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Double Standards in Politics

Amanda Awanjo
Staff Reporter

Women in Politics play one of two roles typically:

1. Supportive wronged wife, standing firmly by husband’s side during an uncomfortable press conference where her husband expresses guilt, shame, along with renewed interest and appreciation for the woman he just cheated on.
2. Cold rigid politician, not tough enough to take of the big dogs without a team, coaching her and coaxing her to victory, and not woman enough to be relatable to the masses.

2009 was a year that brought to the surface the long ways that women still have to go to achieve an equal political playing field. Two notable female figures that rose out of 2009 were Hillary Clinton and Jenny Sanford. I remember during 2008 election in discussions among my more politically minded friends, the argument constantly arose that women were catty and, the question was deftly asked does this country really need someone has the ability to PMS holding the keys to the missile launchers? The most disturbing thing to arise from these discussions is that those were women, educated women who truly believed the sexist lingo spouting out of their mouths. While men haughtily bad mouthed the presidential hopeful with an ego and air of self importance uniquely male, women tore into Hillary shunning her lack of “female appeal”. In a press conference, a reporter asked Hillary what her husband would think on, the involvement of China and the World Bank in the Democratic Republic of Congo, she answered, “You want to know what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state, I am. You ask my opinion; I will tell you my opinion. I’m not going to be channeling my husband.” Though the incident was later cleared up as a mix up between reporter and translator and Clinton, the question and the subsequent proved a point. Even in a prominent position with all the power of a particular office, women are still viewed as not being “enough”, male opinion is still sought after and valued over a woman’s.

In American politics, to run for office and be a woman you have to prefect your tough political side as well as non intimidating relatable feminine charms. To be a woman in American politics, it means to be unfairly up for biased questions and voters. The most recent example of this comes in the January 2010 special election for the late Ted Kennedy’s senate seat. The male candidate Scott Brown had a mediocre record and a racy centerfold in cosmopolitan magazine bearing his politician goodies, the female candidate Martha Croakley ran a non aggressive campaign and lost. One of the closest instances that a woman has gotten to a senate seat. Freshman Latoya Hinds says on the subject, “It’s all about societal norms and how women are able to run for office but, they are not elected.” Even though are represented in the House of Representatives and as governors and other executives throughout the states, with females making up more than half of the population in the United States, is not even close to being proportional. Alayne Brown says this is, “because American society is not ready for a woman leader.”

However this fact, America seems content with sometimes mediocre and morally lacking male politicians. The Republican governor Mark Sanford disappeared off the face of the earth for six days, his location unknown even to his wife and security detail. As it were the governor was in the arms of his Argentine mistress. Unlike many wronged wives of politicians before her, Jenny Sanford did not stand solemnly by her husband’s side as he promised her and their marriage things he knew he had no intentions of keeping, instead she divorced him, and openly expressed her pain at her husband’s betrayal. She was widely acclaimed as the new woman of politics and many called for her to run for public office. However, she is not the new woman of politics, women have been leaving cheating husbands for years. The power of her story revolves in the fact that she in a very educated and dignified manner stood up for herself and her family, without much fanfare. She opened the door a crack more for women.

Though women make up the majority of the Nation’s population, women make up 17% our governing system. With the election of Georgia’s first female pro tempore, Jan Jones, elected on January 11, 2010, hopefully, the glaring sexist that has kept women from the top positions in politics will open and give way to female leadership.

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About wesleyanword

The Wesleyan Word is the official student newspaper of Wesleyan College. Operated and produced by students, The Word is printed twice per month during the fall and spring semesters. Online editions are released every Wednesday throughout the school year. Wesleyan College is a 4-year private residential college for women in Macon, Georgia. Established in 1836, Wesleyan College is the first college in the world to charter degrees to women.

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