Posts Tagged ‘politics’
The other day I found this post on Sociological Images about the use of breasts in political ads in Germany. The CDU party of Germany has been running this ad:
This ad features two women from the CDU party: Vera Lengsefeld (right) and Angela Merkel (left). Both women are wearing rather low cut tops/dresses. The text on the left, over the picture of Merkel, reads “We have more to offer.”
By choosing pictures of these two women in low cut tops and using the phrase “We have more to offer” (and I’m sure it was purposeful), the ad is drawing attention to these women’s breasts as their one feature to offer that is distinctive. They have more to offer because they have breasts.
It’s really interesting to me that the CDU would use these women’s breasts to an asset where as Hillary Clinton was criticized to no end for showing the slightest amoung of cleavage. Oh my god! Hillary Clinton has breasts! She is obviously not equipped to handle being president. It’s not just that breasts unqualify a person for being president, but focusing on her cleavage in news reports is a way of silencing her intelligence and qualifications for the presidency.
How do the breasts of women in politics function differently in different societies. In Germany, they are obviously viewed as an asset and a good way of differentiating these candidates because they have “more to offer.” But in the U.S., breasts are seen as a death sentence for anyone hoping for a career in politics. The U.S. does not want their leaders sexualized in any way. They are apparently just supposed to be asexual beings. Or they are supposed to be men, because it seems to be the problem is with breasts. But breasts will help the women of the CDU in Germany rise above the rest of the competition.
Today the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to endorse Judge Sonia Sotomayor with a 13 to 6 vote! All that’s left is a full Senate vote which is expected to take place by the end of next week.
Senate Judiciary Committee Endorses Sotomayor [Shakesville]
Senate panel endorses Sotomayor [Feministe]
Sotomayor Approved for Supreme Court by Senate Judiciary Committee [RH Reality Check]
Committee Approves Sotomayor Nomination [Jezebel]
Senate Judiciary Committee Votes for Sotomayor [Feministing]
Senate Panel OKs Sotomayor [Appetite for Equal Rights]
I debated about posting this video. While it is certainly newsworthy, it has been so widely reported on in the blogosphere. But, because I was completely outraged by it, I decided that I had a responsibility to myself spread it to even more people.
“Just because you eat a lot of dinner rolls doesn’t make you a role model.”
Who the hell is this guy and where does he get off claiming that Dr. Regina Benjamin is incapable of being surgeon general because she is (as he claims) obese? First of all, obese? Really? She looks perfectly fine to me. Second, being overweight does not necessarily correspond with “poor” exercise and eating habits. And since when does weight correspond with intelligence?
This is just another example of how women’s bodies are fair game for discussion in the public forum. Would a story like this make it on the news if it were a male nominee? I don’t think so. Men are judged by their intelligence where as women’s only worth is in what they look like. Women’s (plus-size) bodies are already under attack enough as it is with shows like Drop Dead Diva and More to Love. Do we really need to add into that mix attacking intelligent, qualified, strong women for the way they look?
P.S. A shirt that says “No Chubbies”?
Fatties Need Not Apply [Appetite for Equal Rights]
Is Regina Benjamin too fat to be surgeon general? [Salon: Broadsheet]
The Persuasive Fatty [Shakesville]
“No Chubbies” [Sociological Images]
Faux News: new Surgeon General nom ‘too fat’ to serve [Pam’s House Blend]
I must be honest, I haven’t been watching the Sotomayor confirmation hearings, but I have been doing my blog reading about them. From what I have been reading, it is obvious that these hearings are not being as “objective” and respectful as they claim to be.
But one of the things that really bothers me is how they are focusing on her often misquoted “wise Latina” speech (which can be read here). In this speech she talks about the importance of embracing cultural differences in reaching decisions on court cases. Women and people of color have different experiences than white men and these different experience influence their court decisions.
Many far right wing-ers think that this shows her lack of objectivity and inability to reach “fair” decisions. But I’m right there with Judge Sotomayor. Realizing how one’s experiences influence their decisions is important. For some reason, many white men think that they are the only ones who can be objective because their life experiences don’t effect them. But they do.
