From my perspective, (as a woman) I view candidates in a different view than a man would. On average, voters are broken up into two brackets that break into two more brackets. Republican or Democrat? Man or Woman?
In the past decade, we have seen so many women running for office (be it Vice President or President). Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Michele Bachmann come to the forefront of most peoples minds. Regardless of political interests, they are all tough, out-spoken, and goal-oriented women.
Democratic or Republican however, they share one important commonality: they faced harsh criticism from men.
All three of these women have been continuously shot down because of their gender. Men have called them unqualified (the biggest lie of the century, mind you), ugly, stupid, and incapable as well as a few expletives. In the 2008 election, we saw Sarah Palin mocked for her looks, and the way she spoke. We also saw extreme criticism from many people because of the fact the Mrs.Palin decided to keep her baby boy even when she found out he was going to be born with down-syndrome. Many women and men alike called her stupid because she didn't abort her baby.*
(* If Sarah Palin did abort her baby at the time the criticism came, it would have been illegal)
This year, at the Republican Debate in Iowa, we saw completely sexist questions asked to Mrs.Bachmann. While I do not believe political sexism is single-political party, sexism was definitely at the fore front of the debate (hosted by Fox News). Michele was asked (generally) if she was submissive to her husband because of her religion. An aweful question to ask. A question that was meant to personally insult her, and diminish her authenticity as a candidate, and as a woman. She handled it well, stating that submissive meant 'respect' to her.
I can't help but wonder....why was this question asked? Would this question EVER be asked to a man?
There is so much sexism in politics, its actually disgusting. We become so obsessed with women candidates looks, that we ignore their rhetoric, their values, and their ideas. We have turned (now three) candidates, into pop culture jokes. Men in particular, seem to enjoy diminishing women campaigns, claiming that women are incapable of winning an election let a lone holding office. I honestly cannot wait to see a woman in office.
As long as the candidate is admirable, has strong values and ideas, what should be the problem with electing them? As a woman, I admit I do look at what the women wear and study it almost religiously...but I think people think I do it for all the wrong reasons. I am not looking at what the women wear to try and tear them down, but to learn from them. If women are not allowed to play in the same ball park that men do, then younger women need to learn to play the game from women who are playing right now.
Clothing wise, women are almost always criticized, like they can't even dress right. Now a days, we see women who wear...well nothing. When a woman dresses in a way that tells men they are a superior gender, we halt progression. It's all about equality yet uniqueness.
So I look at what our candidates are wearing, in admiration. I give women candidates so much credit, because there are a million more obstacles that a woman must pass, than a man does. We are attacked for our looks, our age, our relationships with people, our parenting skills, the way our children look, and men are not attacked for any of that. ( I did not include moral values, or religious/ethnic heritage because somehow attacks on that subject are usually equal.)
All I ask, is that women candidates be taken seriously. Stop giving women the dumbest and worst questions at the debates. Stop attacking their appearance, and most importantly: stop ignoring their voices.
Women have voices. It is their voice that carried them to their election campaign. It is their voice that gave them their respectful jobs. They are powerful, and men must realize that. Instead of attacking women in fear, why can't opponents embrace the difference and fight with dignity?
In the end, it is up to both men and women to do their part to end sexism everywhere. We have done a pretty aweful job of raising this generations view of women, but there is still time to change it.
Until next time,
PS: I promise to stop writing women-oriented blogs! Next time I will address either illegal immigration or the economy. Let me know what you think!