Pro tip for dudes: When women are choosing who to vote for, they don't want to be seduced -- they want to be acknowledged.
After Donald Trump declared that all Hillary Clinton, the candidate who has won the greatest number of votes so far in the presidential primary, has going for her is the "woman card," he was roundly (and rightly) criticized by many women. But in the face of mass sarcasm on Twitter, Piers Morgan decided to step in to defend the Donald's street cred with the ladies.
In an op-ed for the Daily Mail, Morgan expounded on what women want, and why Donald Trump (who by all empirical evidence fares poorly among women) is the candidate who will deliver on that.
"I watch how the women behave at his gigantic rallies in all parts of America, and I don’t see much hatred in those ecstatic eyes; I see fevered adoration," wrote Morgan, later commenting: "The irony of Hillary’s position is that there’s only one man in America who can possibly compete with Trump for populist appeal right now, and indeed his ability to seduce women, and that’s her husband Bill."
Apparently, what women want is "swaggering self-confidence," "charm," "non-PC and non-politician style" -- oh, and to be "seduced" by their future president.
One could write this off as an isolated incident of Morgan's condescending language -- he also says women "coo" over Trump and turn into "fawning putty" around him -- but that would mean ignoring the larger, grosser trend of framing female voters' interests in romantic terms.
Just weeks ago, white separatist (and Trump supporter) Paul Ray Ramsey advised Trump to "be nice" and then gave him tips on how to seduce women voters. In audio first published on the blog We Hunted The Mammoth, Ramsey tells Trump:
I know you’re a ladies man, your history, but just think about it like when you’re meeting girls or trying to seduce them, there’s a couple of phases. There is the attraction phase which you do well, you’re funny, you’re not a p*ssy, and girls like that. But if you stay in that assh*le mode too long, you don’t get into the comfort stage. And that’s where you are now. You need to get into the comfort stage of seduction -- of seducing American women and just be nice.
More mainstream media outlets use coded language to frame women's votes as well. Women voters aren't just pandered to or appealed to -- they are "wooed."
(Occasionally the term "woo" is used to describe male voters, but far less frequently, and mostly when talking about the "sex appeal" of women candidates like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. This is equally gross.)
And sadly, this is not a new trend -- though perhaps in an election season dominated by misogyny and male anxiety it is exacerbated. In 2012, Romney tried to "woo women." A 2014 ad by a conservative SuperPAC urged women voters to break up with their boyfriends, a.k.a. Barack Obama. And another 2014 ad, this time from the College Republican National Committee, shows young women choosing a candidate like a wedding dress on "Say Yes To The Dress."
In reality, what most women voters want is for their opinions, their lives and their needs to matter to candidates. This is why women want to hear college tuition and reproductive rights and immigration and abortion and family leave and social security and equal pay discussed on the campaign trail and on debate stages.
Women aren't looking to date their future president. So for the love of all things good, please stop talking about "seducing" us.