Saturday, November 11, 2006

Election Victory and Women

I am thrilled with the results of this week's election, and that we will have the first woman speaker of the House--Nancy Pelosi. However, I'm feeling a little annoyed about a couple of comments. First of all, Pelosi said (and I quote) that maybe we "need a woman to clean house." And secondly, the first thing Bush said in his press conference was that he would contact the decorator to help speaker-elect Pelosi redecorate her office and change the curtains. Umm, yeah, when are we going to stop using rhetoric (at the highest level of government, no less!) that reinforces that it is the norm for women to be at home. By no stretch of the imagination do I intend to denigrate women who stay at home or women who are concerned about the curtains in their office; in fact, I'm sure, as Pelosi seems to imply, women can garner and hone valuable skills in the home that could be a boon to their political careers. I just don't get why women who haven't been at home or have no interest in it need to somehow prove that they are a true woman, and that a true woman has connections to the home. It seems that there is a skills bias: the same skills that make men a qualified politician aren't sufficient for a woman--we need extra proof that she is competent and that's just not ok. Ultimately, women need to prove their competence along two axes, whereas men only along one.


Chelsea said...

Did you read Dowd's NYT column, "Drapes of Wrath" today? Interested to hear your response.

Grace LaVance said...

Hi, I'm from Feminist Studies @ Stanford, and I read your blog. Anyway, I thought Pelosi's comment was meant to be ironic...Abzug's old proverb, "A Woman's Place is in the House...and the Senate" still makes me happy.