Saturday, October 30, 2010
Please enjoy this digestible overview of important women and politics news - part of WCF's MsRepresentation project for the 2010 elections.
Sexist, Slanderous and Shameful
MsRep may not often agree with Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell on policy, but you've got to hand it to her–or technically her communication director Doug Sachtleben–for a statement decrying Gawker's "one night stand" story as sexist, slanderous and shameful. "This story is just another example of the sexism and slander that female candidates are forced to deal with," he said, via the candidate's Facebook page. "Such attacks are truly shameful, but they will not distract us from making our case to Delaware voters." We don't think she makes a strong case, but Sachtleben is right that she should be able to make it without dealing with this junk.
Attack Money Aimed at Pro-Choice Candidates
Sharon Johnson of Women's eNews reports that a lot late money during the 2010 midterms–the first cycle following the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling–is being dumped into ads attacking pro-choice candidates.
Pretty cool development out West, as reported in USA Today: New Mexico state senator Lynda Lovejoy's campaign to become the first female president of the Navajo Nation is "the closest any woman has come to heading the 300,000-member nation, which spreads across parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah."
You've Come a Long Way….Maybe?
That's the provocative theme of an essay by The Nation's Greg Mitchell, who takes us back to the mostly forgotten 1962 California gubernatorial race between Richard Nixon and Helen Gahagan Douglas. In many ways, the treatment of Douglas back then foreshadowed much of what we still see today when women run for high office.
Steinem: Real Mama Grizzlies Vote Pro-Choice
After reminding us that many conservative and/Republican politics of a bygone era–including both eventual presidents George HW Bush and Ronald Reagan–were originally pro-choice before caving to conservative pressure, Gloria Steinem drops some knowledge:
"In this country, however, right-wing opposition to sex education in public schools and to birth control as preventive health care─indeed, opposition to same-sex couples or any admission that human sexuality is not now and never has been solely about reproduction─has contributed to the highest teenage birthrate in any developed country. Indeed, 60 percent of all U.S. births are unplanned. That's twice the rate of unintended pregnancies in comparable nations."
Women Govs Govern Differently
Not much surprising here to report, but at least somebody has crunched the numbers: After examining governors' state-of-the-state speeches between 2006 and 2007, political scientist Brianne Heidbreder of Kansas State University found distinct differences in the policy agendas of male and female governors–but attributable not so much to their gender as their partisan affiliations.
State Update: NH, NV & NY
Top female politicians in New Hampshire, including Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, got together Thursday on a panel hosted by the University of New Hampshire to discuss the role of women in government; The Hill continues a theme MsRep seems to report daily: In Nevada congressional race, SEIU is hoping to pull Congresswoman Dina Titus over the finish line next Tuesday by appealing to female voters; in the New Roosevelt Institute's Bill Samuels writes that "there is one surefire way voters can help the cause–electing more women to the state legislature."
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Friday, October 29, 2010
MARCH to the polls, and vote as if women's lives depend on it -- because they do! Prove the pundits and our opponents wrong: Vote on Nov. 2, and bring along at least one other activist, friend or family member.
You've heard the buzz that women voters have given up and Democrats stand to lose this mid-term election. That will be the headlines only if we sit out this election. Pick an action, and prove them wrong:
We must defend our champions in the statehouses and halls of Congress and support new feminist candidates if we ever hope to gain equal rights for women and guarantee women's safety, economic justice and autonomy. Our opponents cannot stand the prospect of a world where women are fully equal, and we cannot stay silent as long as that world remains only a dream.
This Election Day IS a March for Women's Lives. We cannot be silent while women are beaten, raped and murdered, while women's futures are limited or denied by repressive and cruel fiscal and social policies meant to benefit the privileged.
NOW/PAC has endorsed strong candidates – candidates who will protect women's rights and work to achieve equality and justice.
Conservatives, corporate interests and Tea Party types are raising money and mobilizing like crazy. Scores of right-wing candidates with more extreme views than ever before are on the ballots. Their efforts are funded by the super-rich and big business. Decades worth of progress made by feminists on many fronts will suffer severe setbacks if ultra-conservative candidates running in this election gain power.
Republican and Tea Party candidates will continue to promote policies that favor their backers -- the richest 20 percent of Americans who own 85 percent of the wealth in the U.S. and receive nearly half of all income annually. If elected, these candidates will set about undoing policies and programs that advance equality.
The already wide gap between rich and poor will increase. The social safety net -- programs like Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare -- will be further weakened. Critical progress on important legislative priorities will be lost, including pay equity initiatives, welfare reform and fully funding the Violence Against Women Act, among many others. Educate yourself about the issues and find the candidates who will support women's rights.
Check out NOW/PAC's endorsed candidates today, and help get out the vote!
There she was, thrown to the pavement by a Republican in a checkered shirt. Another Republican thrusts his foot in between her legs and presses down with all his weight to pin her to the curb. Then a Republican leader comes over and viciously stomps on her head with his foot. You hear her glasses crunch under the pressure. Holding her head down with his foot, he applies more force so she can't move. Her skull and brain are now suffering a concussion.
