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After Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO) disgraced herself at a Denver performance of the musical “Beetlejuice” last week by (among other things) going to third base with her date, here were three trends on X (the App Formerly Known As Twitter.) The first was the kind of name-calling you expect about any woman who is openly sexual in public: slut, skank, bimbo, whore—you choose a word for it, Boebert’s foes used it to call her out.
The second (which we will not pause on) is that political analyst Nate Silver is getting massively trolled for asserting that Boebert acting out loudly at a live performance that the rest of the audience would like to enjoy in peace is just as irrelevant as Senator John Fetterman wearing a hoodie and shorts to work. I mean, he is right, but there is a time and a place for everything, and really, no one wants to hear this now, Nate.
And the third? Sex-positive feminists reproving anyone on Twitter who called out Boebert as a slut, skank, bimbo, whore, etc.
Do you wonder why politics in this country are so screwed up? Americans would literally rather talk about hoodies, hand jobs, and whether we are all slut-shaming Lauren Boebert than policy. Across the board, the media encourages this nonsense for the sake of clicks and ad buys.
However, I must confess it had never occurred to me to call Lauren Boebert a whore until I was instructed not to. And it’s not, as Michelle Obama so quaintly said as Trump was kicking the bejesus out of Hillary Clinton with lies, insults, and conspiracy theories, because “when they go low, we go high.”
It’s because self-respecting feminists don’t characterize other women by their sexual behavior. That’s true even when said women are famous for using sexuality and gender as political weapons against other people, yet also engage in mutual groping with a male date at a regional musical theater as if she were at home watching Pornhub. The groping was, of course, only the culmination of Boebert and her date’s entitled behavior. There was also vaping, singing, dancing, loud talking, and illegal recording. You can read about the event here, with video. Or, if you just want to see Boebert getting her breasts fondled and fumbling in her date’s crotch in return, you can click here.
That said, I do not feel inclined to lecture other people who slut-shame Lauren Boebert. I think it is misguided, and it isn’t because of the unproven allegations that she actually worked as an escort on a sugar-daddy website. It’s because she has spent a lot of time and energy polishing her reputation as a Gun Chick, a popular erotic figure on the right who we might tentatively define as “the slutty girl next door—with a gun.”
It’s not an accident that Boebert looks and acts slutty; it’s calculated. It is something you are supposed to notice, and it is supposed to cause Republican dicks to lead the male voters they are attached to into the voting booth on election day. I seriously doubt that Lauren Boebert would be in the House of Representatives at all if many voters in Colorado’s Third didn’t love it that she looks and acts like such a slut with a gun.
Boebert voters, and to a lesser extent, admirers of another congressional Gun Chick, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R, GA-14), do not care that they are not serious people. They do not care that these women are paid to legislate and have never actually done it. Instead, Boebert and Greene’s brand of out-there, raunchy female sexuality is central to their appeal in a right-wing party that spends much of its time not taking women seriously as human beings and trying to suppress everyone else’s sexuality and gender expression. Being dignified is “establishment,” but being slutty “makes the libs melt down.” Perhaps most importantly, it means that these women may be in authority, but they don’t have to be taken seriously because it’s all just a joke. Really, they don’t want to be in government; they just want to fuck, have fun, and shoot guns with men.
Once seen as a matched pair, Boebert and Greene shot into the spotlight in 2020 as full-fledged Christian nationalist MAGA partisans even as Trump, the guy who made them electable, was being shown the door. While Boebert periodically flew in the QAnon slipstream, Greene was a wholly convinced follower, something she renounced on the floor of the House in February 2021 after she had been kicked off all her committees for spouting weird, antisemitic conspiracies at the drop of a hat. And although they touted their “family values,” both women’s marriages quickly died after they came to Congress. Perry Greene filed for divorce in 2022, a decade after Greene reportedly had several affairs and briefly tried to ditch him. The 36-year-old Boebert dumped her husband Jayson, whom she married at sixteen. Perhaps he still loves her: he took responsibility for her disgrace at the Beetlejuice performance by admitting that he has treated her badly.
Despite their similarities, Greene and Boebert have since broken up with each other. On opposite sides of the Kevin McCarthy speaker fight, they had a final falling out in June when Boebert plagiarized MTG’s impeachment bill, and Greene called her a “little bitch” on the House floor. And yet, as Gun Chicks, the two women still call our attention to the centrality of slutty, trashy behavior to MAGA world.
Boebert owes both her business and political careers to exploiting the nexus of guns and sex that the Gun Chick represents. She and Jayson owned a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, called Shooter’s Grill (note: the name rips off the “Hooters” brand), where waitresses dressed in revealing clothing also wore pistols on their hips. Boebert first came to public attention when she confronted then-presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke in Aurora over his plan to institute federal gun control, mostly through a buy-back program. Before running for office, Boebert became a local pro-gun organizer and also publicly associated with several militia group chapters (which are full of Gun Chicks) in Colorado.
Greene, too, campaigned as a Gun Chick in 2020: among other things, she posted a video of herself brandishing a semi-automatic long gun and warning “Antifa” to “stay out of northwest Georgia.” Although Facebook pulled it down, it got over 2 million views there and another 1 million on Twitter. She also shared a second controversial image of herself with a weapon on Facebook; in the background were progressive women of color in Congress, and in the foreground, the phrase: “The Squad’s Worst Nightmare.”
