|
The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • Kent Bush: Far beyond double standard for women in U.S. politics

    • email print
      Comment
  • In November 2008, I was amazed that a black man won the presidency before a white women could.
    I knew one day a minority would break through the glass ceiling and end the lineage of old white presidents. But I had always believed that a woman would win first because racism – though admittedly more latent than 50 years ago – still persists. Geraldine Ferraro was chosen by Walter Mondale as a running mate 30 years ago. I mistakenly believed that meant women had a better shot.
    But for women it goes beyond bias. Women don’t really exist.
    Men are defined by their actions. Women are defined by their men.
    Should Hillary Clinton be president? The answers are both couched in misogyny.
    Those who say “yes” think she should be president because they love her husband. He is a popular ex-president who was fortunate enough to lead the country during the initial Internet bubble.
    Those who say “no” talk about how her husband had an inappropriate relationship with an intern and was rumored to be quite a womanizer.
    I know Bill Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar but don’t think for a second that Hillary Clinton might not be the smartest person in the room even when Bill is with her.
    Like her husband, she graduated from Yale Law School and while Bill pursued politics, she occupied her time becoming the first female partner in the historic Rose Law Firm in downtown Little Rock, Ark.
    It isn’t just pseudo-conservative crackpots on AM radio who want to rehash the Monica Lewinsky scandal every time Mrs. Clinton’s name comes up as a possible candidate in 2016.
    Rand Paul, a presumptive Republican candidate, has joined the rest of the voices who have ignored all Hillary Clinton headlines for the past 15 years.
    To define a woman who has been elected as a senator from New York, was incredibly close to being the Democratic candidate for president in 2008 and has since served as secretary of state by whether or not her husband had an affair is ridiculous.
    Is Paul concerned that Clinton would hire Lewinsky’s brother and have her own affair in the Oval Office? If not, the argument seems misplaced at best.
    If it were just Hillary Clinton because of her political aspirations following a husband who served two terms as the leader of the free world, it would be understandable.
    But Sarah Palin ran into the same situation as John McCain’s running mate in 2008. Were criticisms of her focused on her policy choices during her term as governor of Alaska? Not even close.
    Her child was pregnant out of wedlock. How could she be a good vice president if one of her daughters had sex before marriage? If she were a good mother, this never would have happened. Why is she running for office when she has young children?
    Page 2 of 2 - All of these messages were hurled at her yet none of them had anything to do with how she would serve the country. They were all couched in the same paternalistic stereotypes that continue to hold women back behind all other minorities.
    No one asks those same questions or places that kind of blame on men in politics.
    It goes far beyond a double standard.
    Wendy Davis in Texas is the latest victim of the media not knowing how to handle a female politician. Davis became famous for her failed filibuster of an abortion bill in the Texas legislature.
    She capitalized on the moment by wearing pink sneakers.
    She turned that controversial stand into a run for the governor’s office.
    But whether you are staunchly pro-life and disagree with her or think she is a pro-choice hero, that decision needs to be made based on policy platforms nor parenting positions.
    I have no problem with her taking heat for spicing up her biography.
    But when you go after her for choices she made on how she raised her children while attending Harvard Law School, you have entered that “woman’s work” mindset. This is the same mindset that says she has to raise her kids the way your grandmother raised you and the way your wife raised your kids.
    She chose a different path. Personally, I can’t see a pro-choice warrior getting elected in Texas.
    But I think there are as many people willing to vote against her because she is a woman who took on the establishment and made non-traditional choices for how to raise her family as to how she would run the state.
    For some reason expanding civil rights for minorities has raised the cause of racial minorities and homosexuals but women are being left behind.
    We need to stop judging female politicians based on how well they fit the Barbara Billingsly stereotype.

        calendar