What women's rights look like when the two sides come together as one.
What women's rights are when women are no longer manipulated by party rhetoric.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Taking on the Third Rail of Feminism

Cynthia Ruccia

I'm taking on the hottest topic in feminism-land. Everyone's afraid to talk about it and to face it head-on, but hey, SOMEONE has to do it, and I'm either just brave enough or stupid enough to do it. How badly will I get burned? Not at all I believe because if this topic isn't addressed, we women will get to spend the next 30 years the way we've spent the last 30 years and that is making 75% of what men make for the same work, ranking 70th in the world for female representation in government, holding 2.7% of the CEO positions, and holding around 24% of state legislative positions and 6 governorships out of 50. You call this equality? We are around 51% of the population, and you say we'll get there eventually? At this rate maybe by 2500 women will make what men make, and all of the other things will be equalized. Maybe.

There have been many things written about why women are in this state. Some people blame it on the Mommy track, others say it is because women don't speak up enough for themselves. I could go on and on about the theory of the day. They probably all have grains of truth to them. Some people believe that the young generation will fix everything because that generation is more used to different gender roles. Could be, but I certainly don't have a crystal ball and at any rate, I'm not willing to hope I live to be one hundred to see how that all turns out.

So what's the third rail of feminism?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Other Stuff Besides The Debt Limit Carnival......

Cynthia Ruccia

Enough said about the goings on in D.C., the media, etc. right now. It is a carnival show of the largest order, and I am starting to tire of its tawdriness. Believe it or not, there are other things going on, some of which I'd like to comment on.

First of all, let's take up the case of Elizabeth Warren, the founder of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She was supposed to head up this almost-cabinet post. However, it was recently announced that her nomination was being withdrawn because she couldn't be confirmed by the Senate. Instead, another person, Richard Cordray, was nominated. Many, including myself, were enraged by this turn of events because we feel that the President should have stood up for Warren's nomination. As it stands, Cordray will run into exactly the same obstacles in the Senate as Warren had. Now how do you explain why Warren was thrown over for a man with the same problems? As Rep. Barney Frank summed it up, part of the reason was due to gender bias. But I see it as something even worse. No matter what anyone says, a case can be made that this president has been tone deaf when it comes to women's issues, and this turn of events makes that case even stronger. With women starting to leach away from Obama's base, it would be strategically important to make a stand for the Warren nomination. I believe that by not standing up and fighting for Elizabeth Warren and this nomination, President Obama showed us once again that women's advancement just doesn't matter all that much. Contrast that with our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who brings a women's rights angle into practically every trip she makes.

I have a personal vignette to add to this story. I had run for the U.S. House in 1994 and 1996, and when 2000 rolled around, the party asked me to run for county treasurer. After some time to think about it, I decided to go for it. Richard Cordray, the man that Obama has put forth in place of Elizabeth Warren, had been asked to run for county commissioner on the same ticket. He and I had a bunch of meetings to put an outline together about how we would run our campaigns together, pooling certain resources to our mutual benefit, particularly on our media campaign. At the very last minute, another candidate came forward to run for county commissioner and Cordray grabbed my spot for county treasurer without ever even discussing it with me. He just basically stole it from me and never brought it up to me ever again.

Monday, July 25, 2011

As Promised----Sexism From The Right

Cynthia Ruccia

In my previous post, I talked about the sexism coming from the left with a promise that a discussion about the sexism on the right will soon follow. I've had alot of time to ponder these two views of sexism, and I am somewhat surprised with what I can define. You see, although there is the same sexism on the right that you find on the left, it is of a much simpler variety.

The right has approached women's issues completely differently. Issues that the left calls "women's issues" have been framed on the right in a context of cultural issues rather than gender specific issues. Where the left calls abortion, for instance, a woman's issue, the right puts abortion in a basket with other cultural issues. Whereas the the left has had an agenda that it calls women specific, for the right those same issues are in a totally different context. Forgive me for sounding repetitive, but it is necessary to say it a few times to understand that the arguments being framed in these two ways makes the debate completely asymmetrical. On abortion, for instance, if one sides says it is about women having control over their own bodies and the other side says it is a moral argument about murder, where is there enough common ground to even have the debate? Thus the enduring nature of that debate because it can't be resolved on the terms that the two sides stake out. It is a lopsided asymmetrical debate. The problem for the left is that it staked its stand on women's issues on this debate where the right hasn't.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Running Up Against The Brick Wall Sexism of the Left

When I speak with my cohorts fighting the sexism battle since 2008, we always come to the same exasperating place, and that is the current blindness on the left to their hypocrisy on sexism. Now before I continue, to those who I and many others are calling out on the carpet, sexism is also present on the right. I'll address it another day. But yes, it is YOU, the people on the left, to whom I speak today.

Let me state clearly----I am NOT a conservative. I have NOT joined the Republicans. I am a proud Independent. What that means to me is that I can see the points of view of both sides without needing to marry myself to one or the other. To hear what we 21st feminists have to say, it will require thinking outside the box. To move gender parity ahead, we will need forward thinking, something that should be easy for a liberal.

