Friday, April 14, 2006

The Politics of PMS

The Politics of Power, Money and Sexuality


This election cycle, gender will impact Georgia politics like never before, and the dynamic of "Power, Money and Sexuality" will be evident. It is likely that when the dust settles, more women than ever before will be elected. It’s about time, but not everyone is happy about it.

The politics of gender is the elephant in the living room that no one is discussing- except maybe for the folks over on Peach Pundit where someone tossed an anonymous and inappropriate barb at Karen Handel. The remark reflected a bias held by some (men and women) that characteristics like “strong” , “tough”, “aggressive” or even “leader” are positive masculine traits, but when found in a women, call her sexuality, and in their warped world view, her character, into question.

Is it possible that the cover of anonymity on a blog gives voice to attitudes that really do exist, but are seldom voiced? Is it also possible that in the privacy of the voting booth, the same bias and prejudice will influence choices of some voters? While thinking people recoil at this bias, some give it voice and for more it is a “just below the surface” tug that influences their choice.

I predict that for candidates, campaigns and prognosticators, failure to consider the female factor will result in some surprises in July and in November. Some predict that 60% of those who vote in July and in November will be female, and if candidates qualify as expected, women will be seeking every constitutional office with the exception of Insurance Commissioner. And Democrats will likely have a woman, Cathy Cox, at the top of the ticket. Many impressive, well-qualified women will run for House and Senate seats.

People who have power seldom relinquish it without a fight. Those in power control the money, and those with money have access to power. In Georgia, even though the majority of those who vote are women, at the state level, currently, most elected officials are white, republican men. It may not be a conscious course, but the agenda put forward by this majority, makes it less likely that women will find their way into the halls of power.

While outright bigotry is easy to see and easy to condemn, it is harder to see the more dangerous subtle bias. For example, a number of people- men and women- who are Taylor supporters have told me, “Georgia’s just not ready for a “women” governor.” This kind of whisper campaign gives credibility to gender bias that our leaders should stand against, not use as a wedge. Some people will support or not support candidates just because of their gender. Most simply look for the best qualified candidate. Let’s hope lots of those voters go to the polls.

Sphere: Related Content

2 comments:

cmob said...

“People who have power seldom relinquish it without a fight. Those in power control the money, and those with money have access to power. In Georgia, even though the majority of those who vote are women, at the state level, currently, most elected officials are white, republican men.”

The white republican man is keeping you down or do they apply themselves and try to do something (good or bad) while others stay on the side lines. As Karen Handel has stated time and time again, she chooses not to sit on the side lines, she chooses to do something. Perhaps if other women did the same there would be more in office. The man is not keeping you down, women vote and as you stated they are the majority. Why do they keep electing the white republican man?

Amy Morton said...

That's a very good question. Though women of both parties have many common interests, they generally do not vote as a block. This year, in Georgia, I think that this could change, especially in the Governor's race where Cathy Cox is a candidate with broad bi-partisan appeal.

By the way, no one's waiting around, cmob. That's my point. Women will be represented on the ballot this July and November like never before.

It is different for men and women- men are sort of born knowing that they can be president; there are plenty of role models for them to look to, and a "good ol' boy network to help them get elected.

Even very well qualified women have often have to be asked to run. We are doing that and building the support networks necessary to help them get elected. Organizations like The White House Poject, Emily's List and, Georgia's WIN List are examples successful efforts. I expect you will se the impact in November.