Women In The 2012 Election: A Bi-Partisan Perspective
"Women In The 2012 Election: A Bi-Partisan Perspective" is part four of the series "Political Perspectives."
Both candidates have done their best to figure out the answer to the age-old question: “What do women want?”
We (Madeline Lansky and Kaya Masler), as leaders of student organizations for our respective parties at the University of Southern California (USC) are here to break the shocking news to you - there is no universal answer to the question: “What do women want?” You’ll just have to get to know us.
Over the past months, both campaigns have attempted to do just this, since we have supposedly emerged, all of a sudden, as a more-than-significant voting bloc. Technically, women have been outvoting men since 1964, so our collective importance is not exactly recent news. However, once again, the candidates are all abuzz about how to “court the ladies.” They have each headed back to their party headquarters to craft a gripping new discussion that revolves around an imaginary world wherein women unite over “women’s issues.” And by this term, we and everyone seem to mean the politics of “lady parts.”
Well, President Obama and Governor Romney, we have some news for you:
Women's issues comprise more than just one issue.
It is true that women, when polled on issues close to our hearts, rate reproductive rights as a top priority. (By the way, we believe that this is just as much a men’s issue.) However, crafting a dialogue dubbed “women’s issues” around only our reproductive systems is inherently reductionist, akin to biological essentialism.
When we are not busy spending our time contemplating our inherent right to birth control, we are also busy being college students, paying students loans, struggling to find jobs and worrying about moving home or facing another market crisis when we graduate. We are of every race and every creed, and it is time that our male representatives caught up with our intersectional view of our own identities.
We are more than just women voters. We are voters. But we won’t be seen that way until we speak for ourselves.
It’s 2012, and women have been voting for ninety-two years. We are now 54 percent of the voting bloc, but only 24 percent of state legislators and only 16.8 percent of congress. Women of color represent only 4 percent of congress.
For most women, “equality” goes far beyond “gender equality”; but, at a basic level, we will have to work together to tackle both gender equality and equality on a broader scale.
The two of us are ready to do just that, to fight for a more inclusive representation of women so that our poor, mislead candidates can stop embarrassing themselves trying to speak for us.
We hope you all join us.
Come to the discussion tonight at USC's Davidson Conference Center at 6PM for more on Women in the Election.
Kaya Masler is the President of USC's Trojans For Obama; Madeline Lansky is the President of USC's College Republicans.
Read parts one, two and three of the series "Political Perspectives" here.