Sunday, January 09, 2005

Of Course?

In an unpleasant, somewhat scatterbrained article entitled Feminists Face Tough Times After Election, AP National writer David Crary makes this dubious point:

Bush, of course, can make a strong case that he respects women — his new Cabinet will likely have four, including Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state, and women for years have been among his closest political and legal advisers.
The phrasing here is obnoxious, to say the least. The fact that Bush will have four women in his cabinet says precisely nothing about whether or not he respects women per se. There are about 175 million women in the United States; the fact that Bush finds a handful of them politically useful does not make a "strong case" for anything. One properly judges the Bush administration's attitude towards women by its policies, not by its cynical burlesque of "diversity."

The only thing we really know about Bush's attitude towards women is that he likes women who have oil tankers named after them, and women who agree with him, and women who'll debase themselves by lying for him. None of these things implies that he has any respect for women in and of themselves.

Beyond that, I don't much like this article's implication that it's only "feminists" - as opposed to women in general - who are facing tough times thanks to Bush. The fact that some women are upset about the Right's increasingly outlandish attacks on women's rights, while others aren't, doesn't mean that both sides are equally correct. Any woman who supports repressive policies towards women is a failure as a moral being; she has no legal or moral right to deny other women rights simply because she's a woman, any more than Ken Blackwell has a legal or moral right to disenfranchise black voters simply because he's black, or Roy Cohn had a legal or moral right to persecute gays simply because he was gay.

These people can't ennoble bad policies by standing up for them; all they can do is display the extent of their own degradation.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing about this. The article you refer to is superficial, but that is not very unusual. The writer has some valid points, however, though he isn't bringing them out correctly. One of them is that the Kerry campaign failed to talk about issues that women on the whole find important until like a week before the elections. The other one is that feminists don't have real access to mainsteam media sources, which makes conscience raising on the issues very difficult. By conscience raising I don't mean the 1970's stuff though that might be good, too, but just the sharing of what it is exactly that Bush is doing to women. Most women have no idea about any other part of it except perhaps abortion.

And the gender gap was reduced not only because women voted for Bush but also because men voted for Kerry.

Phila said...

Good points! I agree with you.