The XX Factor

Linda McMahon’s Woman Problem

Linda McMahon has a woman problem. As Raymond Hernandez outlines in the NYT today, in her Connecticut Senate race against Democrat Richard Blumenthal, McMahon is running even with male voters, but she is behind with women, 34 percent to 61 percent. The gender gap is one way to explain why Blumenthal is pulling ahead more comfortably in new polls . Hernandez talked to women who find unappetizing the way women are portrayed and treated by World Wrestling Entertainment, the empire McMahon built with her husband, Vince McMahon. The footage of him ordering a woman to bark like a dog came up again this week in an interview with ABC’s Christiane Amanpour. McMahon punted to the First Amendment rights of viewers and then tacked on a defense of how WWE’s TV image has changed:

Well, content providers are clearly creating scenarios from an entertainment point of view. I think you either elect to go to a movie or elect to watch a program so I’m a strong proponent of First Amendment rights. At the same time at WWE, women really are powerful women, and the programming content as I said has changed from TV-14 to TV-PG. It’s-I much prefer it today.

McMahon is stuck here, I suppose. This is her husband, and rounding on him could backfire. Plus she has been doing her best to sanitize the WWE, so she has to stay on message. But the First Amendment is entirely irrelevant to whether it’s a good idea for a wrestling executive to ask a woman to act like a canine. Or to the personal question: What does Linda McMahon think, as a woman and as a wife, about Vince’s stunt? She didn’t answer, so now she is stuck with the headline “WWE has a right to make women ‘bark like a dog.’ ” Which surely won’t help her win over more of us.

Photograph of Linda McMahon by Wikimedia Commons.