Prior to reading this, you may not have heard of the former executive director of the Massachusetts Republican Party and aspiring Massachusetts Senate candidate, Beth Lindstrom. While speaking about Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Fox and Friends on Thursday, Lindstrom said that she was confident that she could defeat Warren if she won her party's nomination — but the reason she gave raised eyebrows.
"Truly, when I’m out across the state, women say … they just hug me and say, 'Thank you for running. We have got to get rid of [Warren]. She does not have the same values,'" Lindstrom said. "Men, three times a week they’ll say, 'It’s like nails on a chalk board,' truly."
Although Lindstrom didn't make explicit remarks about Warren's voice, some interpreted her comments as part of the broader subject on how people perceive male and female voices in politics. One Twitter user wrote, "Beth Lindstrom’s internalized sexism has her convinced that she will beat [Warren] because her voice is supposedly more pleasant."
It's a topic that has been written about over the years. In 2012, The Atlantic dug into how we perceive and attribute importance (and the lack thereof) to more "masculine" voices. "Low-pitched voices," according to the analysis in The Atlantic essay, were seen as more impressive and even indicative of being able to lead listeners. On the other hand, high-pitched voices were understood as too feminine and incapable of leading audiences.
Fox and Friends also referenced an opinion-editorial published in Massachusetts' Sun newspaper in April, wherein journalist Peter Lucas said that Lindstrom could be Warren's "worst nightmare." Lucas' reasoning was that, "Lindstrom is a successful businesswoman who has founded several start-up companies." But he also said on a more descriptive note that Lindstrom was "warm, attractive and articulate. She also once ran the Massachusetts State Lottery, and is the mother of three grown sons. Her husband is a lawyer."
The Massachusetts Republican's commentary arrives slightly more than a week after another controversy related to commentary on women politicians' physical attributes took place. It warrants a quick summary. In late April, comedian Michelle Wolf came under fire for cracking a joke about White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' eye makeup. Wolf made the joke at the White House Correspondents' Dinner and said, "I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies."
And while some observers (both liberal and conservative) seemed furious about Wolf's wit, the comedian told Seth Meyers on Wednesday that the people at the White House Coresspondents' Dinner seemed to love her humor.
What else does Lindstrom think will help her in unseating Warren? The Republican said that she was much more traditional than her Democratic peer, adding that she believed in free markets and that finances are better spent "in the hands of those who earn it." Lindstrom made sure to say she thought differently than Warren's "left-wing progressive politics."
While speaking on Fox and Friends, Lindstrom also said, "[Warren] had said that she wanted to teach, write books and throw rocks." She added, "When you want to pass legislation, you cannot be a rock thrower. I haven't been a rock thrower: I've built bridges with people through my whole career. And so there's a big difference there."
But in spite of claiming that men and women come to her to express their disagreement with Warren, observers online (including those from her own state) said that they didn't know Lindstrom. For some, her comments on Fox and Friends left an improper impression as one Twitter user even said, "High-information Massachusetts voter right here, and this is the first time I’ve heard of Lindstrom. Not a great intro for her."