March 2, 2008

De Facto Sexism the Big Elephant in Election 2008

I was dumb-founded when no one on today's "Meet the Press" panel picked up on the gender specific "word" used to describe Hillary, i.e. "bitch" listed on the Pew survey. Not one comment regarding the demeaning, sexist term...
My question : if the "N" word appeared on that same Pew list to describe Obama, how do you think the media would react? What's the difference between the "B" and the "N" words when it comes to hate? Is de facto sexism the real heart of this election story?

1. Thirty years later, the Equal Rights Amendment guaranteeing women equal pay for equal work has not been ratified. Three states are still needed to pass this amendment, including former state legistator Barack Obama's beloved Illinois, standing in the way of a fair day's wage for women, approx 50% of our population.
2. When young women were challenging equal wages during the 60's-70's, creating a new world of economic opportunity, breaking down barriers, working harder, demonstrating excellence and merit, did we ever consider that as soon as we were older, had earned our way up the ladder, that those doors would slam shut again? When it comes to Hillary, seems like her husband, her looks, her so-called career, and her age are still the main criteria for conversation.
3. According to popular culture amplified through an expanded cable and youtube media, the message resounds: any woman making her way to the top is still called a bitch, and that's OK. I might mention that there is equality when it comes to sexism- women taking sides against another woman. Name calling and discriminatory language, under the guise of humor or infonews is certainly harrassment.
4. Thiry years ago, women were earning an average of 70 cents per dollar compared to men. Three decades since the introduction of the equal rights amendment, the latest numbers show women are now earning 79 cents on the dollar compared to men.

As we wrap up this primary season, women might seriously consider stepping back from "pleasing" the same popular culture that is throwing women and children overboard economically. Younger women need to do their research, discover if career advancement is still all about looks. What about merit? Does merit even matter in our current culture or is it all about what's fashionable at the moment?

Resisting the youth movement and putting yourself first for once, although we are thrilled that this sleeping giant is finally showing up, ask yourselves this simple question before you vote: If Obama was a young, black woman, do you really think she would be able to even win a primary, get the same media coverage, coalition support, media adoration that a male candidate gets? and that's OK?

Up the elephant!

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