The young woman's name is Lauren Valle, but she is really all of us. For come this Tuesday, the right wing -- and the wealthy who back them -- plan to take their collective boot and bring it down hard on not just the head of Barack Obama but on the heads of everyone they simply don't like.
Teachers union? The boot!
Muslim-looking people? The boot!
Thinking of retiring soon? The boot!
Living in a house you can no longer afford? The boot!
Doing a bit better with your minimum wage? The boot!
Stem cell research, the bullet train, reversing global warming? Ha! The boot for all of you!
What? You like your kids being covered by your health plan 'til they're 26? The boot for them and the boot for you!
In love with someone of your own gender? A double boot up the ass for every single one of you sick SOBs!
Hoping there's a few jobs left here in the U.S. when you graduate? How 'bout just a nice boot to your head instead?
And most importantly, the last boot is saved for the black man who probably wasn't born here, definitely isn't a Christian and possibly might be the Antichrist sent here to oversee the destruction of our very way of life. A boot to your head, Obama-devil!
Yes, one big boot is poised to stomp out whatever hopey-changey thing we might have had two years ago and secure this country in the hands of the oligarchs and the culture police.
And if they win on Tuesday, they plan to show no mercy. They will not speak of bipartisanship or olive branches or tolerate any filibuster threats. They will come in and do the job with a mandate they'll perceive the electorate will have given them. They will not fart around for two years like the Democrats did. They will not "search for compromise" or "find middle ground." They will not meet you halfway on the playing field. They know that touchdowns aren't scored at the 50-yard line. Unlike our guys, they're not stupid or spineless.
Make no mistake about it, my friends. A perfect storm has gathered of racists, homophobes, corporatists and born agains and they are on fire. Two years of a black man who secretly holds socialist beliefs being the boss of them is more than they can stomach. They've been sick to death since the night of 11/04/08 and they are ready to purge. They won't need a rope and tree this time to effect the change they seek (why bother when a nice shoe on another's skull will do just fine, thank you).
They simply need to get their base to the polls (done), convince enough people Obama is responsible for the fact they don't have a job or a secure home (done), and then hope enough of us Obama-voters are so frustrated, disappointed and downright mad at the Dems (done) that we'll either stay home Tuesday or, if we vote, we won't be carpooling with 10 others to the polls.
Done? Or not?
These Republicans mean business. Their boots are all shined and ready. But they've got one huge problem: The majority of Americans don't agree with them. The majority want the troops home. The majority want true universal health coverage. The majority want the thievery on Wall Street to be stopped. The majority believe that global warming is happening, that social security shouldn't be privatized and that unions are a good thing.
Too bad the majority party has done precious little to bring about the change for which the majority voted. Yes, change takes time. But try telling that to someone who hasn't worked in two years. Or who hears the knock of the foreclosure sheriff at the door. The booted-up minority knows how to make hay in a situation like this. All they need is us, the disappointed, dismayed, disgusted us.
What say you? Stay home and punish the weak-kneed, sell-out Democrats? Or spend every free moment you have between now and Tuesday trying to protect what little progress has been made so we can live to fight another day (even if it is with "allies" like a Democratic Party that will more than likely still not get the message of what they need to do -- and has, in fact, spent much of the past two years giving progressives the boot)? Perhaps our job, post-election, is to provide a gentle but swift boot in the bee-hind of the party whose mascot is an ass.
Right now, we've got 112 hours. Seems like enough.
P.S. I'll be on The Rachel Maddow Show tonight! Be sure to tune in to MSNBC at 9:00pm ET/PT.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED IN WESTCHESTER to help get-out-the-vote for Amy Paulin in this tough re-election battle.
Sunday Oct. 31
Monday Nov. 1
Tuesday Nov. 2
1. Go to the NOW-NYS web site (http://www.nownys.org/) and click on the "PAC" link. There you will see a link to donate to the NOW-NYS PAC. If you want your donation to go directly to Amy Paulin, send us a note in the "message box" in the donation form. OR
2. Write a check to NOW-NYS PAC and let us know you want your donation to go to Amy Paulin's campaign. Send checks to NOW-NYS PAC, 1500 Central Avenue, Albany, NY 12205.
To volunteer for Amy's campaign, click on this link. http://www.amypaulin.com/
Marcia Pappas, President of NOW-NYS PAC
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116
NOW to Media: Stop Reducing Women Candidates to Sex Objects
Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill
October 28, 2010
Sexist, misogynist attacks against women have no place in the electoral process, regardless of a particular candidate's political ideology.
Today the tabloid website Gawker published an anonymous piece titled "I Had A One-Night Stand With Christine O'Donnell" that takes the routine sexual degradation of women candidates to a disgusting new low. NOW repudiates Gawker's decision to run this piece. It operates as public sexual harassment. And like all sexual harassment, it targets not only O'Donnell, but all women contemplating stepping into the public sphere.
NOW/PAC has proudly endorsed women's rights champion Chris Coons, O'Donnell's opponent in the Delaware Senate race, and finds O'Donnell's political positions dangerous for women. That does not mean it's acceptable to use slut-shaming against her, or any woman.
