In a society in which masculinity is valued over femininity, like the U.S., the words “woman” and “girl” (not to mention words like “pussy,” “bitch,” and “cocksucker”) are effective slurs against both men and women. The flipside of this, of course, is that acting like a man is considered good. Acting like a man means being powerful, assertive, and effective. In masculinized arenas, like politics, both men and women are expected to act like men and being accused of being a woman is an effective slur against any politician.
Case in point: Dmitriy T.M. sent a 30-sec Politico video in which Sharron Angle tells Harry Reid to “man up.”
Politico reports five other instances in which candidates of both sexes delivered this chide to opponents. The fact that both men and women find this insult useful suggests that everyone has accepted sexism in politics and is willing to endorse and manipulate it to win. But, while the slur may help individual women and men win races, it ultimately affirms the idea that politics is no place for a woman.