Are We Really That Surprised Male Politicians Made Comments To Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand About Her Weight?

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is publishing her memoir in two weeks, which is already dominating headlines for the ugh-iest of reasons. In Off The Sidelines, Gillibrand reveals several occasions when male colleagues have made sexist comments about her appearance and once even squeezed her stomach. (Just warning everyone now, if you squeeze my stomach, I will unrepentantly smack you.)

Gillibrand is the mother of two and, like many moms, worked hard to lose the baby weight after her second pregnancy. But the weight gain didn’t go without remarks. As per People and TIME, one story Gillibrand shared was when an “older, male” colleague approached her in the congressional gym and said, “Good thing you’re working out, because you wouldn’t want to get porky!” Another colleague one said to her, “You know, Kirsten, you’re even pretty when you’re fat.” Yet another colleague once squeezed her stomach and said, “Don’t lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby!”

Gillibrand was gracious about the rude remarks — partially, I’m sure, because she had to be. She said she realizes these men were in their ’70s and ’80s and didn’t realize (?) they were speaking inappropriately.

I’ll bet Gillibrand has 10 times as many examples of these rude remarks about her appearance that she just didn’t put in the book. And I can’t say I’m surprised. Why would I be surprised that men in some of the highest positions of power in our country — men who have never given birth and perhaps have never even been in a delivery room before —would be so careless and unkind to a woman in their midst? Do we actually think some of these men spend a lot of time around women who aren’t their assistants or wives (or ex-wives)? If you’re shocked that older men in this country might have their feet rammed into their mouths when it comes to talking about women, and to women, you haven’t been paying attention.


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[Image via Getty]