NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Women, how far have we really come?
Today's bloggerAlright, here is the story that I want to tell everyone out there. This is the kind of story that makes me want to pull out all of my hair and scream in horror NO! Surely not in this day and age! Last night I got suckered into phone banking for the Cox Campaign -- and before the eyes start to roll, I know I was not happy with Cox about two weeks ago, and just for the record I'm still only just luke warm to her today, but the alternatives are not so good in my opinion. Anyway, while I was phone banking, I ran across this woman who, when I had asked her who she was voting for in the Democratic primary, said, "The other guy." I politely asked her what she meant by that, and she told me, "Not Cathy, but the Big Guy." I said, "The Big Guy," and she said yes and then she told me to hold on while she went and asked her husband who they were voting for because she didn't know his name. I sat there stunned because she had to ask her husband -- huh? That is when I proceeded to bang my hand on my forehead because I thought, no way did I just hear that.

Now I understand that not everyone is into politics the same way that I am or you are, but I would think it would be a good idea to at least know the name of the person for whom you are going to vote, wouldn't it? I mean even before I got involved in the YD's I at least knew the candidate's name and little about what the candidate stood for before I cast my vote for that person. What got me the most was that she felt like she had to check with her husband on whom they were voting for. Does that still happen in this day and age, that women still default to the husband on such things? I thought we, as women, were way past this at least. I was telling this to Nikema last night, and she told me that politics was still a man's game. Still, I thought women were way more informed about certain issues like education, health care, and things like that, but running up against that woman last night I have wonder what in the world is going on if women are still deferring to their husbands on whom they are going to vote for. She wasn't that old, either, to the point where this would have been the thing to do "back in the day." I thought women were getting way more politically savvy than our male counterparts, but if there are still women out there deferring to their husbands on voting, this worries me a good deal. What are these types of women teaching their girls, that it's alright to defer to the male on politics because its still a man's game? YIKES!

The only way we are going to clear up this misconception is to make politics readily accessible to women, and young women at that. We need to put the women in politics front and center as much as possible in order for young women to see that if they want to get involved, there is opportunity to do so, and that it's not just for men anymore. We as women can get in the arena and make a difference. The best examples of this are State Reps. Kathy Ashe, Nan Orrock, Alisha Thomas Morgan, Pat Gardner, "Able" Mable Thomas, Sheila Jones, and Karla Lee Drenner; and on the Senate side there is Gloria Butler, Steen Miles, Regina Thomas, Horacena Tate, and Valencia Seay. We cannot forget that our most visible woman in Georgia Politics these days is Secretary of State Cathy Cox. We need to keep pushing that politics is not just for men and it's not something that we should defer to our husbands about. We should let women know that they should make informed decisions on their own about whom they should vote for. We have to keep educating women out there on why the political process matters and why it should matter to them. Our work in the women's movement is clearly not over by any means. I know that there are a lot more important issues facing women these days in order to get the equality that we deserve, but I would think starting with the basic fundamentals of making our own decisions should fall somewhere on that list of things we need to get done. Because, God help me, if I phone bank for the next candidate and I come across a woman who has to defer to her husband because she doesn't know whom they are voting for, I will end up pitching a hissy fit.
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posted by Melissa at 6/06/2006 12:30:00 PM


Blogger Audacity said...

"Women, how far have we really come?"

Sadly, we haven't come far enough.

6/06/2006 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Amy Morton said...

It could be worse. I hear that when a local county party was running GOTV in 2004, they called a women who said, "I won't need to go vote; my husband has been voting for me for years." They checked the voter file, and by Bessy, he had.

6/06/2006 06:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Erin said...

Melissa, I agree with you for a lot of this article. It is disgusting that many women feel it acceptable to rely on their husbands/significant others to form their political opinions for them.

However. I have to say that I do not, not not believe politics is a man's game (though certainly many white male historians would have you believe so), nor has it ever been. Throughout history some of the most powerful political figures have been women. That's not to say sexism doesn't exist... people, male and female, are still to some extent frightened by the thought of intelligent, opinionated women. One only needs to look at Hillary Clinton to see how the press, despite her long list of humanitarian efforts and hard work, crucified her for nothing more than her gender. But that is not an excuse to embrace mediocrity in a candidate (no offense to Hillary, I think she's great). Maybe I'm being a traitor to my own sex, but while I do think we need more strong women in politics, I'm not going to vote for whom I believe to be the lesser of two candidates because she has a vagina and so do I. Furthermore, while initially loved Cox, the way she's basically thrown gays and women's rights under the bus, I fail to see how she's going to represent women in a positive light. Cox isn't bad; she's just not great...although I have to say, when you look at the men in politics in either party, it doesn't exactly give you a great standard to live up to.

But anyway, it's a very valuable point that regardless of who you vote for, women need to stick up for other women. Cox is admirable for throwing her hat in the ring, and she's certainly of a higher caliber than Perdue.

6/06/2006 09:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are over-reacting. This woman clearly has decided she is for "the big guy" but she doesn't remember his name. She asked her husband what Mark Taylor's name was, not who she was voting for (she already told you and you knew what she meant).

I see a tale of two women. One has decided to vote for "the Big Guy" but can't remember his name. The other decided to vote for Cathy Cox because she is a woman. From your post it sounds like you don't even really like Cathy Cox anymore but you're sticking with her only because she is the female candidate.

I'm sorry, but if a candidate with Mark Taylor's record and proposals was an attractive woman, or if a candidate exactly like Cathy Cox was an overweight man, many many many activists would be for a different candidate than they are today. Ask yourself, did you get into politics to blindly play identity politics -- women only for women, men only for men, whites only for whites, etc?

Some probably hard working woman forgot Mark Taylor's name. But another picked Cathy Cox merely because she's a pretty face. Where exactly does the real problem lie?

6/08/2006 02:33:00 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I think you have missed my point anonymous. My point had nothing to do with Cathy and Mark. If she wants to for vote Mark that is her choice to do so, but my point was and is she shouldn't go asking her husband who they are both going to vote for. It was the differing to her husband because she didn't know who to vote for and she was differing to husband for the answer. If she hadn't made up her mind yet then she should have just told me that and I would have been with it. It annoys me that a lot women still think that is what they should do differ to their husband on matters of politics and such.

6/08/2006 08:46:00 AM  

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