Courtland Sykes, the "America First" Senate candidate for Missouri, posted his views on women’s rights to Facebook earlier this week — and his commentary cooked up controversy overnight.
The document he shared starts with him saying that he favors women’s rights because his fiancée, Chanel Rion, "orders" him to. He continues, "But Chanel knows that my obedience comes with a small price that she loves to pay anyway: I want to come home to a home cooked dinner at six every night, one that she fixes and one that I expect one day to have daughters learn to fix after they become traditional homemakers and family wives — think Norman Rockwell here and Gloria Steinem be damned."
Rion is an author and political illustrator whose website details her traditional views and devotion to the "Trump Army."
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Sykes' post continues, "I don't buy into radical feminism's crazed definition of modern womanhood and I never did. They don't own that definition — and never did. They made it up to suit their own nasty, snake-filled heads. Modern women can BE anything they want, including traditional women — as millions are fast becoming."
As for his future daughters, he wants them to "have their own intelligence, their own dignity, their own workspace and their own degrees; I want them to build home based enterprises and live in homes shared with good husbands," but he concludes, "I don’t want them grow up into career obsessed banshees who forgo home life and children and the happiness of family to become nail-biting manophobic hell-bent feminist she devils…"
These comments were originally from an interview in September, reports the Washington Post. They came from an 11-page document that Sykes sent the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after declining to do a second interview. And people, many outraged, were quick to respond.
"Feminism is defined as giving equal rights to men and women," one female Facebook user wrote. "This means rights without terms or exceptions, which you are clearly outlining here. The despicable language you use to describe women with differing opinions to yours underscores the reason why feminists still have so far to go to message the needs for gender equality."
"'Nasty snake-filled heads'? What does that even mean? Is it some kind of weird biblical reference?" another asked.
"If someone states 'I support women's right, but...' they are already lying," said another.
One Facebook user addressed the negativity on Sykes' page, saying that "regardless of another persons politics — you people have no right to treat another human being in the manner in which you besmirch him presently. The language is abhorrent and foul."
Directly responding to Sykes' statement about feminists' "snake-filled heads," there was this kicker: "I have so many questions. How did these snakes get into my head? Are they baby snakes or grown up snakes? How many are in there? Do they have names? Please help clarify. I'm just a silly woman that can't figure this stuff out."
CNN commentator Sally Kohn tweeted, "This is an actual statement. From a Republican Senate candidate. In 2017. Not a gaffe. A deliberate, typed out, posted statement. Wow, Courtland Sykes. Just wow."
To this, Sykes replied, "Typical #CNN. Chanel and I chose to support traditional family values and celebrate women's own intelligence and success--to determine what womanhood means for themselves. We'd be happy to talk about it with you, Sally, but we're not holding our breath."
Typical . Chanel and I chose to support traditional family values and celebrate women's own intelligence and success--to determine what womanhood means for themselves. We'd be happy to talk about it with you, Sally, but we're not holding our breath. https://t.co/eiN8fYIFmn— Courtland Sykes (@SykesforSenate) January 25, 2018
He proceeded to tweet on Friday that CNN canceled a planned interview with him and Rion.
Rion posted, "Guess @CNN didn’t want to hear THIS Conservative Woman’s take on why she likes to make dinner, thoughts on the '#WomensMovement,' and on the sad wretched state of #Feminism... guess they knew they wouldn't like what I had to say in advance. Alors, c'est la vie..." (That's French for, "So, that's life.")
Guess @CNN didn't want to hear THIS Conservative Woman's take on why she likes to make dinner, thoughts on the "#WomensMovement," and on the sad wretched state of #Feminism... guess they knew they wouldn't like what I had to say in advance. Alors, c'est la vie...— Chanel Rion Sketches (@ChanelRion) January 26, 2018
Rion talks to Metro
Sykes was not available for immediate comment, but Rion told Metro that women's rights are no different from human rights, and that "[Sykes] would still be in favor of human rights above all things" without her "ordering" him to do so. If he wasn't, Rion said he wouldn't have been the right person for her.
She spoke of Sykes' support of her professional pursuits and stressed that in terms of what she wants for their future daughters, her views mirror her fiancé's: "To be creative and bold and undeterred in their ambitions, but in ways that do not hinder their chances at creating a family unit of the kind they will have grown up in."
"There is a kind of career obsession that many women of our generation have fallen into where they wake up one morning only to find that they have utterly neglected their personal lives..." she continued. "I should hope that my future daughters attain a balance between education, career, and family of the kind that allows them to sit down and enjoy a home cooked meal with their husbands and their children. I don’t want them to live in a world where they are shamed for being traditional family women."
Rion described today's women's rights movement as being hijacked by "toxist [sic] feminists" and the Democratic party. She went on to explain that these feminists, "with their word-bending antics and insistent victimhood have taken the original direction of women's rights — more freedom for women (voting rights, higher education, marriage rights) — and twisted these into a rudderless, man-hating cult," and that there are more important issues this movement should be focusing on such as those who "are fighting for the right to drive a car or show their face in public."
These feminists, she says, "have been told they are victims — of men, of history, of society — and many women and the movement itself need to be rescued ... by more enlightened women."
WATCH: Sykes responds to the controversy
For those who are declaring that he hates women and doesn't want them in the workplace, Sykes says this is "typical liberal nonsense."
"The key issue here," Sykes said on "The McGraw Show" Friday, "is this is how Chanel and I want to live our lives, we want to uphold this traditional family, these values, and what you’re seeing from the left … they absolutely want to reach in and tell everybody how they should live their lives, what they should respect and what they should believe."
"It’s hard to be a Republican candidate, it’s hard to uphold traditional values, because the silent majority...really they believe this way, but they don’t want to have their heads torn off by the liberals," he continued, adding that he's "saying what no other politician is willing to say."