The Gun Chick is always white. She meets right-wing men where they are, politically and sexually, and is, by definition, an erotic figure who captures both the allure of female beauty and the thrill of barely contained violence. She is one of many contradictory figures (for example, the large number of closeted gay men) in an extremist movement shot through with Christian Nationalism.
In Congress, Boebert and Greene represent this much larger phenomenon, draw strength from it, and style themselves in ways that other Gun Chicks and their admirers recognize. Gun Chicks wear clothes that emphasize their cleavage and large breasts, bare their arms, sport visible tattoos, are verbally aggressive (particularly with other women), and carry a weapon whenever and wherever they can.
Christian nationalism and unrestrained sexuality merge in the Gun Chick. Being a Gun Chick can be part of, or your entire, professional and social identity. For example, former porn star and stripper Alaina Hicks (a.k.a. Bonnie Rotten), who has gotten out of the business, has re-branded herself as a Second Amendment advocate and someone who has a lot of remorse for her life in porn. Now, as a Gun Chick, she’s a kind of firearms influencer who gets to wear more clothes than she formerly did when she does photo shoots. But those images never fail to draw attention to her impressive physical assets, which are accented by draping weapons over and around them.
Gun Chicks are barely restrained by clothes that are intentionally slutty: they are skin tight, falling off, and otherwise revealing of boobs, butts, and pubes. You can see this in the popular Girls With Guns calendar: here are shots from the 2020 edition, which not only feature breasts popping out of bikini tops and tac vests but incorporate porn tropes. Take a look at February’s lesbian twin scene, Miss March in full leather, or Miss April in black lingerie, fuck me shoes, and an ammunition clip directed towards the space between her legs. Then, there is Miss October, who is bruised, has a split lip, and looks to be waiting for her abuser to come home so she can take him out with what looks to be a small shotgun. And this is a site with high production values. You can visit a cheaper, sadder version of Gun Chick World on the subreddit r/hotchickswithguns.
In other words, Gun Chicks are, by definition, slutty. You can slut-shame them if you like, but it only makes them stronger—which is why it is stupid to get involved with defending someone like Lauren Boebert from slut-shaming. It would be like trying to humiliate Jim Jordan for acting like a rabid animal all the time or criticizing Ted Cruz for acting like a stupid person. It’s part of the package and part of the brand.
So, my fellow feminists, if you wish to go high in this case, be my guest. But you aren’t fighting a battle that Lauren Boebert is interested in. Boebert’s sluttiness is intentional, and it’s something she works hard at. And she knows that what she did in that Denver theater will only make the people who voted for her love her more.
Please consider subscribing to Political Junkie, from which this is reprinted with permission.
Claire Bond Potter is a political historian at the New School for Social Research. She is executive editor of Public Seminar and was the author of the popular blog Tenured Radical from 2006 through 2015. She lives in New York City.
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House Speaker Kevin McCarthy suffered yet another loss on Thursday, one that no speaker should ever experience. Five of his Republican colleagues rebelled against sending the defense appropriations bill to the floor, and blocked it. Again. These things aren’t supposed to happen in the House. Speakers don’t put a bill on the floor when they don’t have the votes locked up. A controlling bloc of the majority doesn’t vote against leadership. Republicans don’t vote against defense spending.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is right: As speaker, she didn’t lose any rule votes—the procedural vote that kicks off consideration of a bill—because she didn’t put them on the floor without knowing she had the votes locked up. In fact, until McCarthy, it had been more than two decades since a rule vote failed on the floor. McCarthy has managed to do it three times in four months, and twice just this week.
Last week, McCarthy intended to put both the defense appropriations bill and a stopgap government funding bill on the floor in tandem. That quickly fell apart when the extremists in his raucous caucus made it clear they wouldn’t sign on, and he was forced to pull both from the floor—the smart thing to do.
The not-smart thing to do was to come back this week and try to put defense appropriations back on the floor without having worked out a plan with his hard-liners on government funding—or anything else. Which is exactly what McCarthy did Tuesday. He lost when GOP Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Ken Buck of Colorado, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, and Matt Rosendale of Montana all voted no.
The really not-smart thing to do was to try it again just two days later. This time around, it was Biggs, Bishop, and Rosendale again, joined by Reps. Eli Crane of Arizona and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia (so much for her being McCarthy’s ally). Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, chairman of the Rules Committee, also voted no in a process move so that he can bring the bill to the floor in the future.
Greene drew a new line in the sand on the bill: All funding in it that might go to Ukraine has to be split out. Now, if McCarthy wants to get Greene back on board, leadership has to go back to the Rules Committee and rewrite it, stripping out anything to do with Ukraine aid. Even doing that is no guarantee that McCarthy can get everyone else on board—or even get enough votes to let the defense bill pass.
Again, this is defense spending. Republicans are hating on the troops. This is the House McCarthy built. House Republicans can’t even fund the military.
At this point, the hard-liners are toying with McCarthy just because they can. Unless he gets wise—and soon—a government shutdown is inevitable. It’s all they will allow. McCarthy’s only option to stop them is to work with Democrats.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.