A couple of days back, in the midst of an argument about something else, I started griping about a piece I’d read somewhere by a feminist of the “men and women are just alike and don’t you dare say otherwise” variety (there are all sorts of feminism, and that is but one type), suggesting that there’s nothing to the idea that male politicians are inherently more likely to engage in sexual misbehavior than are female politicians.
I begged to differ, citing my oft-asserted belief that, in general, women are more likely than men to be actual grownups. To elaborate:
You know me; I hate Identity Politics. I don’t care whether our legislative bodies are all male, or all female, or all white or all black, as long as we get the best candidates (which we don’t, but don’t stop me; I’m on a roll). I’m not for electing women qua women. But there’s a side benefit apart from the IP one: Elect more women, you get more grownups.
Yes there are exceptions. And we could have a debate, if you’d like, about whether the problem with Nikki Haley is that she “governs like a guy.” But in general, the principle holds….
Well, I’m not the only one thinking that way. The Southern Institute for Women in Politics is pushing the same line:
Retrospective on scandal
Lessons learned from the likes of Anthony Weiner
Comedians will regret the loss of great material provided by Anthony Weiner’s denial and later admission of lewd electronic behavior. Weiner’s Congressional colleagues will be relieved by his resignation so they can return to business. But Weiner’s sad tale of self-destructive and testosterone-induced behavior is just one in a growing list of elected men (of both political parties) that tells a bigger story to tell: In 2011, U.S. politics is still a boys’ club.
When we’re all finished clucking our collective tongues, we need to get focused and recognize that this is a call to action for women – including women in South Carolina.
Research points to a substantial gender gap in the way women and men approach running for office. Women have different reasons for running, are more reluctant to do so and, because there are so few of them in politics, are acutely aware of the scrutiny they draw – all of which seems to lead to differences in the way they handle their jobs once elected.
“The shorthand of it is that women run for office to do something, and men run for office to be somebody,” said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. “Women run because there is some public issue that they care about, some change they want to make, some issue that is a priority for them, and men tend to run for office because they see this as a career path.”
So, it’s time for more of us to step up to the plate.
Not everyone needs to be a candidate, but all women need to be more informed, more involved, in politics at every level. At a minimum, we need to vote – cast a ballot for everything from who runs our children’s schools to who sets the tax rate for our towns – have a say in who gets to make these decisions that affect our lives.
We desperately need good women to run for office. We can’t win the game unless you play, so come on ladies, let’s get moving.
How you can help clean the political house:
- Become an advocate and tell us about women who should run for office
- Attend a training session to become informed – or send someone else for the same reason
- Run for office
- Support the mission financially
So, friends, let’s learn some lessons from Anthony Weiner (and Elliott Spitzer, Mark Sanford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc., etc., etc.) and make 2012 the year we run and elect more women to office in South Carolina than ever before.
Read news that directs our lessons
How about Dan Adams’ new book?
Man Down: Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt That Women Are Better Cops, Drivers, Gamblers, Spies, World Leaders, Beer Tasters, Hedge Fund Managers, and Just About Everything Else. Read more>>
Welcome to the team, girls. I mean, ladies. I mean — aw, I’d never make a good feminist anyway…
And I take exception to the beer taster thing.