I hadn't really been following the Ann Coulter vs. Meghan McCain battle for the soul of the Republican Party until I saw the video of Meghan on The View telling conservative radio commentator Laura Ingraham to kiss her ass for making fun of her weight.
Basically, Meghan called out Coulter because she thinks that Coulter's brand of conservatism is driving people away from the GOP (wherever did she get that idea?). They had a public tiff, and Meghan went on Rachel Maddow. Laura Ingraham takes some clips from that interview and makes fun of Meghan, calling her "plus-sized," for nothing other than an excuse to ignore her. Meghan then went on The View and responded to Ingraham's statement (video after the jump):
When Tyra Banks went on her show in a bathing suit and said 'kiss my fat ass,' that's what I feel like. Kiss my fat ass! [...]
What do young women think when I speak my mind about politics and I want to have a political discussion about the ideological future of the Republican Party and the answer is she's fat and shouldn't have an opinion.
Someone had to say it. The only young women allowed to speak prominently in Republican circles are thin for a reason: conservatism is an ideology seeping with gender privilege, and men should get something to look at with their politics. Hence the parade of no-name blondes on Fox News.
When it comes to gender, the GOP is in the hands of chauvanists. You can see it on pretty much every issue - abortion, equal pay for equal work, marriage. Patriarchy, when it comes to their ideology, reigns supreme.
(This isn't to say that Democrats, liberals, or other lefties are sexism-free. Far from it. But there are distinguishable differences here.)
It shouldn't be surprising, then, that when it comes to their commentators, they treat them pretty much the same way. If they're women, they have to be attractive or post-menopausal to get heard. But most of the time they're men, and it doesn't matter how they look.
The fact that Laura Ingraham called Meghan fat shouldn't be surprising, especially considering that their main attacks against Democratic women, like Hillary Clinton and Janet Reno, was that they weren't attractive or feminine enough to have an opinion on anything. Likewise, their usual attack on Democratic men, like John Edwards, Al Gore, and Barack Obama, is that they're not masculine enough.
This isn't just about policy; when it comes to how they see the entire world, they're very concerned with maintaining gender fundamentalism.
While I feel for Meghan McCain, and don't think that her attractiveness or weight should be at all related to her ideas for the party, I do think that in some sense her association with the Republican Party makes this unavoidable. It's the same as how LCR's get insulted from time to time by the GOP (when they're not completely ignored or put on the sidelines).
Meghan rocks when it comes to calling out these folks who think that a woman who isn't built like a Barbie doll can't have anything to say about politics. But she also describes herself as "extremely pro-military and a big supporter of the surge and the Iraq war," although I haven't heard anything about her enlisting to go help in that effort. It's not like she's too old to enlist or that women aren't allowed to join up.