Gibbs argued against women voting, working on anti-feminist website in college

Riley Beggin
The Detroit News

Washington − John Gibbs, the GOP candidate running for the U.S. House in west Michigan's 3rd District, authored a website in college that argued women should not vote or work outside the home.

Gibbs, 43, started a "think tank" called the Society for the Critique of Feminism, hosted on his personal web page in 2000 and 2001 while attending Stanford University, CNN first reported Wednesday.

On the archived site, Gibbs argued women's suffrage contributed to larger government and increased spending.

"Increasing the size and scope of government is unequivocally bad," he wrote. "And since women's suffrage has caused this to occur on a larger scale than any other cause in history, we conclude that the United States has suffered as a result of women's suffrage."

John Gibbs, the Republican nominee for Congress in Michigan's 3rd District, faces Democrat Hillary Scholten in the Nov. 8 general election.

Gibbs is a former Trump administration official who worked in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and has the former president's endorsement. He also worked as a Christian missionary in Japan and as a software engineer at companies in Silicon Valley, including Apple Inc. He studied computer science at Stanford.

He ousted incumbent U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids Township, in the GOP primary in August. He faces Democrat Hillary Scholten, a former attorney in the Obama administration's Department of Justice, in a closely-watched general election matchup in November.

Gibbs' spokesperson AnneMarie Schieber directed The Detroit News to the campaign's comments to CNN, stating Gibbs does believe women should be allowed to work and vote.

"John made the site to provoke the left on campus and to draw attention to the hypocrisy of some modern-day feminists. It was nothing more than a college kid being over the top," Schieber told CNN. "Of course, John does not believe that women shouldn't vote or shouldn't work, and his mother worked for thirty-three years for the Michigan Department of Transportation!"

Gibbs' website argued women have been "wrongly duped" into working, that mixed-gender workplaces reduce productivity, and that sexual harassment laws "spawn a barrage of sexual harassment cases of frivolous proportions."

"In the post-feminist workplace, men must bend over backwards to make sure that they do not inadvertently offend any woman who might happen to hear a joke or comment uttered in humor and harmlessness," he wrote.

On one page explaining how the Bible supports a male-dominated society, Gibbs wrote that "women do not posess (sic) the characteristics necessary to govern."

On another, he argued most women lack "the ability to think logically about broad and abstract ideas in order to deduce a suitable conclusion, without relying upon emotional reasoning."

At the bottom of the page, he linked to a web page hosted by the group Fathers Manifesto called "The 19th Amendment and the Totalitarian State," which outlined social and political trends the author blamed on women's ability to vote, including drunk driving laws, affirmative action and capital punishment.

Fathers Manifesto also hosted a petition to repeal the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote a century ago. Gibbs praised the website in two comments submitted through his Stanford email address.

Michigan's new 3rd District is considered one of the most competitive in the country. It has become more Democratic since the last redistricting cycle and the newly-formed district would have voted for President Joe Biden by eight percentage points.

During the primary, Gibbs pitched himself as a more conservative replacement for Meijer, who was one of 10 House Republicans to impeach then-President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot. He defeated Meijer 52% to 48% despite having a significantly smaller war chest.

On Tuesday, Gibbs launched his first TV ad of the general election, touting his Ivy League education and work history.

rbeggin@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @rbeggin