However, many men and women on the left are so tied up in their ideology, much of it blindly in my humble opinion, that they are unwilling to see beyond themselves. This fact is a real tragedy since there are many smart, well educated folks on the left who are not using their intelligence to think beyond certain parameters. The leftist ideology has calcified causing creative thinking on feminism to have stopped dead in its tracks since the 80's. Let me put a couple of examples on the table.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sexism....Should We Talk About it or Not?

I want to write about something that can become an explosive topic between women and that is whether we should be talking about sexism or not. I will tell you right up front that I come from the school of thought that we must speak up or we will be trampled for sure. I believe that if we don't speak up we will forever be held back by people's prejudices and stereotypes and women's advancement will be so slow as to be almost imperceptible. I also believe that people should be ashamed for being sexist. I know that that sense of shame is there, but it is in a constant battle with the sexists who like to cruelly make fun of women. In people's "sheeple" need to go along to get along, we often let sexist remarks pass because of fear of the blowback that it brings to us.

However, that doesn't mean that the other side of this argument doesn't have its points to make. I can think of several of them and they are worth discussing. But up front let me say that if my choice is silence or going too far, going too far is the better of the two options. But since there are many shades of gray to this argument, let's explore some of them.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

All Women Win Today

When all women win all men win and all humanity wins!!!!  I'm sitting here watching the women's World Cup Finals with tears on my eyes. Yes, I could be crying because the U.S, lost. But that's not my story.

I had to work today, and all of the men in the house where I was were glued to the women's finals. When I got home, my facebook feed was all about men and women's reactions, minute by minute, to this same game. I walked into my house and my husband is screaming at the top of his lungs mesmerized by the women competing.

Yes we've seen this all before, women's soccer, women's basketball, women's tennis, women's golf. But it does appear that the critical mass of women in sports is getting truly closer to parity in a meaningful way.

Yes it's heartbreaking for our U.S. team to lose. I see the sad faces of the players. But we will avenge this loss, and when the World Cup returns in 4 years, the whole world will be watching, men and women. We women are not a curiousity. We play, we compete, and we are awesome. And the whole world knows it!!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Are We Women All In Our Own Private Bunkers?

Cynthia Ruccia

July 11, 2011

I am struck by all that I have read this week and have come to the conclusion that we women are all stuck in our own private bunkers doing the best we can in solitude. We are somehow going along, living our lives, somehow handling the pervasive sexism that surrounds us in our own singular ways in order to get by.

The news of the past week included the continuing sliming of Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, the New Yorker Magazine article about Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, the lead article in yesterday's New York Times Magazine about Sheila Bair and the continuing references to Brooksley Born, and finally the tragic but amazing story coming out this week about Jayce Dugard with a two-hour lead-in last night on ABC.

The tie-in for all of these references is that here we have in all of the cases (except Dugard-----that is a special curcumstance all its own) searing examples where the stereotyping of women has lead to not only diminishment of all of us women, but a horrible economic collapse that could possibly have been avoided had the women been listened to.

My theme here today is sexist stereotyping and the consequences when we don't stand up to it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Some Post - 4th of July Patriotism

Cynthia Ruccia
July 7th, 2011

My new daughter-in-law, Bridget Ruccia, is a brand new Second Lieutenant in the Air Force, and since my son, Michael, has brought her into our lives, I've been to a number of Air Force functions. I'm reminded at these events why being an American is so special, an emotion of patriotism that wells up in me every time. It can be so easy in the course of our daily lives to forget about our love of country. I remember feeling it as a kid so long ago. But it is important to remember as we continue to fight for what we believe in (for me these days it is women's rights, women's power, and women's parity) in a country where fighting for what we believe in is a way of life unique to the United States.

Anyway, I wanted to post this wonderful article about Bridget (and a little of Michael) from the Ohio State University Lantern to share that special feeling with you!! Be sure to watch the youtube and READ THE LAST PARAGRAPH for a surprise ending......

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Women Rights Are Held Hostage to Party Rhetoric

Cynthia Ruccia
July 5, 2011

Well, I'm baaaaaack!!! I had to take a bit of a hiatus, but I'm doing well. Thanks to everyone for your continuing good wishes and support. It has meant alot!!!

Anyways, now that the presidential campaign season is heating up, all of the endemic sexism is being exposed AGAIN. Not that it wasn't there all along mind you. It's just that at this point in our country's history, something about women being serious candidates for president seems to bring out the worst in us as Americans. The thought of a woman holding all of that power makes otherwise decent people go completely cuckoo.

It's been written about alot, all of the stereotyping-------you know, whore, witch, bitch, ditz, dangerously stupid, etc. It's a big problem, but at least Palin and Bachmann, the current possible and hopeful, have decent strategies for plowing right through it. I don't know if they will ultimately be successful in their missions, but I believe that their strategy of dealing with it head-on is much more effective than Hillary's strategy of ignoring it. That, btw, is not a partisan comment. Hillary courageously dove right in as a real pioneer and the "let the chips fall where they may" strategy was a necessary starting point. Brava to her for her iron will and steely determination!!!!