Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Election 2016: Always the bridesmaid, never the ...

We are in the last months of an Obama presidency and while I hate to see him go in light of the options that are now available, I am even more concerned about how the media are covering the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

Just this week, headlines were made not based on the content of her platform but because she wore an expensive jacket during a speech on inequality. Do we know what type of suits any of the male candidates are wearing? Are these suits from Men's Warehouse or custom product tailored to the candidate's unique physique? Of course not, the clothing and general look of the male candidates does not provide the interesting headlines - maybe with the occasional exception of Donald Trump's hair.
The reason I started this post with a reference to the Obama presidency is simple. We are now saying goodbye (and for some people Good Riddance) to the first non-Caucasian POTUS. At the same time, we are now facing the possible presidency of the first woman. That is right! Up until now, more than 50% of the US population (based on Kaiser Family Foundation, 2014) have not been represented at the highest level of politics. By comparison, African-Americans make up 12% of the population and non-Caucasian make up less than 50% of the population.

There was even a relative shortage of close seconds, but at least there were two candidates for vice-president that were female - ergo the bridesmaid reference. One could argue that are lot more female nominees were around, but how often had the Green Party really a shot at the presidency, no matter what the candidates gender.

So now we may actually end up with a female president! Reason to celebrate? Maybe! Because it was so much easier for a woman to be a vice-presidential candidate and why a female presidential candidate is newsworthy, does this not underscore that women should take a step behind men as their assigned role? Women are seemingly still being measured by how expensive a jacket is rather than the content of their political agenda. Is it because women are not capable of having a sound political agenda and can therefore be dismissed right away? Is it inappropriate for a woman to know politics and outlast male candidates in a primary and then a general election? Does that mean she had forgotten her place?

We are still struggling in this country with getting equal pay for women because ... Well actually why are we still struggling? Because women will have kids? I thought it took two to tango and Mark Zuckerberg has shown us that men can take leave as well (and many do because they may actually work in a position where their leave is understood, while the mother will take a hit in their career). At the same time, not having kids makes many women seem suspect of not meeting their obligations. It is a seemingly never ending cycle of no-win for women in this country.

I do not consider myself a feminist. I only consider women to be citizens of the US like any other gender and as such entitled to unalienable rights and last time I checked it did include a pursuit of Happiness - even if that included having a career that just happened to be as President of the United States.

No comments: