Women And The 2012 US Presidential Election
As can be expected every four years, the American media has become a circus covering the up-and-coming presidential election. Intense scrutiny is being placed on the two major party candidates, Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Issues from foreign policy to the legalization of gay marriage to how well the two candidates treat their dogs have been put on the table, and debates among candidates and pundits alike have been raging.
American politics is, unfortunately, a part of society that is still heavily dominated by men. So in all the madness surrounding the two male candidates, where do women stand in all this?
Here are some media highlights to prepare you for the months leading up to November:
The War On Women
If you’ve been watching the news or following the election online you are sure to have heard of the ominous “War On Women.” But what is it, exactly?
The War On Women involves right-wing politicians trying to pass laws that specifically target women, laws that strip us of our rights.
For example, in 2011 there were more anti-abortion laws passed in the US than in any other year in history. This means that there are politicians who are spending a lot of time, money and energy fighting to make sure that we don’t have any choice on the matter of what we do with our bodies if faced with a pregnancy.
And guess what? These are the same people who want to make sure that we don’t have easy access to birth control, either, by protesting funding to organizations like Planned Parenthood. (Candidate Mitt Romney insists that the government should offer no funding to an organization that provides abortions, but abortions make up only 3% of the services performed by Planned Parenthood. The rest is educating women on safe sex, providing birth control, free STD testing and general healthcare for women.)
Yeah… these politicians are not just taking away our right to choose, they are trying to take away the preventative measures that would stop us from getting pregnant in the first place.
The only logical response to this is WTF.
It’s a full-on assault on women’s health and women’s rights, accurately described by the media as a “War On Women.”
Image courtesy of C-SPAN/AP
Sandra Fluke is the Georgetown college student who sat in front of the House of Representative Democrats and argued for her right to have birth control covered within her health insurance at her religious-affiliated school.
You know, she’s the girl who talk show host Rush Limbaugh called a “slut” and a “prostitute.”
Sandra ended up turning into an instrumental part of the debate over whether or not religious schools and employers should be required to include birth control in their health insurance policies (a debate that is still ongoing, despite President Obama mandating that women have this right).
Women And The Economy
Mitt Romney has been making some efforts to combat the perception that he and his policies are anti-women. To do so he cited his wife, Ann Romney, as his special insight into the minds of American women and what they really want. According to Ann, what women actually care about right now is the economy.
There was at least one woman, however, who found this all to be a bit ridiculous. Democratic operative Hilary Rosen appeared on CNN and said the following:
“His wife has actually never worked a day in her life… she’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids? How do we send them to school? And why we worry about their future?”
Hilary’s statements, specifically “his wife has actually never worked a day in her life,” caused a political and media uproar. Republicans promptly jumped on this and used it against President Obama and his campaign (even though Hilary Rosen has no direct association with Obama), saying that Ann Romney had worked hard being a stay-at-home mom and raising her children, and how dare anyone say otherwise?
However, in January of this year Mitt Romney made the following comments about stay-at-home mothers:
“I said, for instance, that even if you have a child two years of age, you need to go to work… I want individuals to have the dignity of work.”
This is an issue that Romney and his camp seem to be flip-flopping on. What are his true feelings on the matter, that stay-at-home moms lack dignity, or that they are hard workers in their own right? I guess he’ll keep saying whatever he thinks will resonate with the most people at the given time.
Condeleezza Rice, VP?
In one of the biggest examples of women and their role in the election, Condeleeza Rice has been heavily rumored as a front-runner for Mitt Romney’s vice presidential choice.
Despite being a conservative, the former Secretary of State is supportive of a woman’s right to an abortion (much unlike Sarah Palin), considering herself “mildly pro-choice.“ For this, some Republicans have spoken out, deeming her unsuitable (some have gone so far as to call her “unqualified”) as a VP hopeful. However, many others are in support of her as a possibility. In an April poll, Condi Rice came out as the top choice between Republican voters and right-leaning independents for who Romney should run beside.
Image courtesy of ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images
What are your thoughts on the US election season thus far and the way it relates to women? Feel free to leave us a comment and share your opinions.
Written by Rhiannon Payne
Opinions stated in our editorials do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Feminspire and its staff as a whole, but instead reflect the opinions of the writer.
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