NOW has repeatedly called out misogyny against women candidates, and this election season is no different. Let me be honest: I look forward to seeing Christine O'Donnell defeated at the polls, but this kind of sexist attack is an affront to all women, and I won't stand for it.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Spark Virtual Summit
Hunter College, NYC
The Sexualization of Girls In The Media
October 22, 2010
Over 300 people attended the summit at Hunter College with 200 participating via the internet from all over the U.S. and from a few other countries. The purpose was to ignite an intergenerational social movement to support girls’ rights to healthy sexuality and overall well-being.
Opening remarks were made by Hunter College President Jennifer Raab. Hunter College was founded in 1870 as a women’s college; today 70% of its students are women. Funders of the summit were Atlantic Philanthropies, Ford Foundation, Novo Foundation, Ms. Foundation, the Women’s Foundation of California, and New York Women’s Foundation.
President Raab noted that girls now spend 7.5 hours per day on media, largely TV and computers. The media’s message is that self-improvement for females means changing their bodies, not expanding their minds.
Among the organizations and institutions represented in the virtual audience were NOW, National Women’s Studies Association, Chatham College for Women, Spelman College, ISIS, Gender Across Borders, and RhRealityCheck.org.
The MC of the event was Amber Madison, a prominent sex educator who frequently appears on MTV. In her introduction, she reflected that every form of media sexualizes women and girls and the messages start earlier than ever before. Padded bras and bikini bottoms are marketed for little girls. Pole dancing is offered to tweens. The media’s sexualization of girls and women pits them against each other. The participants in the summit, she asserted, are not anti-sex, they are anti-exploitation. We must teach girls to be smart, to know what feels good and what doesn’t, to have an opinion, and to disrupt the media; in short, we must “take sexy back.” The summit will be Day 1 of a movement that works through a coalition of feminist activists, educators, organizations and institutions to stop the sexualization of girls and women.
Jean Killbourne of Wellesley
Jean Killbourne of Wellesley followed with an overview of her research on women and advertising that began in the 1960s, most famously with her films “Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women.” The inescapable conclusion is that objectification of women sets them up for violence. Advertising sells both images and values. The message to women is pure and simple: physical perfection must be their ideal. She discussed the sexualization of little girls, observing that thongs, which are really G strings, are sold for 7 year-olds, high heels are sold for babies and women are made to believe they must remove their pubic hair for the titillation of men. Conversely, t-shirts for baby boys are sold that read: “Pimp Squad.”
Most significantly, Killbourne noted that the U.S. is the only developed nation in the world that does not teach sex education in schools and it holds the other dubious distinction of having the highest rates of teen pregnancies and STIs in the developed world.
“Being hot” is the most important measure of success for girls and women. In 2007, the American Psychological Association issued a report that found that the sexualization of girls and women produces depression, eating disorders and low self-esteem. The media has led and “fed” females’ obsession with thinness. There must be a shift from women as consumers to women as citizens. The tyranny of the ideal image of beauty has gotten worse over time but on the positive side, it is finally being recognized as a major public health problem.
Geena Davis Keynote
Geena Davis gave the keynote; the actress founded the Institute on Gender in Media. She relayed the story of her evolution and said that she improved her self-image through sports. Then when she starred with Susan Sarandon in “Thelma and Louise,” her life was transformed; the experience brought home to her how powerfully the media reduces women to passivity and sexual objects. She started noticing how few girl characters there were in children’s TV shows and movies. There is a 1 to 3 ratio in movies and TV shows of female to male characters and this imbalance has not improved since 1946! Her Institute conducted a study of G and R rated movies and found that females wear the same amount of revealing clothing in G movies as in R movies. The waists of female characters in animated films are so small that they couldn’t exist in reality. The cultural message of the media is that women and girls are far less important than men and boys. Women are either sidelined, absent or hypersexualized.
Children now watch more hours of TV than anything other than sleeping. The more exposure to media, the more boys become sexist and the more girls develop views of limited options in life. Geena advised the audience to start counting the number of female characters in movies they see to increase their awareness of the situation. By the time a girl is a teenager, she will have been exposed to 500,000 ads telling her how she should look.
Geena Davis’ website is http://www.seejane.org/.
Lessons from the Field
The next session featured a panel discussion that began with a presentation on “Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls,” a summer camp that teaches girls about self-empowerment, that gender is a performance and instructs them not just to write songs about guys and relationships. The first such camp was held in 2001 in Portland, Oregon and now there are approximately 25 rock camps for girls around the world. Discussion centered around whether it’s possible to teach boys to be feminists and the speaker expressed how shocked she was by the many, many girls who told her that they had been sexually abused. The camp website is www.williemaerockcamp.org.
The next speaker was Asha Jennings who opened with a perfectly appropriate quote from Harriet Tubman: “I would have freed more people had they known they were slaves.” In this instance, rather than African-American slaves, the appropriate target is women. She discussed how revolted she was as a student when flyers for parties on campus featured half-naked women. She went on to discuss how BET, owned by Viacom, became a soft-porn channel, culminating in the Nelly music video where naked women were fondled and he swiped a credit card through a woman’s butt. A student at Spelman College at the time, she attempted to get Nelly to come to campus to educate him about how this gross sexual exploitation/commodification of women affects young girls but he defiantly refused. Asha took her fight to Viacom’s board meeting where she confronted Chair Sumner Redstone who patronizingly said: “We give money to AIDS projects.” She received death threats for her activism but she also received support. The misogyny of hip hop must be confronted. Ms. Jennings ended by saying girls must be challenged to demand different images of females. “The media is raising our kids.”
