In the days since Donald Trump was elected to the presidency, some held out hope that he'd make good on his promise to staff his White House with the "best people" to lead the country. Instead, we got the chairman of Breitbart News, a site dedicated to extreme-right wing articles. You've no doubt already seen the headlines by various Breitbart authors that depict a culture of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, but Steve Bannon’s quotes about women paint a disturbing picture of a man who doesn't even seem to realize that they're human.
According to CBS News, in a 2011 radio interview, Bannon claimed that progressives were against women with husbands who loved their children, instead favoring "a bunch of dykes," which is offensive on too many levels to count. That he'd even have the gall to use such a slur shows that there's no place for him in the White House, and the fact that he honestly believes the trope that all feminists are lesbians shows that he's completely out of touch with the world around him. Trump pledged in his victory speech that he'd be a "president for all Americans," but his new chief strategist and senior counselor apparently has no respect for at least half of them.
In July, Bannon published an article attacking former Fox News personality Gretchen Carlson for filing a sexual harassment lawsuit against her employer, Roger Ailes. Quoting from various notes in which Carlson requested certain work assignments, Bannon repeatedly asserted that it was "not the language of someone who was mortally offended by an unwanted sexual advance," as if one has to follow a specific script after being victimized. He also called Carlson "a tuna fish, flopping around on the deck of a boat," and described those who would take Carlson's side against Ailes as a "militant-feminist legal wrecking crew."
Bannon naturally took Trump's side in his feud with Megyn Kelly (also from Fox News), implying that the clothing she wears is too revealing, and attacking her for daring to be an ambitious journalist who also happens to be a woman – a blonde woman, no less. "Yes, she is poised and attractive," he wrote, "but at the same time, she comes across as cold and calculating." He and Trump also appear to be the last two people on Earth with an affinity for the word "bimbo," a slur Bannon hurled at Abigail Alling, a former employee of his, after she challenged him over safety concerns for a biodome he was managing, according to BuzzFeed.
Bannon is, of course, free to have disagreements with women over any number of topics. But the moment he brings gender into it, whether through coded words or outright slurs, he loses any claim to fairness. It's clear that he doesn't regard women as equals, and for those who were already troubled by the next president's treatment of women, Bannon's appointment heralds a terrifying shift, where America just might backslide 100 years into the past.