Your career plans might not include New York Senator or Secretary Of State. Even so, surely you can’t deny that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knows a thing or two about successful careers. Speaking this week at New York University about her new Clinton Foundation project, “No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project,” Ms. Clinton dished out career advice worth listening to. “One of the best pieces of advice that I ever heard from anyone was Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1920s who said that women in politics or in public roles should grow skin like a rhinoceros. I think there’s some truth to that,” she said. “It’s important to learn how to take criticism seriously, but not personally. And to do that, you have to be willing to hear what others, who are your critics, are saying and to evaluate where they’re coming from.” It’s sexist and annoying that women need to be this way more than men (and mothers in politics and public life especially), but I don’t doubt that Clinton, who has an admirable rhinoceros hide herself, is correct. [CBS News]
Happy Valentine’s Day, sinners and sodomites! Yesterday, a federal judge in Virginia ruled that the state’s 2006 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The ban is in violation of the equal protection and due process clauses in the United States Constitution’s 14th amendment. Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen’s wrote in the ruling, “Our Constitution declares that ‘all men’ are created equal. Surely this means all of us.” She also singled out the ban for “unlawful prejudice.” (This ruling also means VA has to acknowledge same-sex marriages which are legal in other states.)
Earlier this month, VA’s Attorney General had made clear that he would not defend the same-sex marriage ban on behalf of the state. Gay marriage opponents are already planning to appeal the decision and it’s likely this could head to the Supreme Court. [New York Times, CNN, NPR]
“The high-five is friendly, fun, and can lift spirits,” said Courtney Allen Curtis, a Missouri State Representative, and that’s why he has put forth a bill to make the high-five Missouri’s official state greeting. “With tensions running high in the Capitol building, the high five might be just what Missouri needs,” said Curtis, who introduced the bill, called HB 1624, earlier this week. “An official state greeting could help to break up the monotony of the day-to-day work and promote a friendlier environment between both sides of the aisle.” The plan might sound a little ridiculous (or a lot ridiculous), but I want to give Curtis a high-five for his unapologetic idealism in the face of complex political strife. Who knows how many massive rifts, political standoffs, and brutal wars throughout history could have been solved with a simple, “up top, buddy!”? [Huffington Post]
“Maybe we have to say ‘enough’s enough, you shouldn’t be having kids after a certain amount … I don’t know how you do all that because then it’s tough to tell a woman with four kids that she’s got a fifth kid we’re not going to give her any more money. But we have to figure out how to get that message through because that is part of the answer.”
Republican Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky is making it his personal mission to shame moms on welfare for continuing to get pregnant. Sen. Paul, who has a decent shot at the 2016 Republican nomination, wants to put a cap on the government benefits for which low-income mothers are eligible. His aim is to dis-incentivize mothers by economically punishing them for having a number of children that is over his ambiguous personal threshold of what he considers to be “too many.” Basically, he’s fairly certain that the way to save the United States’ future is for women to keep their legs closed. (Oh, you didn’t think he supported reproductive rights, did you? HAHAHAHA. Rand opposes abortion unilaterally, even in the cases of incest or rape.) Keep reading »
When a woman attempts to find some semblance of “having it all,” she automatically becomes demonized. We can’t seem to rise up in the ranks — whether it’s in the corporate world or in politics — without our personal lives, particularly our mothering skills, being called into question.
The latest female politician in the hot seat is Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, who is running for governor on the Democratic ticket. She has recently been skewered (again) for having been both a young mother and a single mother. The focus circumventing her actual politics (like her support for women’s reproductive rights) and instead revolve around how she is as a mother. A reporter for Fusion even asked Davis to respond to a blog post by Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol Palin — seriously, her — that called Davis a woman “whose ambition and ego were so big she couldn’t have both a career and kids at the same time.” Both Jessica Luther and Carolyn Edgar wrote insightful pieces this week explaining why these allegations are egregious, erroneous, and just plain clueless.
I could spend hours picking apart what is wrong about these attacks. Instead, I’d like to note that we hardly ever see male politicians skewered for their parenting. We look past that aspect of their personal lives — for the most part, barring a mistress or financial scandal — and focus on their politics. A male politician who is also a father gets to be, first and foremost, a male politician. But a female politician who is also a mother? It’s completely different. Keep reading »