The third speaker was Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Senior Editor of Feministing, founded in 2004, as a young, fresh, honest outlet for expression and for riot grrrl music. Samhita spoke about the need for diversity in this movement to end the media’s sexualization of girls. There are so many disenfranchised communities (e.g., transgendered, disability, etc.) that are voiceless in the mainstream media so the internet is their only space to be heard and express themselves. There needs to be speakers and videos on this subject for presentations at middle and high schools. Kids should read hip hop lyrics out loud in class to hear just how misogynistic they are without the cover of music. Offensive images should be blown up and hung on classroom walls. On campuses, women who speak out on this are often shunned and branded “anti-fun.” Young women need to learn how to write op-eds and make films. Some positive examples are the Girl Scouts curriculum “Putting the Me in Media,” the film “A Girl Like Me,” made by 16 year-old Byron Hurt, Dove ads, New Moon Girls, and the “Killing Us Softly” films; 4 versions of them have been made to date. Samhita ended with a call to action: she challenged the audience to write to the celebrities who participate in the sexualization of women and girls, explain how it impacts girls and women, and demand that they stop. She cited an egregious photo shoot of cast members of “Glee” in GQ which can be found at www.gq.com/entertainment/movies-and-tv/201011/glee-photos-rachel-quinn-finn-slide=1.
Plenary - Numbers Don’t Lie: Research
The research presentations began with Monique Ward of the University of Michigan who discussed the sexualization of women in music videos in which women self-sexualize. There is a widespread perception that women have a choice of whether or not to participate in their sexual objectification. A study conducted from 2006 through 2010 of 186 music videos found that there are 4 common characteristics of these videos: 1. Women dance provocatively, 2. Women pose for male spectators, 3. There are close-ups of a woman’s sexual body part and 4. Women are provocatively dressed, usually as either dominatrixes or seductive school girls. 92.8% of the videos studied contained at least one of these characteristics. African-American women are almost twice as likely to be dressed provocatively as white women. The music genres studied were pop, country, and R&B/hip hop. The paradox of these videos is that while the women often project power, their role is to exist as a sex object. The lyrics of the music contain rhetoric of male ownership of women. The study concluded that these videos increase men’s acceptance of violence against women as well as of sexual harassment. A typical example is Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body” music video in which a woman sexualizes herself in front of him until he violently rips off her panty hose. The message couldn’t be more obvious: women ask for rape, sexual assault and violence because they sexualize themselves.
The second presentation was on video games and how ads for them reflect cultural norms and values. In a study of ads for video games, it was found that the target audience is 82% white and 80% male. Women portrayed in video game ads are submissive, sexualized, scantily clad, are the subject of the male gaze, and victimized; the victimization of women is through sexualized violence. Sexualized heroines of video games, most particularly Angelina Jolie in the Tomb Rader series, translates into stereotyping of women as less intelligent and more emotional, activates gender bias, expectations and treatment of women as inferior. In essence, the sexualization of women heroines in both video games and movies has the effect of disempowering women.
The third presenter was Stacy Smith from the Annenberg School at USC who discussed a study of the top-grossing films from 2006-09 that analyzed speaking characters in non-R rated movies. Among adults, 29% were women and among teens, females constituted 44% of the speaking roles; however, all of the teen girls were hypersexualized and presented as “eye candy.” The study concluded that the sexualization of females is the same whether they are teens or adults.
Elizabeth Daniels of the University of Oregon conducted a study on media images of female athletes and female responses to them. When presented with images of women athletes where they are hypersexualized, the women viewing them felt very negatively about themselves, expressing such feelings as “I’m ugly or I’m not worth looking at.” In contrast, when women and girls were presented with images of women athletes depicted as athletes (rather than sexual objects), the female viewers felt empowered. Studies have also found that exposure to sexualized images of women sends the message that men make better leaders.
Aurora Sherman of Oregon State University conducted a study on playing with Barbie dolls that included 32 girls between the ages of 4 and 7. She found that playing with Barbie dolls diminishes girls’ career expectations. The dolls possess impossible bodies with very large breasts, tiny waists, and deformed feet for high heels even when the dolls are “professionalized” such as “Dr. Barbie.” In the U.S., the average girl owns 8 Barbie dolls. The girls also felt that boys were freer to have any occupation. In contrast, when girls were given Mrs. Potato Head dolls to play with, there was only a trivial difference in the career choices they felt they had.
Rebecca Bigler of the University of Texas at Austin discussed the costs of the sexualization of girls and women. She cited girls starting to wear make-up at younger and younger ages, and epidemic levels of plastic surgery. As illustration, in 2002, 4,000 women had breast implants and in just one year, the number increased to 11,000 in 2003. By age 10, girls are already developing a sexualized identity; this phenomenon crosses all racial and ethnic boundaries. Studies have demonstrated a direct relationship between females who are highly self-sexualized and academic achievement as well as self-esteem. Ms. Bigler conducted a study of 200 middle school girls between the ages of 11 and 14. The girls who were highly self-sexualized had lower grades across the board and scored significantly lower on tests. They also had lower self-esteem and body satisfaction. These girls invest much more time and energy in their sexualization. On the other side of the coin, when girls are doing poorly academically, they turn to a sexualized identity for feelings of self-worth. Both of these phenomena operate in a vicious cycle and the process becomes self-reinforcing.
Young Women Activists Panel
The panelists discussed how violence against women is linked to sexism and the issue of sexual consent in relationships. They also discussed the increasingly younger ages at which girls become sexualized, citing 6th graders who wear thongs. Melissa Campbell, who works on media literacy in San Francisco, explained that when she was a college student, her friends were against gender discrimination in employment, education, etc., but were completely comfortable with the hypersexualization of women. The panel also discussed the enormous power of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs and that they can be great tools for sharing information.
In response to the pervasiveness of women’s hypersexualization, the panelists agreed that women aren’t allowed to be angry about it. They concluded that you can’t be sex-positive with sexualization because positive sex is about being a whole person, not an object for someone else’s gratification.
Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs asserted that every movement needs a manifesto and an ideology. She spoke about ageism in the feminist movement where young women assume that older women don’t use social networks while in fact, many high school students aren’t on Twitter. In addition to ageism in the movement, ways must be devised to engage immigrant women in the movement. The latter involves sex slavery trafficking in many instances in which women are sexualized against their will. She challenged the participants to go home and have a conversation about the media’s sexualization of girls and women with someone unlike themselves to reveal how all females are impacted by it. Gumbs cited a statistic that only 10 to 15% of world media coverage is on women’s issues. REFUSE TO BE SILENT!
The summit ended with a call to join the campaign to stop the sale of sexualized costumes for little girls. Everyone was asked to text Petition *61827 being sent to buycostume.com. At the conclusion, single word messages were flashed on the screen such as “blogged, challenged, created, protested, questioned, spoke-out, energized, friended, ignited, inspired, and transformed.” All stood and pledged to not let the market define sexy and to support girls and women everywhere to stop the media’s sexualization of females. A rousing chorus of “We will spark!” ended the day-long summit.
Report by Kathy Sloan
From Greater NYC for Change:
With just five days left until election day, both PA-SEN (Sestak v. Toomey) and NY-19 (Hall v. Hayworth) have turned into absolute nail-biters. Now these races, once considered long-shots, hinge on the grassroots get-out-the-vote efforts that support each candidate. We think this bodes well for the good guys; after all, it's what we do best.
We think the pundits are in for a surprise come Election Day. Let's make it happen together!
Can't go to the Rally for Sanity? Watch it with us!
McGee's Bar, 240 West 55th Street (map), 3rd floor, 10 AM - 5 PM.
Drink & party with us in costume! We'll also be showing Jon Stewart's Rally for Sanity on tv. Prizes for the best costume & top callers! Come anytime. We will be calling for John Hall, Tim Bishop and other Members of Congress who are running against the Tea Party. RSVP today on Facebook, MyBo, or to firstname.lastname@example.org
Can you help these campaigns reach their supporters by Election Day?
Help John Hall
Help Joe Sestak
Help Tim Bishop
Friday, October 29th
6 - 9pm One Lexington Ave at 22nd St.
Saturday, October 30th
10am – 5pm Mega Phone Bank at McGee's Bar & Grill 240 West 55th St.
Monday, November 1
10am - 9pm OFA HQ, 25 East 21st Street - 4th floor
6:30 - 9pm 853 7th Ave, Apt. #8D near 55th Street
6 – 9pm Phonebank for Sestak's Senate campaign in Pennsylvania. 80 8th Avenue, Suite 1802, entrance on 14th Street. RSVP to email@example.com
Tuesday, November 2
9am - 9pm, OFA HQ, 25 East 21st Street - 4th floor
10am - 9pm, Park Plaza Restaurant (Brooklyn), 220 Cadman Plaza West
This is just a sampling. There are many more phonebanks! To find one near you, go to www.mybarackobama.com.
During the day, there are phonebanks & data entry events at the OFA office, 25 East 21st St. 4th Floor. RSVP to DoehringK@dnc.org.
The three of us, as leaders of different organizations, don't normally write you together, but something has happened that affects all of us as progressives and all women in this country.
Monday night outside a senatorial debate in Kentucky, 23-year-old Lauren Valle was trying to get a picture with Rand Paul and her satirical sign when she was thrown to the ground by a group of men and, while she was pinned to the ground, one of the men intentionally stomped on her head. Video caught the whole thing. Lauren was left with a concussion.1
While what happened to Lauren has happened to too many political protesters recently, what came next is an affront — and feels chillingly familiar — to us, as women. The Paul campaign worker who stomped on Lauren's head demanded she apologize, saying "she instigated it!"2
The Tea Party has shown it wants to return us to a time when overt racism is considered acceptable civil discourse. And if women get hurt, well they must have done something to deserve it. This stops here and now.
