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The Akin (achin') gaffes and the many other stories of late in the War Against Women have not only put a microscope on reproductive rights for women, but raised much larger questions. "Why do women put up with misogyny?" and "Why are there so few women in office?"

In Colorado, where women hold more elected offices at the state level than in any other state (and we have some of the strongest women in the country!), our numbers are still not even 40%, in a country where women are 51% of the population. Add to that our gross under-representation on the Supreme Court, and women cannot honestly point fingers at any other country. The political arena in the United States grossly under-represents women.

I am curious what kinds of systemic issues are beneath this problem. For those women who read Daily Kos and are brave enough to answer some questions, I hope you will. Not only will your answers be interesting, they may educate some Cro-Magnons who lurk on liberal blogs (and I say that with much affection, of course).

It will be interesting to see if the women who use their own names answer differently from bloggers who identify as women, yet who blog anonymously. It will also be interesting to see if these same questions posted on women-only blogs yield similar answers to this blog site, which has a considerable mix.


Political Environment:
Do you find the political arena friendly to, or hostile to, women when it comes to debate?
When you have strong political opinions, do you share them openly and assertively, or are you afraid to do so? Why?
Have you ever been the victim of political bullying? Was the perpetrator male or female (or unknown/anonymous)?
Do you ever hold back your political opinions due to perceived intimidation by men?
Do you see the atmosphere in the political arena improving for women's equal participation, or getting worse?

Running for Office:
Have you ever thought about running for office? Why or why not?
If so, are you as aggressive as the men you know with similar education in regard to the level of office to which you aspire?

Expressing Your Political Opinions in Writing:
Do you blog? Where? Why?
Are there woman-friendly blogs and do you read them? Do you submit diaries to them? Why or why not?

Is your significant other supportive of your political interests?
Would your parents have approved of your political interests?
Your children?
Female peers?
Male peers?
Do you have other women as mentors in politics?
Who has encouraged you the most to participate in the political arena, and was it effective?

Empowering Other Women:
Have you ever had a thoughtful discussion with male counterparts in the political arena about this gender issue? Why or why not?
Have you ever mentored another woman in the political arena?

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. If you wish to send them to me privately, send them to njcronk @ Later, I intend to write about your responses, with all names and identifying information removed (unless permission to quote you by name is granted). Thank you!


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Comment Preferences

  •  Political debate can be awfully heated and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    even feel hostile sometimes, but I've never perceived that as having anything to do with being female. I do speak up and argue quite a bit. In recent years I've tried to tone it down with some female acquaintances because someone told me that women find me abrasive. Most of the friends with whom I argue about politics are men and we can have some pretty emotional arguments. As far as political bullying goes, I'm not really sure I know what that means. I don't know if things are getting better or worse. It seems much the same as ever.

    I've had a strong interest in politics since I was young, but I've known that I could never go into public life ever since I lost my virginity. At that time, I felt that women who had had sex outside of marriage could never be elected to public office. This has gotten better since then, but I'm pretty sure that someone with experiences like mine would be beyond the pale, even though they might be okay for a man. I'd in fact be a little bit afraid to ever have a high profile. I wouldn't want someone exposing my sex life. That's something that crosses my mind when incidents like the one with Sandra Fluke come up.

    This is the only place where I express my opinions online, and I don't write half, or even a quarter, of the diaries that I think of writing. Mainly, I worry that I have my facts wrong and I don't want to publish anything without checking them. I don't know if that's a self-confidence problem or not, but it frequently slows me down and results in the post seeming irrelevant by the time I'm done. The fact that Daily Kos refers to the posts as "diaries" I think may help subconsciously. It makes me feel more like what I'm writing needs to conform to my own personal standard rather than some abstract standard of professionalism.

    I read some feminist blogs from time to time, but I don't participate because they seem to be directed to women who are younger and I don't feel like someone my age would be welcomed there. Also, I disagree a lot. In person, I've been told that I argue like a man and I'm abrasive and too masculine.

    I don't have a significant other, but in the past people would have been very supportive. Even boyfriends who didn't agree with my ideas were generally very supportive of me expressing them and I think if I would have wanted to do so publicly they would have been frankly enthusiastic.

    My mother has proof-read the diaries I've posted here, so I think I could say she's supportive. My father I'm sure would have been. Generally, she's pretty supportive of most things I want to do.

    I have no children.

    My sister is very supportive and she's also given feedback on things I've posted here. However, she doesn't like it when I argue too aggressively with other people. Since we agree on most things, we don't argue much ourselves. Female friends in the past have generally encouraged me to be less ambitious.

    Male friends are highly encouraging. Frequently, they suggest things that are so ambitious they sound ridiculous to me. Really, they say such flattering things, it would be embarrassing to repeat them.

    Until a couple of years ago, I've never felt that I'd known a woman who I could call a mentor in just about any context. Those women were not involved in politics.

    No one has ever encouraged me to participate in the political arena.

    It's interesting that I argue with so many of my male friends about politics and gender issues often come up as well, but I don't think we've ever discussed why women do or don't go into politics. I'll have to bring it up next time.

    I don't think I'm in a position to mentor anyone.

  •  Quite the Question (0+ / 0-)

    Why do we put up with misogyny? Maybe because it's so ubiquitous? Is it misogyny or a feeling that men have that they are still the masters of whatever inch of earth they walk on?

    I'm going to answer and not answer your questions.

    I teach English in high school. Whenever there is a discussion, far more boys' hands go up--no, there are far more boys calling out their responses compared to the girls who are either quiet or waiting for their turns.

    I married a man who ended up being a verbal bully--only his ideas had validity. I learned that it was easier to let him have his say than deal with a discussion that, if I didn't agree with him, would end up with a verbal assault on my character and not on my point. Did I mention that I'm divorced?

    Overbearing self-confidence vs. quiet self-questioning.

    I have two daughters--I am doing my utmost for them to not back down in stating their opinions and expressing themselves.

    And in my classroom--I encourage the girls to speak up, to have confidence in their thoughts and ideas. And I encourage the boys to calm down and listen.

    I have never had a mentor, and I have always regretted that.

    Evolution is an on-going process!

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