is dangerous to women.”
“We raise [our girls] to be strong and sometimes we take care not to hurt men, I think we pay for that a little bit,” Mrs. Obama said. “It’s powerful to have strong men, but what does that strength mean, you know? Does it mean respect? Does it mean responsibility? Does it mean compassion? Or are we protecting our men too much so they feel a little entitled, you know, a little self-righteous sometimes?”
On Thursday morning, Loesch lashed out at the former first lady, claiming that, “as a mother of boys, this conversation [got] to [her].”
“I feel as though we live in a society that has its sword drawn at men. I feel that we live in a society where men are the enemy, and they’re told that virtually every single day,” she lamented. “I mean, look back at the UVA rape story that Rolling Stone did.” (Loesch was referring to a now-retracted 9,000-word feature that the magazine published in November 2014, in which a woman had claimed she was gang-raped by a group of fraternity brothers, who later sued the publication.)
Loesch then used that momentum to turn her sights on female activists.
“We live in a society where women, I feel, are quite demanding. Women are in the streets marching for abortion on demand and taxpayer-funded birth control. So this reply from the former first lady really struck me as odd,” she claimed. “Let’s raise men to be gentlemen, women to be ladies, and let’s encourage respect for both sexes. I don’t think that it serves any purpose to cut men down that way. I know she has daughters, but as a mother of sons, I disagree.”
Loesch classifying female activists as “too demanding” is a common refrain that’s been used repeatedly throughout history to push back against various civil and women’s rights movements. From the early suffrage movement to modern day Black Lives Matter protests to demonstrations by LGBTQ groups seeking to be treated fairly, critics have always been eager to claim that oppressed groups are somehow demanding too much by requesting equal rights under the law.
More specifically, Loesch’s claim that women are rocking the boat by asking that their reproductive rights be respected is especially rich, given the current attacks on women’s health in the United States.
Just recently, House Republicans introduced H.R. 490, or the Heartbeat Protection Act, which would criminalize abortions performed after the six-week mark — well before many women and gender minorities even know they’re pregnant. The bill carries no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
“If the heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected,” Rep. Steve King (R-IA), chairman on the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, told his colleagues on Wednesday, narrating a video of a sonogram on the House floor. (As Stassa Edwards at The Slot noted, the fetus in the sonogram was developed well beyond six weeks.)
The House also recently passed a 20-week abortion ban that would punish providers with up to five years in jail.
Loesch further seemed to imply on Wednesday that women calling out sexual harassment and rape culture was similarly “demanding.”
In direct response to Mrs. Obama’s comments about not raising boys to feel entitled to a woman’s attention or body, Loesch on Thursday tweeted, “As a boy mom, no, we aren’t [raising them to be entitled]. Stick to raising ladies, and I’ll continue raising gentlemen. Stop slamming boys.”
As a boy mom, no, we aren’t. Stick to raising ladies, and I’ll continue raising gentlemen. Stop slamming boys. https://t.co/NGewV3tKYP
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) November 2, 2017
Mrs. Obama, of course, wasn’t “slamming” anyone by pointing out the fact that women and girls are expected to live in a world where men’s ignorance reigns. A wave of public figures in the media and entertainment industries have been accused of sexual assault and harassment over the past month, but despite the troubling allegations, lawyers and critics have jumped to their defense, blaming the women behind the accusations or using the age-old “boys will be boys” defense to excuse their behavior.
Loesch’s latest comments serve as proof that the NRA has abandoned its traditional Second Amendment platform and embraced a bigger role among the far right. In June, the NRA aired an ad that some viewed as an open call for violence against liberals and the media, who Loesch claimed were poisoning children’s minds.
“They use their media to assassinate real news. They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler. They use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again. And then they use their ex-president to endorse ‘the resistance,'” she narrated. “All to make them march. Make them protest. Make them scream racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia. …The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth.”