Join us in telling Rand Paul and the Tea Party: "If you stomp on me, 1,000 more will take my place" by uploading a picture of yourself holding a sign saying "You can't stomp on me." Click here to upload your picture or just add your name:
By uploading your picture, you can show that your voice will not be silenced even in the face of intimidating and thuggish behavior. We'll put all the photos in one public place as a statement of solidarity with Lauren and a promise to keep speaking out.
Think about a woman you love — a daughter, a friend, your mother — and picture her being attacked in this way. Picture yourself being attacked. If we don't stop this now, who will?
The man who attacked Lauren was Rand Paul's county campaign chair at the time.3 But Paul's initial reaction to the videotaped assault was to say, "There was a crowd control problem."4
Then finally when pressed to address the violence he issued a statement that read: "Whatever the perceived provocation, any level of aggression or violence is deplorable, and will not be tolerated by our campaign."5
Rand Paul has thus far refused to apologize directly to the victim or condemn his supporters who are literally blaming her and smearing her character in an attempt to distract attention from the most salient fact — a group of men had Valle pinned down and one of the men intentionally stomped on her head.
Violence has been far too prevalent this entire election season, with both men and women getting roughed up by right-wing thugs. But when three men gang up on one woman and then one claims she asked for it, well, that's a whole other class of hatred that we have to call out.
As women, writing the e-mail, we won't stand for it. And we know many men reading this agree. We all have the right to protest in public places. And we all have not only the right but the duty to go squarely after those who dare to say we deserve it when cowardly thugs attack us for standing up for what we believe. And mostly, we all across this country need to say this is outrageous, and we're not going to let them get away with this.
— Becky Bond, Ilyse Hogue, Stephanie Taylor, and the entire teams of CREDO, MoveOn.org, and Progressive Change Campaign Committee
1. "Rand Paul Supporter Stomps on MoveOn Member's Head," The Huffington Post, October 25, 2010 http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6406&id=12100-729059-Km0JTxx&t=10
2. "Kentucky Stomper Wants An Apology From Woman He Assaulted" Talking Points Memo, October 26, 2010 http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6407&id=12100-729059-Km0JTxx&t=11
3. "Rand Paul coordinator Tim Profitt admits to stepping on woman from MoveOn.org before Kentucky debate," Los Angeles Times, October 26, 2010 http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6408&id=12100-729059-Km0JTxx&t=12
4. "Rand Paul Calls Stomping Outside Debate A 'Crowd Control Issue'," Politics Daily, October 26, 2010 http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6409&id=12100-729059-Km0JTxx&t=13
5. "Rand Paul supporter booted from campaign after altercation with woman," The Courier-Journal, October 26, 2010 http://act.credoaction.com/r/?r=6410&id=12100-729059-Km0JTxx&t=14
Please enjoy this digestible overview of important women and politics news - part of WCF's MsRepresentation project for the 2010 elections.
Are politicos overusing the phrase "Year of the Woman?" Is the talk of record-breaking numbers of women running correct? Well, sort of. CAWP reports that a record number of women filed for office this year—a total of 324 between U.S. Senate, House, and Governor. However, only a marginally record-breaking number actually won their primaries:162 this year, compared with 161 in 2004. (163 if you count Sen. Murkowski's write-in campaign in AK). CNN's Kristi Keck pontificates on women candidates versus women voters' enthusiasm.
On last night's much-anticipated Daily Show interview with Barack Obama, the President gave very few plugs for specific candidates, but did give a shout-out to Rep. Betsy Markey, running for re-election in CO-04. We cheered, just a little. (OK, maybe a lot).
Yep, mission complete…or mission never needed, according to KY-03 candidate Todd Lally. Jodi gives Lally the lowdown on gender discrimination.
ElectWomen Magazine reports on Forbes' list of Top 25 most influential women during the midterm cycle. FYI, Mama Grizzly Palin is ranked 1st, First Lady Michelle Obama 2nd, the House Speaker 3rd, followed by California's Meg Whitman and Fiorina. Check out the rest here. But will the #1 most influential woman ask Glenn Beck to take it down a notch, as requested by Media Matters?
Proving Ginni Thomas has nothing on him, Rand Paul supporter Tim Profitt said he thinks he should get an apology from the female protester whose head he stepped on Monday night. (Now women getting involved with politics have to worry about violence?) In a related development, Paul has reversed field, saying that he will not return Profitt's contribution to the campaign. Words fail MsRep.
Unmarried women—the single ladies—are at last starting to engage this cycle, The Hill reports.
During the Women's Conference, the venerable ABC Newsbroadcaster Diane Sawyer sat down with former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and current Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg to discuss their experiences on the Supreme Court. Best quote? When asked how many women on the Bench would be the right number, Ginsburg responded, with a smile: "Nine. There've been nine men there for a long time, right? So why not nine women?"
The New York Times'Jim Rutenberg and Megan Thee-Brenan roll out a major article this morningabout a poll that shows certain groups disaffected with—and defecting from—President Barack Obama's 2008 coalition, including women.
