Commentary

Greensboro columnist blasts Congressman/Pastor Walker over “eye candy” remark

Just this week, reporter Lauren Horsch of the NC Insider posted a story about how women are still badly under-represented amongst elected officials in North Carolina. Yesterday, we got new confirmation as to why this is so — namely the neanderthal-like attitudes still adhered to by remarkably ignorant men.

As the AP reported, one of those men is pretty clearly Congressman (and Pastor!) Mark Walker (pictured at left):

“The chairman of an organization of GOP conservatives has jokingly alluded to female members of the group as ‘eye candy.’

North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker, who heads the Republican Study Committee, said at a Tuesday news conference that the group has almost 160 men and women and added that “if it wasn’t sexist, I’d say RSC ‘eye candy.'”

Standing next to Walker at the time was 41-year-old Rep. Mia Love of Utah, the only Republican African-American woman in Congress.

After the event, Walker said in a statement: “During a press event today, I made a flippant remark meant to be light-hearted but fell short. I’m proud of the women who serve in our RSC leadership.”

Doug Clark of the Greensboro News & Record, (Walker’s hometown paper) had this to say in a post late yesterday:

Eye candy?

I don’t like that term.

I cringed when a friend of my niece’s family used that term to describe her at her engagement party.

Yes, she’s an attractive young woman. Yes, remarking on a bride-to-be’s beauty is fine, in my opinion.

But “eye candy” isn’t the right expression of that.

Candy is sweet, tasty and insubstantial. There’s not much to it beyond a quick bite.

A woman who’s “eye candy,” in that sense, is nice to look at but that’s about all there is to her.

So it’s astonishing to hear U.S. Rep. Mark Walker refer to female colleagues as “eye candy.”

Honest to goodness.

Walker, as chairman of the Republican Study Committee, with members of that group standing next to him, was making a statement in front of the Capitol today and said:

“The accomplished men and women of the RSC. And women. If it wasn’t sexist, I would say the RSC eye candy, but we’ll leave that out of the record, are not attention seekers.”

Walker was a Baptist minister by occupation before his run for Congress.

Let me be clear: Compared to Donald Trump’s “Access Hollywood” tape, this isn’t even a misdemeanor on the politically incorrect scale. Walker made the remark in a playful way, not like the habitual womanizer heard bragging to Billy Bush.

But it’s disappointing. I don’t understand it. Women who serve in Congress are not insubstantial people. They are not “candy” of any kind. They deserve more respect.”

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