Friday, June 11, 2010

Sisterhood left in the dumps

This is a little early for a non-American blog to comment too much on the forthcoming November elections though the primaries are throwing up some interesting candidates. Still, there are so many American blogs who know and understand the nuances better than we do that I see no reason for saying too much.

However, this has to be pointed out. There were many primaries on Tuesday night and many strong women candidates won them. So, rejoice the sisterhood! Right? Wrong. Most of those strong women are Republicans and, generally, on the right of the political spectrum. So, just like Margaret Thatcher in Britain, these women have been written out of the feminist scenario. They are not, apparently, to be applauded or shown up as role models. In a different way, the fact that both Secretaries of State under President Bush were black and one a woman are ignored. As I recall, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice (as well as Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas and people like political economist Thomas Sowell) have received racist abuse that had not been seen in the US since the days of segregation. But as it came from the left it did not matter.

Rachel Larimore on Slate asks: Where is the Rah-Rah Sisterhood?
I’m not surprised that the only primary race to be noted by Feministing is Kamala Harris’ victory in the Democratic race for California attorney general or that the comments on a straightforward who’s-who post at Jezebel are full of bile regarding Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman. But it is disappointing that many liberal women don’t even seem to want the GOP to have strong female candidates. As Sara Libby wrote in Slate yesterday, “Do you still cheer if the ceiling is crashed by two conservative businesswomen?” To answer a question with a question, why not? (Especially in a primary.)

Here’s one reason to cheer. Conservative acquaintances ask me what it’s like to be in the minority at Slate. I tell them it’s great because it makes me think harder and sharpen my arguments; it challenges my assumptions. That’s the purpose of healthy debate. If the only women in politics are liberal, there’s not going to be much debate. And if a woman has to be pro-choice and pro-government and anti-business to be a palatable Republican, well, you just want Democrats in disguise.
Ann Althouse, herself a conservative law professor and blogger puts it more bluntly:
You know, it's fine with me if we just start treating women like people. We women are not a team. And this isn't a game. The failure of liberals to cheer about the female GOP candidates is an indication that they are strong candidates. That's good!
But then, you see, these people would have to start cheering Sarah Palin and that would never do.

No comments:

Post a Comment