Imagine my surprise when I read Campbell Brown’s opinion in the NY Times Sunday Review. She accuses Obama of being condescending to women, and I simply had to read why. How, I wondered, is the only sane candidate possibly stifling women when his opponents want us to be well-managed breeding stock? The answer came in the first paragraph. Brown was offended by the comment that “women are smarter than men” and was set off by the supposedly false praise contained within. She then immediately manages to blame him for a quote that he’s never made, but she is so sure that it is inevitable that she winces in anticipation.
Get over yourself, lady. Maybe it was a slow news week, but this is tripe. We owe this man gratitude, not whining. He deserves our support, as we have had his while Republicans have threatened fair treatment of women at every turn.
Brown dismisses Obama’s comments as a “cheap applause” ploy, but in reality Obama is showing respect for women in giving us long overdue credit. Women are every bit as capable of men when it comes to courage, intelligence and integrity. We have a place as leaders, and studies are emerging that show female executives can perform as well as, if not better than the boys. I understand it’s tempting to belittle the progress women are making, but we should aim for better. We do not want to let that chip on our shoulder blind us to true effort, or make us so cynical that we shoot down the very hope we’ve been waiting for.
The author is also outraged by Obama telling recent Barnard graduates that they should fight for the head seat of the table, and that things are tough but will get better. Damn his insolence. True, graduates are suffering high unemployment rates, but that is no reason not to reach and work hard. Obama didn’t promise them an easy road, he encouraged them to get out there and make a mark on this world. Letting them know that they can, and that they will have his help. Starting out in this world is a scary prospect, and things women should be able to take for granted (medical rights, fair pay, full disclosures from doctors) are still out of reach for many. Far too many. That is why we must work harder, not sit and snipe at the person who is offering the hand up.
The Life of Julia has drawn a lot of fire, but even the critics can’t agree on why it’s so terrible, just that it is. I think some find the slideshow approach as making light of a serious topic, while others rightfully take issue with the predictions that aren’t so easy to predict. I will simply address the article’s referring to it as showing how women “look to government for at every meaningful phase of their lives for help.” Whether you agree with the content or not, rest assured it demonstrates the intent of helping all women along the way. Whether you are a small child in school, a young mother, retired, or anywhere between that the government is trying to ensure fair treatment. There is a plan for women, and with Obama it is protection and empowerment. I am shocked that a fellow woman, a successful writer and self-proclaimed independent thinker, seems to view women as the very helpless and vapid stereotypes that we are fighting against. Her default view seems to be that women are dependent and incapable, and I am not buying it.
To be fair, the other side has a plan for women, too. The GOP has voted unanimously against fair pay for women out of concern for the burden on businesses. Corporations are people too, am I right? They are also debating our medical rights with the assumption that we are subject to their whims, because in their ideal government, we are their subjects. We are pawns who should stay out of the way, pop out the labor force required to keep the top ten percent in the style they are accustomed to. At this rate, women aren’t even guaranteed the medical rights of full disclosure. If you live in the wrong place, your doctor can withhold information based on what you might think, subject to that person’s religious beliefs instead of their vow to treat patients with dignity and respect. The Life of Julia shows a better choice, and while it is simplistic it’s still going in the right direction.
But now that we’ve mentioned that nefarious other direction, the one that leads to the loss of medical rights, the refusal to pay fair wages for the same work, the muddied waters of religion vs. government’s obligation to serve everyone, let me deliver the punchline of this attempt at humor: this dizzy woman’s husband is an adviser to Mittens himself. Now it makes sense. This lame attempt at honest disclosure comes towards the end of her rant and in the midst of a pro-Romney delivery that says women will never confuse him with Rick Santorum. They don’t need to, honey. Mitt Romney is a waffler, a cowardly poll chaser who stands strong in his conviction that he knows what women need. Read his stupidity about working mothers, and know that he supported the Blunt Amendment in addition to fighting against birth control being classified as basic preventative medical care. He doesn’t have to worry about carrying the Santorum stain into his campaign, he is his own worst enemy.
In the end, this is just another canned argument about how the GOP is still our friend despite the hard evidence, and Obama is evil because they didn’t like his tone. I say to her the same thing I say to Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin: women deserve better representation, especially from one of our own.