Lots of developments in that wacky Alasky Senate race. After a lower court ruled that voters could not see a list of write-in candidates—which includes incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski—the Alaska Supreme Court disagreed, and overruled the decision. This is good news for Murkowski, who is now targeting the Democratic opponent in her ads, as her Tea Party defeater seems to be self-destructing.
Talk about a hardware problem: Heirs to the Hewlett-Packard fortune say California Senate challenger Carly Fiorina will let voters down, "just as she did the employees and shareholders of HP."
In Missouri, Roy Blunt is trying to run out the clock on Robin Carnahan, which means trying appear in public as little as possible and not engage the media. Actually, not a bad idea given how he lost his cool when a reporter dared to ask about Blunt's growing undocumented worker scandal.
Proving that money ain't everything, WCF-endorsed incumbent Democrat Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota has moved into the lead, 45 percent to 42 percent, over her Republican challenger Kristi Noem—despite being outspent by a mile in this key race.
ElectWomen Mag also has a nice profile of grandmother-inspired Ohio Lt. Governor candidate, and Ted Strickland's running mate, Yvette McGee Brown. Oh, and she gives a darn good motivational campaign speech. Take a look:
"Sex, Violence and Exploitation of Women"
No, that's not the title of a new Steven Soderbergh film. It's a line from a Planned Parenthood mailer chastising Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon for profiting on WWE's misogynistic depictionsof women. "Linda McMahon is an out-of-touch millionaire who made her fortune from sex, violence, and exploitation of women," the PPFA flyer reads.
That's today's Daily Brief. MsRep thanks you for checking in! Make sure to sign up to receive MsRepresentation's Daily Brief via email, and tell your friends!
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010
NOW-NYC Rally to TAKE RAPE SERIOUSLY
Secure Justice for 3 Teen Girls
Tuesday, November 9th, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
111 Centre Street, NYC (between Leonard & White; 6, Q, N, R, J, Z to Canal St.)
There couldn't be a more important way to spend your lunch hour! Please get this on your calendar and carve out a few extra minutes of your day to stand strong against violence that targets women and girls. Let us know if you plan to attend!
WHY THIS RALLY IS IMPORTANT:
NOW-NYC and anti-violence advocates from across the city are joining forces to ask Justice Cassandra Mullen to give convicted rapist, Tony Simmons, a sentence with jail time. Recently, the Manhattan Supreme Court Justice proposed a sentence of ten years probation with absolutely no jail time for a court-appointed juvenile counselor--Tony Simmons--who pled guilty to raping one girl and sexually assaulting two others that he was transporting to Manhattan Family Court.
In one of the instances, the assailant brought a 15-year-old girl entrusted to his custody down to the basement of the court building to rape her. Just moments after the attack he escorted her to her scheduled court appearance. If Simmons, convicted of sexually assaulting three teen girls can get off without any jail time, what does that mean for women victims of rape across the city? We need to send a message to Justice Mullen, law enforcement, our leaders, and our community to Take Rape Seriously!
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1) Join our rally and press conference on Tuesday, November 9th at 12:30 - help us send a strong and cohesive message! We'll have signs available, or you can bring your own. Our key messages are:
(a) Take Rape Seriously (b) NO Getting Away With Rape (c) Simmons Should Serve
2) Sign Our Petition NOW to Justice Cassandra Mullen to demand jail time for this violent offender and justice for the victims. We will present our petition to Justice Mullen after the rally. We have collected more than 2700 signatures, but we need more to send the most powerful message as possible.
3) Get more signers on this petition! Send out the link to the petition widely-forward to friends, bloggers, and post on Facebook and Twitter. The more signatures we get, the bigger our impact could be. URL: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/now-nyc_justiceforassaultvictims/
More info: Get the full story here along with news links and updates!
Phone Bank to Elect Pro-Choice Leaders
Monday, Nov. 1, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm | NOW-NYC @ 150 W. 28 St.
Help us get out the vote on election day!
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Call: 212.627.9895 | Let us know you can make it!
This election, New York is facing some of the most extreme anti-choice candidates we've seen in decades.
From Carl Paladi-NO on down the ticket to "Deceptive" Dan Donovan and "Always Anti-choice" Joe DioGuardi, each and every member of the Republican statewide slate supports dangerous limits on a woman's right to choose.
To let you know where the candidates on the November 2 ballot stand on reproductive health and rights, NARAL Pro-Choice New York has launched our 2010 Voter Guide. Use our handy search tool to find out who is running in your district, where they stand on choice, and see NARAL Pro-Choice New York's endorsements in races across the state.
You can also make pro-choice political change by joining us to make phone calls to educate New Yorkers about pro-choice candidates or volunteering for a campaign in your area! Check out our calendar of events or take a look at the Voter Guide to contact a pro-choice campaign in your area directly to get involved.
Your support, activism, and voting power are needed to ensure that New York upholds its long pro-woman, pro-choice legacy and stands up for the progressive values we have always held dear.
Please enjoy this digestible overview of important women and politics news - part of WCF's MsRepresentation project for the 2010 elections.
In an exclusive conference call, Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Rosa DeLauro talk about the vital issues facing women this election year. Pelosi summed it up perfectly when saying, "It is impossible to exaggerate what's at stake for women in this election." Jill Miller Zimon has the details.
