Sexism has no place in political mudslinging


Malicious attack ads have become an unfortunate staple of our political environment, and with the election only 11 days away the mudslinging now appears to be inescapable. In North Carolina's District 19 State Senate Race, this negative campaigning went a step too far when challenger Wesley Meredith's campaign issued a sexist attack ad against current State Senator Margaret Dickson. While the audio component of the video harps on a theme common to attacks on incumbents—an alleged misuse of public office, it is the visuals the ad offers that are far more disturbing. The video displays a woman putting on mascara, applying lipstick, adorning herself with jewelry, and gazing at her reflection in the mirror, while a voice asks, “Who does she really care about?” The ad is clearly playing off of stereotypes of female vanity, and attempts to attribute Dickson’s supposed faults to her femininity. 

It is one thing to attack a candidate on her political views or records in public office, but quite another to berate a candidate with superficial artifacts of femininity; sexism has no place in political mudslinging. 

This morning women leaders across North Carolina joined Margaret Dickson in an effort to denounce Meredith’s sexist attack ad. The Name It. Change It. campaign applauds Senator Dickson for taking a stand against sexism, and echoes the requests for Meredith to apologize. 

Attack ads may indeed be rampant in this election cycle, but we cannot condone ads that are just plain sexist


Published by Kate McCarthy on 10/22/2010

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