You might look at my headline and reply, “Is the Pope Catholic?” because you agree with my contention that institutional sexism is bound to exist in a structure so traditionally male-dominated. Read on and let me know what you think about Arena’s question of whether the new Suskind book’s revelations about the treatment of women in the White House will damage Obama.
Arena Asks: Tuesday’s release of a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind is causing heartache at the White House. “Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President” describes a difficult work environment for women in the Obama administration’s early months, among other revelations. How much, if at all, will the book damage the Obama White House? And did staffers err in giving access to the author, who previously wrote books often critical of the George W. Bush administration?
My Answer:It should come as no surprise to anyone that institutional sexism exists in the White House, as it does in virtually all leadership structures traditionally run by men, progressive or conservative. Suskind’s findings were hardly new or unique to the Obama administration…
Passion! What a relief to see President Obama express some in his jobs speech Thursday. And for the first time that I can remember, a presidential proposal specifically addressed women’s essential role in driving the economic engine.
But the political narrative shifts awfully quickly these days. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s presidential candidacy, a hot ticket just a couple of weeks ago, is suddenly melting. And Sarah Palin is in her bus, hurtling full-speed toward self-parody as an attention-seeking political used-to-be. While women’s importance in the political landscape can no longer be overlooked, some might say that the much-hyped “year of the conservative women” is over…
As second wave feminism gathered peak velocity forty years ago, the late bombastic and behatted Congresswoman (D-NY) Bella Abzug persuaded Congress to designate August 26th as Women’s Equality Day. It recognized the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that in 1920 gave all U.S. women the right to vote.
There are many reasons to celebrate the 91st anniversary of women winning the ballot, which some suffragist leaders mistakenly believed culminated the struggle for women’s rights. But it turns out the solution to a problem changes the problem–creating uncomfortable new questions about the value of equality and what to do once we get there.
You know how it goes: after all is said and done, a lot more is said than done most of the time. Goodness knows there was way too much said about the Weiner debacle last week. So I’m really happy to share a terrific guest post from Jodi Lustig who did something important. And she has other ideas about things to do and why we must do them–now. Enjoy.
My grandmother used to say: “The rich suffer too but they suffer in comfort.”
Apparently for the wealthy deposed IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, suffering in comfort won’t come easy. He has been denied the right to live in one comfortable NY apartment after another as a consequence of his alleged sexual assault upon a hotel maid.
Without making judgments about “DSK” who will soon enough have his day(s) in court, I take this shunning as a positive sign that the world is awakening to the dirty big secret of sexual abuse, which is almost always perpetrated by men against women they perceive as less powerful than themselves.
As further proof of this awakening, this week, Nobel Peace Laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, and Mairead Maguire are leading a conference to addresses sexual violence in conflict regions at the Nobel Women’s Initiative Conference. The conference is entitled Women Forging a New Security: Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict and includes over 120 leaders from around the world.
The highlight of the conference will be Thursday’s online day of action, which will seek to target governments and pressure them to give sexual violence the attention it deserves. The link provides several ways for women around the world to participate, and I would love to hear if any of you, Heartfeldt readers, take part.
I’m hoping that in light of the many kinds of sexual abuse, harassment, and just plain bad behavior that has dominated the media in the last few weeks, these influential Nobel Laureates will address a broader range of abuse issues than those that occur in areas of conflict, and will use their platform to connect the dots among the various ways sexual violence and harassment are used to maintain gender inequality.
Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has put all his movie projects on hold, including one called “Cry Macho.”
Oh the irony of that title. Let me get him a hanky so Mr. Macho himself doesn’t douse those phallic cigars he puffs on with his tears.
There’s also a yummy irony in the fact that the woman who brought down this powerful man is near the bottom rung of social power, a household worker. Sexual hubris and belief in their own entitlement to whatever they want whenever they want it, including women’s bodies…Are these men like babies who think people can’t see them when they have blankets over their heads?
Did you know that today you can turn your favorite pair of jeans into a powerful statement against sexual assault? That’s because today is Denim Day, part of the week-long Sexual Assault Week of Action being observed across the globe.
Denim Day was started in response to a 1998 Italian Parliament decision overturn a rape conviction because the victim was wearing tight jeans at the time of her assault. Believe it or not, the court’s official statement on the case read: “it is a fact of common experience that it is nearly impossible to slip off tight jeans even partly without the active collaboration of the person who is wearing them.”
It’s no wonder that the decision prompted an international movement. By the next year Denim Day was observed in California, and has grown to be a worldwide protest against victim blaming and rape apologism.
The movement is yet another example of the power of feminist activism. Visit the Change.org site to learn how you can get involved.
Be sure to check out the wonderful poet and musician Brooke Elise Axtell telling her personal story and why she is committed to nurturing healing through feminist leadership as she speaks on Fox TV in Austin TX.
“If we can do this, we can do anything.”–Geraldine Ferraro, accepting the Democratic Party nomination for vice president in 1984
Geraldine Ferraro’s place in history is assured. The smart mouthed tough talking Queens Congresswoman tapped to be Walter Mondale’s vice presidential running mate shattered a particularly stubborn glass ceiling. As I mourned her passing following a valiant 12-year battle with multiple myeloma, I found myself watching her acceptance speech again, not with nostalgia but with celebration, appreciation—and a sense of urgency for the next generation of progressive women political leaders to step forward and continue her legacy.