Jack E. Sandlin, Republican member of the Indiana State Senate, shared a disgusting Facebook meme intended to dismiss the Saturday Women’s Marches, tarnish Michelle Obama’s legacy, and make demeaning comments about women’s’ bodies. (Note that his profile picture includes VP Mike Pence, former Indiana governor.) Sandlin has since denied sharing the meme, saying that he is, “Not sure how that ended up on my Facebook wall but that certainly does not reflect my opinion of women.” More likely, Sandlin didn’t realize that the internet would get ahold of what he posts on his personal, private Facebook account.
The picture is a blatant attempt to minimize the massive Women’s March in D.C that had nationwide – and even worldwide – affiliated marches. Within the U.S., the coordinated Women’s Marches formed the largest protest in American history. To dismiss it as “fat women walking” is a ploy to divert attention away from the wide support the March drew.
As First Lady Michelle Obama focused her efforts on improving health for children. Undermining her great work as ‘ineffective at getting fat women to walk’ is to completely miss the point, and demonize her legacy. Finally, it is totally inappropriate to be referring to the diverse group at the Women’s March as “fat women.” Women who are advocating for their legal rights, and for the legal rights of other marginalized groups, do not deserve disparaging comments about how their bodies look. How they look is totally irrelevant. Sandlin should also note that the Women’s March was historically diverse. It included people of all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, and abilities.
This man deserves all of the shame that he is getting. Attitudes like the one’s Sandlin expressed by sharing the meme are exactly what the Women’s March was protesting. It is an attitude that marginalizes women, marginalizes their work, and reduces them to their appearances.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.