Gender and Politics

Gender and Politics

While I generally don’t say much about the gender and technology issues which fuel many of the people I read, or politics either—another favorite topic of many blogs I read— one of the blog threads now dying made me raise an eyebrow, Spock-like. Ms. Lauren wrote a nice attempt to quit obsessing about the latest permutation:

I don’t believe that female bloggers are so much entitled to higher readership and recognition as much as female bloggers are taken less seriously and relegated to second- and third-tier status. Various possible reasons have been cited for this phenomenon elsewhere on this blog and on others, but for the sake of time management, I’m not able to address this at this time. I think it’s more a reflection of several negative cultural values than a phenomenon that occurs on it’s own and brands others as “evil male chauvinist pigs,” as one commenter said.

. . . Call me Nostradamus when I predict that the question will be asked again by December.

The struggle to maintain visibility for women’s opinions seems to be a never-ending task. I was shuffling through some old articles gathered for my research and found “Political News and Female Readership in Antebellum Boston and its Region” by Ronald and Mary Zboray [Journalism History v. 22 (Spring 1996) p. 2-14]. Here’s the abstract:

The writers examine collections of Boston-area family papers containing references to women reading political news or otherwise demonstrating women’s awareness of events. They explain that although the women considered led mainly domestic lives, they were rooted in a familial or local culture that supported women’s participation in Whiggish, liberal Protestant, antislavery, and temperance causes. They find that these women exchanged news stories with men and other women and often made extensive commentary on newspaper reports of political events. They conclude that future historians should avoid assumptions that women in general were not devoted readers of newspapers and knowledgeable consumers and producers of political culture.

This debate does seem to return, over and over again. There is something deeply illogical about it. The less “visible” segments of society are often seen as totally unconcerned with the topics that those in power push. Why is it that historians (current and past) want to paint women with invisible paint? I just don’t get it—it makes the “conspiracy theories” of gender seem credible. However, as Barb L’Eplattenier used to be fond of pointing out—I’m a card-carrying member of the patriarchy, therefore my incredulity is understandable. I wish there was someplace I could burn that damn card. I didn’t volunteer— I was drafted.

1 thought on “Gender and Politics”

  1. Why not take it all the way? Make it human rather than male. The white male trope is just as over-general and deceptive. It’s a certain kind of white male, and really not even that broad, or gender/color fixed. You can keep refining the definition until you get to some nameless thing that makes more sense though it’s consequently difficult to discuss. Certain kinds of white males were more oppressed by the perpetrating control-clot than other broader categories. Ignoring this makes it successful. Women in positions of power in the boardrooms of corporations whose mechanisms are so constricting it’s meanigless who runs them – now there’s a blow for gender equality. While the strongest and least craven white males do life sentences alongside the strongest and least craven black males for crimes the corporate institutions commit daily.
    Buying into the gender inequality scam is a more complex process than just selling out. Women aren’t categorically innocent any more than human beings are. And human beings comprise us all. Yes?
    Certain kinds of human beings, who at the moment are typified by white males, though examples from Ann Coulter to Condi Rice should put paid to that as nonsense.
    It’s a more specific category. Still unnamed, and thus still safe from accusation.

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