Not to belabor the point, but I am still stuck on the current blindness of feminism. I know, I know. You might think that at this point I would just GET OVER IT, "it" being my sense of betrayal of the women's movement to its own message. Many are tired of the harping on this hypocrisy. Some are tired because they are so profoundly unhappy about it that they have dismissed the whole issue because it seems too big to fix, too intractable to ever change, too much patriarchal history. Can't say I blame them-------it is almost too huge to contemplate when looked at from that prism. Sigh----I get that. I mean thousands of years of women getting the short end of the stick, it would seem impossible for any of us to make a difference.
But I think that what keeps me going right now are all of those women (and men) who approach this hypocrisy from a peculiar blindness. These folks are choosing not to see the problem at all. Oh, I don't mean the problem of women's inequality. That problem is obvious. Just check out the stats in the right column. Without question, women haven't achieved equality or parity. The numbers are practically indisputable.
No, the blindness that keeps me going is the blindness that refuses to see how diminished the concept of feminism has become, and how that diminishment has totally roadblocked any efforts for women to get ahead. I define getting ahead by those stats in the right column. Weren't we women supposed to start running a proportionate share of things at some point?
I started out my day by reading this article by Andrea Tantaros about what the Republican candidacy of Herman Cain means to the African-American community and to Democratic politics. Although I dislike making any comparisons of the women's struggle for parity to the African-American one, Tantaros's article was instructive. You see, the same blind hypocrisy exists for African-Americans. As long as we're talking about African-American Democrats everyone is ok. What really messes up the system is when black REPUBLICANS get elected and/or have a prominent voice. All of a sudden prominent voices on the left start questioning the blackness of said black Republicans, and their whole argument starts falling apart.
The other thing that has gotten me going is that in my previous piece, I deigned to say something complimentary about Sarah Palin and I was, for the ten millionth time, reminded by someone who considers herself a good person, a good liberal feminist, that she would never EVER EVER EVER EVER support a "woman as awful as Sarah Palin."
These are just two examples of that darned blind spot that feminists have. And that spot is that the woman's movement is there only to uplift women with liberal ideas. Any other woman isn't considered a woman and is considered garbage. Period, end of conversation. This line of thinking has permanently stalled out all women.
What I really don't understand is why we women have to agree about everything. Why do liberal women have to be the be all and end all and every other woman who doesn't toe that line have to be cast out of the sisterhood forever? Women achieving parity has to be about all women, not just select women. Duh!!!!
To me it just seems so obvious. We elect all kinds of men who aren't liberal. We're going to continue to elect nonliberal men. As a matter of fact, this Gallup poll shows that only 20% of the population considers themselves liberal. I repeat, in the face of this evidence, the U.S. is going to have alot of nonliberal people winning elective office. Why shouldn't half of those nonliberal elected officials be women?
There is a difference between electing nonliberals and supporting the idea that half of those nonliberals be women. What's the big problem with that? Why can't we celebrate the nonliberal women who get ahead? Why can't we cheer on the nonliberal and the liberal women who put themselves out there to get ahead? We're not supporting an ideological agenda, we're supporting women's parity!! And it is this particular blind spot that I continue to try to wrap my brain around. Makes me wonder if women have so internalized the misogynist messages permeating our world that they somehow believe that women neither deserve nor are capable of leading. Sigh........
Let's look at it another way. If, for example, we elect a U.S. House with a majority of Republicans, and a U.S. Senate with a majority of Democrats, we may be fighting the same fights, we'll just be fighting them with women on both sides. Why is that not a cause for celebration? The House will be Republican anyways, and the Senate will be Democratic anyways. The gender balance doesn't mean that we change the ideological balance. It might happen that it does, but if that happens, it will be coincidental to the gender balance. Get it now, liberals?
Like I said in my first piece on Women Win Too, the woman's agenda became so caught up in party politics, it has lost its way. We get caught up in the idea that if this woman thinks this or that, she has no business running let alone winning. It is in that idea that the feminists have lost their way. We lost the piece of electing women being one of the most important parts of our agenda, if not truly the most important part. And we have locked ourselves into the different party mantras that we have been brainwashed into thinking must always come first before the REALLY IMPORTANT business for women. That important business is making sure in a representative democracy like ours people should be represented proportionally. And with women holding 17% of the legislative seats in the U.S., I'd hardly say we have achieved representational proportionality.
In the end, I'd like to think that the liberal feminists I know will have the intellectual flexibility to pivot. We started out by wanting women to get ahead, and then we took a turn in the road that has lead us to the wrong place. 17% representation is not what we'd envisioned. 75 cents earned on the man's dollar is not what we had in mind 40 years later. 2.8% of Fortune 1000 CEO's being women in 2011? Hell no. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get a different result. Heck, when it comes to the liberal feminists, doing the same things over and over again has not only gotten the same result, it has gotten a diminishing result. Why repeat ourselves? So what if some women have a different ideological stripe? If it's about ideology, ok. But it seems that for now, we can't have ideology and female parity in the same breath. My mentor, the great Mary Kay Ash who created more female millionaires than anyone in the 20th century, always taught us that you can't chase two rabbits at the same time. Our feminist multitasking has us travelling the wrong road.
And so what if we made a wrong turn? We can pivot at any time once we admit to ourselves that we're not accomplishing what we set out to accomplish. How many of us have started talking about something only to find out that a few minutes later we have digressed to a completely different conversation? It happens to all of us. If we women could summon some constructive outrage at how little we've accomplished in terms of parity instead of roadblocking the 80% of women who aren't liberal, we might actually finish the job we started to do.
Or we can remain married to our blind spot. And in that case, we are where we deserve to be.