I have a piece today in my hometown paper, The Sydney Morning Herald, about the promise and peril of Hillary Clinton – or any other woman – running for President:
My grandmother turned 100 years old this May. Grandma Belle, a New Yorker born and raised, is five feet flat, and she is formidable; she does the New York Times crossword every day, she plays a mean game of Scrabble, and she brooks no nonsense from her five grandchildren, all of them women. Belle was born six years before the 19th Amendment granted American women the right to vote, and the sheer amount of American history that has unfolded in her lifetime boggles the mind.
Earlier this month, Hillary Rodham Clinton went to Iowa, which suggests that a Clinton presidential candidacy in 2016 is all but inevitable. It seems that a Clinton win is highly likely. As a feminist, I yearn for a woman to run for president, and I yearn for a woman to win. Whether or not it happens in 2016, it will happen. And it will, without question, be a watershed moment, and I will shed tears. I will think about my grandmother, born before suffrage, and about my mother, who was among the first women to benefit from the wave of inclusion that swept through the United States’ most prestigious educational institutions in the 1960s and 1970s. I will marvel at how far the US has come since my grandmother was born, and I will envy the little girls being born on that day, who will grow up having never known a world in which the US hasn’t had a female president. And then I’ll think, “oh God, here come four to eight years of virulent sexism”.
If a female president is all but inevitable, so too is the cultural backlash that will follow her campaign and her victory.
You can read the whole thing here.
I have a piece in The Age today, about Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee for Vice President. He’s a goodlooking man, but his policies are bad news for women:
“So, are you going to vote for the Republicans now?” a gentleman friend asked me last week. ”Paul Ryan’s good-looking enough to woo a woman away from Barack, don’t you think?”
Ryan, the 42-year-old congressman from Wisconsin whom Mitt Romney has chosen as his running mate, is good-looking – by politics standards, at least. In fact, if you’re an American voter who likes Mr Shuester, a fictional character from the Fox musical comedy-drama series Glee, played by Matthew Morrison, but wishes he spent a little less time singing and a little more time talking about balancing the federal budget, Ryan is the man for you. But it would make no difference to me if he looked like Ryan Gosling: no amount of handsome could impel me to vote for him.
Presumably, the Republicans are hoping that more than a few undecided straight women voters will be charmed by his youthful good looks and his much-discussed low body fat percentage. Presumably the Republicans are hoping those same voters will be distracted by his striking blue eyes and won’t notice his strikingly regressive anti-women policies.
You can read the rest here.
I have a piece today in The Age, an Australian major daily, about why American abortion politics are one American trend Australia can’t afford to follow:
Personhood amendments. Mandatory ultrasounds. Calls to make it illegal for rape and incest victims to have abortions (Governor McDonnell again). Funding cuts to Planned Parenthood, the organisation that provides low-cost cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and, yes, abortion in a country where 40 million people don’t have health insurance. Legislation that allows employers to decide whether their workers get birth control cover. This is the new political landscape around women’s health in America.
Before you start shaking your head and rolling your eyes at those puritanical Americans and their wish to control women’s bodies, you should know that personhood is for export.
You can read the rest here.