February 11, 2021
Media Contact: Erica Quealy, 517-582-2961
Cheryl Bergman, CEO of the Michigan Women’s Commission, and Shannon Garrett, Chief Strategy Officer of the Michigan Women’s Commission, issued the following statement today condemning Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey for repeated violent, misogynistic and xenophobic remarks.
“There’s a difference between the defense of strongly held policy positions and careless resorts to violent, misogynistic and xenophobic bloviating.
Michigan’s Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey’s latest comments that he’s contemplated inviting Governor Whitmer “to a fistfight on the Capitol lawn” and that he’s “spanked her hard” in legislative negotiations are just the latest from an elected leader who has also referred to the Governor as “batshit crazy,” said she’s “doubling down on stupid,” and boasted that he “wrestled” with the “Chinese Flu Army.”
As we have stated before, reliance on gendered language, sexual imagery and the glorification of violence is both careless and dangerous. Leader Shirkey should need no greater proof than last year’s disrupted plot to kidnap and kill Governor Whitmer or the January 6th insurrection at the US Capitol to understand how misogynistic, sexist and xenophobic bluster leads to real world violence. If not, he could ask any one of the nearly 42% of Michigan women who experience rape, physical violence and/or stalking in their lifetime.
Leader Shirkey must take violence against women seriously. Napoleonic rhetoric has consequences.”
The 15-member Michigan Women's Commission was created by statute in 1968. Commission duties include reviewing the status of women in Michigan, directing attention to critical problems confronting women, recommending ways of overcoming discrimination, enabling women to develop skills, conducting surveys, and recognizing women's accomplishments and contributions to Michigan. Commissioners are appointed by the Governor and serve three-year terms. To learn more about the Michigan Women’s Commission, go to michigan.gov/mwc.