Why does the mainstream media have to ask if politicians who are also mothers can “have it all”? We never ask if dads can “have it all”; instead, we presume someone back at home (wife, nanny, second wife) is taking care of the kids and the kids are fine and we do not need to worry about them. But when a mom runs for office — or is up for any other kind of huge role, like CEO — there’s the implication that she’s going to fail in one area of her life because she has too many competing responsibilities. By asking whether she can have it all, we suggest she can’t have “it all.” There are literally hundreds of other headlines The New York Times Magazine could have used for this article and cover story about Wendy Davis, who is running for governor of Texas as a Democrat. I don’t doubt the Times Magazine article about Davis will be really interesting. I simply wish the mainstream media reported on male and female politicians more equally. [New York Times Magazine]
Maybe you saw this 1981 gender-neutral LEGO ad (left) the first time around. Or maybe you saw it more recently, going viral on the Internet to underscore how advertising for kids could be: the little girl in the picture isn’t wearing any pink, and the ad copy is about the pride a child takes in building something on their own.
The ad’s young model, Rachel Giordano, recently posed for an updated version of the ad that shows just how much toys have changed in the past few decades. Rachel, who is now a 37-year-old naturopathic doctor, posed holding a toy from the LEGO “Friends” line, which is marketed to girls. The “Heartlake City News Van” in her hands is advertised like this:
“Break the big story of the world’s best cake with the Heartlake News Van! Find the cake and film it with the camera and then climb into the editing suite and get it ready for broadcast. Get Emma ready at the makeup table so she looks her best for the camera. Sit her at the news desk as Andrew films her talking about the cake story and then present the weather to the viewers.” Keep reading »
“If you are 35 and don’t have a husband, there is something wrong. … We will start demanding that you are married before you are elected. … You young ladies: look for husbands and get married. You are the ones causing problems. … Someone who is able to manage a home is equally able to run the affairs of the people. But if you cannot manage a home … can you manage public affairs?”
This is William Kabogo, the governor of Kiambu County in Kenya, who has since apologized for criticizing unmarried women who dare to run for office. He was throwing shade at an MP named Alice Ng’ang’a, who is unmarried and also happens to oppose Kabogo’s ideas on taxes. Obviously she has silly ideas about taxes because she is a woman who is single, duh. I hope this guy shuts up so he doesn’t give American politicians any worse ideas. [BBC]
Just in case you were under the assumption “we don’t need feminism anymore”: today brings us an analysis study by Media Matters For America about the demographics of the Sunday morning talk shows during 2013.
You’ll be shocked, shocked to know that white men are still the most common guests for seven of the shows studied. 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 »
Many Frisky readers are too young to remember the 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Clarence Thomas, then a federal circuit judge. One name you might recall is Anita Hill. She was the Black woman who came forward to publicly testify that Thomas, her boss at the Department of Education and the EEOC, had sexually harassed her in a gross, relentless manner. The accusations against Thomas were a powderkeg, taking on a life of its own and igniting racial, sexual and political tensions. Anita Hill herself became the one put on trial in the court of public opinion. For a lot of women, how her behavior was picked apart and the violent threats she endured were a chilling reminder of what could happen to any woman who speaks out against sexual harassment at the hands of powerful men. (Thomas was confirmed and remains on the Supreme Court to this day.) “ANITA” looks like an absolutely gripping documentary and a must-see for all working women. It will be released across America in March 2014. [YouTube]
“If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government then so be it! Let us take that discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be … [Democrats] think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have the government provide for them birth control medication.”
This is former Republican Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting, finding new and creative ways to insult women. Uncle Sam as sugar daddy? Women who use birth control can’t keep their legs together? What about women impregnated by rape***? I guess us ladies should be controlling our reproductive systems with our God-loving minds and the power of prayer, not with contraception and medicine and SCIENCE. Just keep talking, old white Republican men! Keep talking all the way up until the 2016 election. (***They’re probably sluts who were asking for it.) [Talking Points Memo]
On Monday, 19-year-old Eugenie Bouchard of Montreal became the first Canadian tennis player in history to reach a Grand Slam semifinal. That’s pretty cool, right? But what inquiring minds really want to know is what celebrity this teenager would like to date. Keep reading »
The 2014 Winter Olympics will be the first time ever that women’s ski jumping will be a sport. Previously, women were only allowed to test the courses for the men. The International Olympic Committee has long said women were excluded from competition because the category does not have enough elite female competitors, a charge actual women ski jumpers disputed. So it is with great “Ugh”-ing and eyerolling that I point out the actual fucked-up, sexist, medically inaccurate belief that was (not officially, but still) holding women back: ski jumping is bad for the uterus. Keep reading »
All year long, The Frisky has blogged about representations of women and girls in the media. And what a year it was! The Onion tweeting Quvenzhane Wallis a “cunt.” The “slap Hillary Clinton” game. The music video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Miley Cyrus’ everything. I could go on and on and on. Or you could watch this supercut from the folks behind the documentary “Miss Representation” of the highs and lows of women’s representations in the media in 2013. To be honest, it is reeeeally depressing when the sexism over the course of an entire year is condensed into two-second clips and presented all at once. And that’s even with me disagreeing with every single example used in this supercut. You know that ladyblogger cliche, “We’ve come a long way, baby!”? The truth is, we really haven’t. [YouTube.com/MissRepresentation]