Politics for women ‘ain’t beanbag,’ but does it have to be slut shaming?

2014-02-04 10.53.09

By Robert Mann

I’ve been scratching my head recently over why more young women don’t seek public office. I know what the experts say: women generally believe the political environment is biased against them, are unlikely to believe they are qualified, are more risk averse and dislike the vitriol of politics.

Still, I see many good role models for young women in public life, including 20 female U.S. senators and five governors. Perhaps we’ll soon have a female president.

Yet, many women won’t run, especially in Louisiana, where they constitute a meager 12.5 percent of the Legislature, the nation’s lowest percentage.

Recently, after watching the nasty response to news that a prominent women’s rights advocate, Sandra Fluke, might run for a California congressional seat, I finally understand. Fluke’s wretched experience helped me see why so many women reject politics: They don’t wish to be slut shamed for supporting women’s reproductive rights, nor do they care for the special kind of contempt and public degradation often heaped upon female politicians.

Fluke, as you may recall, was the Georgetown University law student who testified before Congress in February 2012, urging that all health insurance plans be required to cover women’s contraceptive services. Her audacity earned her the scorn of many on the Right, most prominently Rush Limbaugh, who called her a “slut” on his radio show.

Now living in California, Fluke briefly entertained a congressional campaign, but will run, instead, for a state Senate seat. Minutes after news broke about Fluke’s possible candidacy, slimy misogynists all over Twitter emerged from under their rocks to attack her as a deviant for her simple belief in the equality of women and their reproductive rights.

@owljones wrote: “Surely Sandra Fluke, whose only experience is running her own 1 women brothel, can’t win a Congressional seat?” @GBashour tweeted: “Oh no, not that $lut again?” @KewlMCserver said: “You think it’s an accident that the more power women get, the more Western civilization declines? Maybe it’s just a fluke, yeah right.”

I’ve archived all these and more on my blog (bobmannblog.com).

Lest you conclude the twitterverse singled out Fluke for special scorn, consider the hateful abuse aimed at Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis, a candidate for Texas governor.

Continue reading at NOLA.com

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One thought on “Politics for women ‘ain’t beanbag,’ but does it have to be slut shaming?

  1. At some point, women of all political stripes will realize that (a) they are just as qualified for office as men and (b) they need to run just for balance.

    Perhaps a few more comments like those of alleged Christian Mike Huckabee will jar them loose. Mr. H said the reason women make less money than men is because they choose jobs that pay less; they should choose jobs like chemical engineering over social work. That totally ignores equal pay for equal work, and it shows how Mr. H will twist the facts to suit his stance. Run, ladies, run, if you have something to offer.

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