In a recent CNN poll, 23 percent of women polled described themselves as "extremely enthusiastic" about voting in the upcoming elections, compared with 38 percent of men. Sara Gould and Susan Wefald examine this enthusiasm gender gap, especially considering the record-breaking number of women running for office this year.
Candidate for OK Governor Mary Fallin (R), says yes. But mom, writer, and politico Jodi Jacobson thinks otherwise - and points out the oddity of this debate, since motherhood has historically been used against women.
Politics Daily's Melinda Hennenberger interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who relishes the fact that her critics are attacking her, saying it only proves she is formidable and effective. Best Pelosi quote: "You didn't come here to be in a popularity contest, you came here to get a job done. If I were not effective they wouldn't care about me."
Syndicated columnist Mary Sanchez expresses her frustration over the visibility of candidates like Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle: "As a woman, I'm embarrassed. This is not what women suffragists envisioned a century ago. Frankly, we women haven't come far enough politically to have flakes soaking up our share of the political limelight."
With many Democratic female incumbents facing a dead heat in the polls, many of their peers are campaigning alongside them. Jessica Brady of CQ reports: "Given that Pelosi made history just three years ago by becoming the first female Speaker, [Rep. Jan] Schakowsky said the desire among female Members to help their colleagues this year feels even more urgent."
No, says the Los Angeles Times–or at least not for women voters in California, where three of the four major party nominees in the governor's and US Senate race are women. Key quote: "All told, the results of both surveys confirmed that ideology, not gender, is directing the vote in this tumultuous campaign season."
Missouri Sen. Candidate Robin Carnahan cites 5 reasons she is closing the gap in Missouri by appealing across party lines, including her opposition to earmarks and accountability for banks who took bailout monies. Non-Dems talk about why they support her on Republicans for Carnahan.
WCF-endorsed Oklahoma state legislative candidate Brittany Novotny is featured in a New York Times piece on transgender candidates who are bravely shaking things up in the 2010 cycle.
As MsRep has said before, political equality will not be achieved just by having more women run for, and win, elected office: Women must also be chosen for key appointed offices, hired as top staffers in political offices and on campaigns, and win contracts as political consultants. Unfortunately, as the NYTimes reports, the NY gubernatorial race between Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino features very few women involved at the highest levels of either campaign.
According to Big Think, the U.S. ranks 16th globally on the socioeconomic gender gap.
…just keep in mind that the 2012 Project, co-sponsored by the Center for American Women in Politics, already has its sights set on the next presidential cycle and making sure women–particularly those age 45 and over–are properly encouraged to run for elected office. Women's eNews' Colleen Flaherty has the details.
Thanks for reading today's Brief! MsRepresentation says follow WCF on Twitter, @WCFonline, to get even more breaking women and politics news.
Make sure to sign up to receive the Daily Brief by email if you haven't already—and tell your friends, too.
Have a hot news tip about women and politics? Email us at tipforMsRepresentation@gmail.com.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Final Countdown: One Week Left In
It's working! In the last two weeks, scores of NOW volunteers all across the nation have "adopted a campaign." They have been calling lists of NOW members in key election states and encouraging them to give an extra push to ensure victory for NOW/PAC-endorsed candidates Lois Herr, Joe Sestak, Loretta Sanchez and Barbara Boxer.
Because feminist activists never give up, NOW/PAC is organizing one final push. We can't let our feminist candidates down as they head to the finish line. We need two dozen more callers to finish this effort, so let's roll up our sleeves one last time before the election.
Our pick for NOW/PAC's final campaign is the Senate race in North Carolina. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, a longtime champion for women's rights, is challenging conservative Republican incumbent Richard Burr. She hopes to derail his promises to repeal health reform and put an end to his consistent anti-choice voting record. Elaine can win, and NOW/PAC is determined to see that happen. When Elaine recently began her advertising campaign, she jumped up six points in the polls! Momentum is on her side as she closes the gap with Burr to a surmountable margin.
Elaine has been a feminist activist for decades. Prior to entering politics at mid-life, as many women do, she was a schoolteacher, small business owner and attorney. She represented women who were victims of domestic violence and fought for insurance coverage for mammograms and pap smears. In 1993-1994, Elaine served in the North Carolina Senate, where she provided a powerful voice for improving healthcare. In 1996 Elaine was elected Secretary of State, the first woman elected to executive statewide office in her state.
Don't live in North Carolina? No problem. If the races in your state aren't even close, you can adopt Elaine Marshall from the comfort of your home by making phone calls or donating money. And if you do live in or near North Carolina, you can go to a local campaign office and help with phone banking and door knocking.
If you're ready to give a voice to our feminist principles, volunteer for the NOW/PAC to make phone calls. Send your name and contact information (including the city and state where you live) to our NOW/PAC volunteer at email@example.com, and you'll be sent a list to call for Elaine Marshall.
Thanks for helping to send women's rights champions to Capitol Hill! Your calls will make a difference, and we'll wake up on Nov. 3 knowing we gave our best effort!
Friday, October 22, 2010