Tag Archives: sexism
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…
Posted in Feminism, Gender, Leadership, Media, Politico Arena, Politics, Women & Politics, Women & Work
Tagged "Confidence Men", Gloria Feldt, institutional racism, institutional sexism, leadership, man's man, Obama administration, Obama White House, Politico Arena, Ron Suskind, sexism, subtle discrimination, The White House, women and politics
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.
Last Monday I took my own advice and went to The Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy’s Annual Spring Breakfast. Eleanor’s Legacy is dedicated to supporting Democratic women candidates, voters, and activists throughout New York State; and there was an abundance of each present.
Truthfully, I’ve never thought of myself as a feminist yet as I read your book and watch your presentations, I know that I am and always have been. I struggled from the time I entered the business world at 17 years old to be taken as seriously as my male co-workers. I made attempts to be unattractive so that my superiors would see that I was a smart, assertive hard worker. I was passed over for promotions and opportunities repeatedly. I was even once was told by the hiring manager that though I was the heir apparent, the executive team could not “picture” me in the job. They hired a man with 5 years less experience from outside the company. But I did not give up and I stayed at that company until I got the promotions. At a certain point, I brought up my concern that I was not being given deserved promotions based on my sex and age. I got the next one. What they feared even more than a smart woman
I can’t think of a better example of controversy well-taken than then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s thoughtful speech exploring the role of race in American history, delivered in Philadelphia in the spring of 2008. In response to exploding controversy around his relationship with his pastor and mentor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who had made inflammatory (and frankly racist) remarks in his sermons, Obama rode directly into the wave of controversy. He didn’t deflect or minimize it, but took the festering issue of race in America head-on, thus defusing criticism, positioning himself as a courageous truth-teller, and building respect and enthusiasm for his candidacy among voters hungry for change. He turned a powder keg of a controversy that could have exploded his presidential campaign into a brilliant platform to teach about a subject so sensitive that it is often avoided in public discourse.
I sincerely doubt Obama or his campaign advisers would have sought out this controversy, but when it came up, they realized they had been handed a priceless moment to demonstrate genuine leadership. I believe this was the turning point that led him to victory, and that if Clinton had treated the equally vicious sexism thrown at her with the same directness and candor that Obama confronted race, the outcome might well have been different.
Sometimes we embrace controversies that have turned up on their own. And at other times, we need to create our own controversies in order to get things moving. In other words, there are controversies we make and controversies we take.
What are your own examples of embracing controversy? Did you make the controversy or did you take a controversy that came to you? What did you learn from your experiences?
OK, so this is a little blatant self-promotion, because I’m very honored to have been quoted extensively by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz in her column “On Balance, Progress for Women” today.
Connie called me Sunday evening fretting about the Gawker kerfluffle about Christine O’Donell’s sexual and shaving practices. Personally, I said, I’ve declined to write or talk about it because I don’t want to make either Gawker or O’Donnell more important than they are.
So we quickly moved on to how this election day will reflect upon women in politics and impact progressive women’s agenda priorities. Here’s our conversation as she reported it, quite accurately:
“Gloria,” I said. “Gloria, Gloria.”
Patiently, she waited for a verb.
“What do we make of this sexist coverage of women? Why does it persist — even from supposedly liberal guys? How do we change this?”
I could hear Feldt take a deep breath.
Guest post By Ellen Bravo, originally published as a Women’s Media Center exclusive.
The author, an expert on the prevention of sexual harassment and other issues of women in the workforce, suggests that human resources professionals and corporate executives take the occasion of David Letterman’s revelations to revisit their companies’ policies with the understanding that “sexual favoritism is sexual harassment.” I’m posting her commentary here because I think it is one of the best and most realistic about 21st century sexual mores for the workplace that I’ve read on the Letterman affair(s). Your thoughts? Read on…
I don’t know David Letterman or any of the staffers he had sex with.
I believe fidelity is the business of only one person, the philanderer’s partner.
Extortionists aren’t whistle-blowers—they’re criminals, and should be put away.
But whenever I hear the justification, “I didn’t violate company policy and no one complained,” my hackles jump up.
Let’s talk about why it’s bad business for the boss to sleep with subordinates.
My new post in On the Issues is up today. They call it “A Do Over for Reproductive Rights”. I had named it “Turning the World Upside Down to See Reproductive Justice”. I liked their alliteration, so I came up with “Turning the World Aright for for Reproductive Rights.” Anyway, I don’t believe in do overs. Here’s the commentary:
Lars Larson is a conservative radio talk show host with a following of four million listeners. His producer assured me, when asking me to appear for Roe v Wade’s 36th anniversary, that Lars is respectful, though he would take views opposite to mine. No problem, I said, as long as I can speak my piece.
My “piece” led me to talk about where I think the debate should be: squarely on women’s human rights to make their own childbearing decisions, access to preventive family planning services, and economic justice, as well as abortion. It flipped Lars out. When he couldn’t keep the conversation on pitting the innocent baby against the murderous woman who stupidly didn’t use birth control, he started spinning. He lectured me during the commercial break—in stern-father tones—that I was speaking my piece a little too much for his comfort. Perhaps I wasn’t being the desired foil.
Though he began by challenging me with the focus on the fetus, within seconds he shifted to peppering me with denigrating statements about women. What clearer example could there be of the sexism that puts all responsibility and blame for unintended pregnancy on women?
Posted in Reproductive Health
Tagged Gloria Feldt, griswold v. connecticut, lars larson, leadership, on the issues, power, reproductive justice, Reproductive Rights, roe, sexism, Supreme Court, unintended pregnancy
In response to comments both pro and con on my previous post here, I have been thinking a lot about why it matters that Sarah Palin uses her looks, her cutesy down-home phrases, her flirty moves. All politicians use whatever …
You can find just about anything on the web these days. These 14 pointers on how to walk a tightrope ought to be required reading for political candidates, especially candidates who are any sort of historic “first”. The key instruction …
Updated Sept. 15: You know the saying–after all is said and done, a lot more is said than done. Nowhere has that been more true than all that has been said about Sarah Palin and what her candidacy means. Maria …