Upon the announcement that Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan would be Mitt Romney's running mate in the coming presidential election, as we noted several days ago, the Internet reacted in various expected ways. One of the most immediate and widespread forms this took was a surge in comments on, essentially, whether Ryan was hot or not. We did this with Republican V.P. contender Sarah Palin in the last election, so why not with the man who followed in her footsteps? Today The New York Post takes on this behavior in the form of one of our favorite things: An Andrea Peyser column, titled "You Can't Hide Your Ryan Eyes."
Peyser writes, "For the first time in human history, or at least since the election of man candy Sen. Scott Brown, we’re seeing true equality of the sexes. Call it — The Year of the Manslut." This is because, following what Peyser refers to as "The Year of the Bimbo," in which "attractive Republican women, from Rep. Michele Bachmann to Sarah Palin were demonized and derided" because of "the quality of their boobs," we now are deriding and demonizing a man for the quality of his ... hair? And his abs, obviously. Per Peyser:
Today’s reigning male model — cool on the campaign trail, red hot in the bedroom — is Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, a seven-term representative from Wisconsin who has a plan for balancing the budget and cutting taxes. He also, you may have read, possesses bedroom eyes, an Eddie Munster widow’s peak, and smoking washboard abs that contain just 6 to 8 percent body fat.
Everyone is talking about how Ryan is hot, she says, including, even, Politico ("Paul Ryan Is Hot!") the Los Angeles Times, oh my! Joe Biden even called him "handsome" and "fine"! New York magazine's The Cut categorized him as "your annoying libertarian ex-boyfriend" (which means, yes, you dated him, which means, yes, you must have found him "hot")! The New York Times is talking about his workout program! Maureen Dowd calls him "an attractive vessel." Yahoo! Answers is all over this stuff! So, taking the "high road," is Psychology Today.
Breathless pause while we consider what any of this has to do with the term manslut.
Peyser worries that we're broaching sexist territory with all our talk about sexy Ryan, and wonders whether ladies even deserve the right to vote given our extreme and frivolous reaction to Ryan's appearance. But the thing is, it's not sexist to say someone's attractive—and while, maybe, we're talking more about how Ryan looks than about his politics (shame on us), most of those comments seem free of the demonizing or deriding that she mentions with regard to Bachmann and Palin. Really, the only thing that seems a bit sexist here? This "Year of the Manslut" thing.