WASHINGTON, D.C. – Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York says she has been the target of sexist comments by fellow U.S. Senators.
Gillibrand says male members of Congress have addressed her as ‘chubby’, ‘porky’, ‘hot’, and ‘honey badger’.
The New York Democrat reveals this in her new book called ‘Off the Sidelines’, which chronicles what it’s like to be a 47-year-old woman in politics in 2014.
Gillibrand is one of only a few women in history to give birth while in Congress.
“There’s a lot more interest in younger women beginning to look at public service earlier. and when we look at public service earlier, it means we have children while we’re serving. it’s good for the congress,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D) New York.
She’s open about struggling with weight gain after two pregnancies.
Gillibrand says as she was shedding the pounds, a male senator came up behind her, squeezed her waist and said, “Don’t lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby.”
Gillibrand makes headlines fighting for women’s rights against sexual assault in the military.
Yet she says male colleagues didn’t realize their comments were crass, because they’re older and in their 60’s.
However, 74-year-old House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi who came to Congress when few served is appalled.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s disrespectful. Here’s Senator Gillibrand, one of the great leaders of this country,” said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, (D) Minority Leader.
There are now 20 women in the Senate, an all-time high.
However it’s still only 20 percent of the Senate, and women make up more than 50% of the U.S. population.
Barbara Mikulski is the longest-serving female senator in history.
When she first came only 28 years ago, women weren’t even allowed to wear pants on the Senate floor, and bathrooms were limited.
“They just weren’t equipped for us. They first of all have this place called the Senate Gym, the locker room, that just couldn’t accommodate me,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, (D) Maryland.
The good news is women can now exercise in the congressional gym
The bad news is it’s apparently a forum for inappropriate comments, like when a colleague told Gillibrand “Good thing you’re working out, because you wouldn’t want to get porky!”