Even in Local Races, 'The War is Far from Over' for Women Politicians
This letter was submitted by June Coan.
In 2008 during the election period, I was taking a general philosophy class at Springfield College. My professor is a male feminist; even though he is a philosopher, he had originally gone to college for political science before changing majors. With that being said, most of our philosophy class circled around women and politics.
We watched footage of election issues surrounding Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and John McCain. One of the topics brought up in class was how the women like Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton were treated in the election. Hillary was constantly being referred as a female dog and criticized for her voice and feminist beliefs, while Sarah was highly criticized for her “lack of” intelligence and praised for her looks, overshadowing her campaign goals.
We are now facing another election year, not just on a national level but at a local level as well. Out of ten people between city council and school committee that serve, only three are women. Two of the three are heavily criticized. Each one has her own personality; two are similar to the liking of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, and the other one, for the most part, a silent leader.
Another woman, Candy Seel, has announced her running for Ward 3 on City Council. And already, rude remarks have appeared about her looks.
I find it rather interesting that women seem to receive the highest criticism especially in politics. Many times intelligence and beauty (or lack thereof) is questioned or criticized, and rarely is the actual things they do in a good or negative way receive attention. Also another thing that receives much attention is the woman’s relationship status, and who that person is if they are in a relationship at all.
It’s funny to see these women criticized, when their male counterparts are similar. We have men on both the city and school sides that are also silent, overly vocal, or make unintelligent remarks but they are not criticized as much, if at all. Also, I never see any of these men get picked on for their looks, although I could make some suggestions for a few to invest in a toupee, look into weight loss surgery or plastic surgery for their face. Also, what is the relationship status of these men and what do their wives do for a living (if married)? But me saying so is counterproductive to my point, right? If we don’t criticize men on those things, then why are we doing this to the women?
Who we vote for should be based on background, agenda and experience, with no mention on how they look, who they are married to or what level their intelligence is, regardless of gender. Unfortunately, the vicious cycle will continue. Many think that in 2012, women should be equal to men at this point right?
We aren’t there yet. Not only are we not treated equally as mentioned above, but women still make seventy-seven cents for every dollar that is made by a man. We have yet to have a female president, and only recently were women allowed to be in the Navy Seal. Very few women have served as a Supreme Court Justice, and women are still not recognized for serving in the front lines of the military, even though many women have been killed or injured in our past and current wars. It’s interesting to see women being so criticized, when we are still largely underrepresented, and the war on women is far from over.
34 Sunset Ave.