Everyone’s experiences effect the way they think and the way they approach an issue. White men’s privilege effects them, even if they don’t recognize it. On Feministing, Samhita says…
Session’s attempts to grill Sotomayor on this question of impartiality reveals the obvious ignorance that when white men hold partial beliefs they are natural and objective, whereas when women of color do, they are unable to effectively do the job.
When women or people of color (and especially women of color, it seems) use their experiences as a basis for their decisions they are emotional and biased, whereas white men reach the “truth” through their experiences.
I think what these men are delusional of is that there is actually something called objectivity. I don’t think objectivity exists. Maybe you can try your hardest to be objective, but your experiences will always influence you. Only people who have the privilege of not noticing their privilege (white men) would believe that their experiences don’t effect them because they can reach the “truth”.
(Note: I just want to make a comment that this is not all white men. There are many white men who work towards realizing their privilege and how their experiences effect them and the people around them. But it is usually white men who make these assumptions about objectivity and bias because these white men do not realize their privilege.)
In addition to the idea of objectivity within the hearings, the media is still attacking and misrepresenting Sotomayor. I just read a post at Shakesville about The Colbert Report last night. Normally I appreciate Colbert’s sarcasm and satire, but last night he went too far. In discussing Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing, Colbert placed Sotomayor’s head of the clip Sharon Stone from Basic Instinct where she flashes her “nethers” during an interrogation.
|The Colbert Report||Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Stephen’s Sound Advice – How to Bork a Nominee|
This unnecessarily sexualizes Sotomayor and further demeans her to the point that she is seen as in a lesser standing than men. Why can’t Sotomayor just be valued for her professional qualifications rather than focusing on her gender and race as some sort of “disability” to making effective cour
I hope that the confirmation hearings will change in tone after the first day, but I’m not so sure that they will. Conservatives will continue to focus on her experiences as a Latina as a “disability” to her ability to be a Supreme Court justice and the media will continue to make jokes about her qualifications or straight out support the conservatives treatment of her during the hearings.
Note on the cartoon:
I’m sure many of you (if not all) have seen the cartoon that I chose to include in this post. While it is straight out racist, there is some truth in it considering the first day of the hearings. Conservatives are attacking Sotomayor because she is Latina, which I assume this cartoon is trying to say. While it is racist, it does portray how conservatives and the media are treating Sotomayor. But I’m not saying that I agree with the message that the cartoon sends.
From the Huffington Post comes an article about international women calling on the G8 to “make their mothers proud” and support maternal health. Their strategy to gain awareness the day before the G8: full page advertisements in the G8 countries picturing the G8 leaders and their mothers.
The women involved in this campaign are Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Emma Thompson, Gweneth Paltrow, Yoko Ono, Wendi Murdoch, Christiane Amanpour, Annie Lennox, and JK Rowling. The Huffington Post article has some great quotes from these women about why maternal health is such an important cause.
Yoko Ono said:
“Families, communities, and whole societies, are built on the mother-child relationship. There are simple actions that G8 leaders can take to support this most vital human bond, with massive benefit across the world.”
Gwyneth Paltrow said:
“It is one of the great scandals facing our generation. While we are worrying about rising taxes, there are women dying in childbirth for the lack of a sutre-stitching kit which costs a couple of pounds. It’s simply no longer acceptable that we ignore this disgrace.”
Maternal mortality has been ignored for too long by the world’s leaders. Many countries and organizations pledge to make strides in decreasing maternal mortality, but little improvement is being seen.
In Japan in 2008 G8 leaders did pledge to fill the gap in funding for 4 million health workers. However mechanisms and funding to support this promise have not yet been developed, which has meant that since the last G8 536,000 mothers who could have lived, have died (according to WHO/UNFPA/UNICEF/World Bank)…
…Millennium Development Goal 5 is the goal to reduce maternal mortality by 75% by 2015. Yet it is the most neglected of all the MDGs, with no reduction in deaths for 20 years.
I think it is wonderful that these women are taking the initiative to urge the G8 to remedy this situation. The sad reality of the world today is that it sometimes takes a push from famous, powerful people for these kinds of issues to be addressed by governments and organizations. With the G8 Summit just around the corner, it is even more important to do whatever we can to show that maternal mortality is a big deal.