For women who are politically minded, it's been one hell of a week. For feminists the word "hell" is the only apropos metaphor for what we've been subjected to.
It began with Ann Romney's shockingly Miss America-esque routine at the Republican National Convention last week in Florida, which one can only suspect was co-written by Sarah Palin.
Covering her mouth like a beauty pageant contestant when the crowd cheered for her, Romney then followed up her aging ingenue routine with a cheery "I've been all over this country and I know a lot of you guys" as she flailed out an arm and finger to the masses cloying at her feet. Then, as opposed to giving the crowd anything of note, Ann proceeded to share a lengthy tale about waiting for Mitt to get home from his mission for his church, and how they were married within a few weeks after his return, and some incredibly offensive pandering to feminists. The pundits may have adored the delightful faux blonde, but feminists everywhere cringed.
To add insult to injury, POTUS candidate Mitt Romney took the stage and proudly stated "And as America saw Tuesday night, Ann would have succeeded at anything she wanted to."
"Would have succeeded." I kid you not. In my opinion Mitt Romney is saying Ann "would have been successful" but she chose instead to have a lot of babies and devote her life to her church. Ann Romney has a BA in French from Brigham Young University, the post secondary institution known for handing out MRS degrees to young women while they wait for their Mormon missionary boyfriends to return from abroad.
Ann is a member of a church that believes polygamy is God's plan, a man can't enter the the highest level of heaven without more than one wife, and if she reaches the highest level of heaven her eternal reward will be popping out spiritual babies to populate another planet and follow her husband God's side for...well... all eternity.
But let's not hold that against her. Let's hold against her the fact that she allowed her husband to stand in front of an entire nation and say: "Ann could've been successful."
Shame on you, Ann.
The assault against feminism wasn't limited to the RNC and the GOP. The Democratic National Convention gave us Tammy Duckworth, a Thai-American veteran of the Iraq War running for Congress who was a keynote speaker at the DNC just last evening. There is no arguing that Duckworth is an inspirational human. She lost both legs in the Iraq War and she is one tough soldier, by any measure. But on Tuesday night, Duckworth chose to wave the vagina flag and it didn't play well.
Someone should've explained to Duckworth prior to her taking the podium that stating your accomplishments in the context of being female as though being a female is an immediate hindrance doesn't play well with feminists anymore than a male politician stating the length of his penis.
It would've been far more informative to hear Duckworth advise us of her credentials as opposed to her "equipment." Because, for the most part, feminists don't care about what's between your legs. That's kind of the point. And when Duckworth walked away from the podium no one in the audience was anymore aware of what her credentials were. She's a war vet. She lost her legs in the war. Yes, her sacrifice for her country was huge, but so was Lieutenant Dan's and that of every other vet who served his country. (Okay, so Lieutenant Dan wasn't a real war vet but you get the point.)
If Ann Romney and Tammy Duckworth were not enough of an assault against feminism, what happened in Canada on Tuesday evening should be.
After months of spewing hateful anti-anglophone, anti-First Nations, pro-separatist rhetoric, Pauline Marois of the PQ was elected Quebec's first female premier. Marois' entire campaign was based on dividing the great nation of Canada. She has suggested bills that would ban any non-French person from seeking public office in Quebec.
She has publicly and loudly stated that "Quebec will be a sovereign nation" -- words that would be considered treasonous in most free nations around the globe (and under the USA's Patriot Act would result in an all expenses paid vacation at GITMO) but somehow Marois' hate speech is entirely acceptable in Canada, a nation that prides itself on its "hate speech" laws. Marois the Xenophobe (Mme X, for short) has riled up the militant separatists, whipped them into a near FLQ frenzy, and the anglophone media with the exception of the CBC, has largely ignored her home grown terrorist rants against Canadian Anglophones.
During Marois' acceptance speech on Tuesday evening, shots rang out. One man was killed, another was sent to hospital. Marois was immediately whisked off stage. There was a fire set someplace nearby. A man in a bathrobe and a belaclava, whom is reported as saying "the Anglophones are awakening", was arrested.
Marois, undaunted, returned to the stage and had this statement to make:
"This is an example of a woman head of state. Voila."
Throughout her campaign, Marois brought up her sex several times. In a country where Alison Redford and Danielle Smith ran campaigns that had nothing to do with their sex, where Christy Clark has screwed up as much as any man in power has ever screwed up, where Helena Guergis was twice the politician her wannabe politco husband ever was, and Kim Campbell served as Prime Minister decades ago (we still count that, right?) such remarks are not only entirely inappropriate, but entirely irrelevant.
Marois sex has no more to do with her ability to remain calm than it does with the xenophobic comments she made throughout the campaign.
There was one, bright, shining moment for feminists in the past week. Two words: Michelle. Obama.
On the very night that Pauline Marois was working to divide a nation, Michelle Obama, or "FLOTUS" as she has been affectionately referred to, took the stage at the DNC and delivered a keynote speech that was aimed at uniting a nation. By the end of her speech every feminist in North America was cheering her on.
Obama stood there, with her Harvard degree, with her devotion to her nation, with her pride in her children and her husband and herself and she laid it down with no apologies. She spoke as a lawyer. She spoke as a citizen. She spoke as an equal partner and as a mother. But at no point in the 29 minutes she held that audience captive did Michelle Obama ever use her vagina as a credential or as an excuse for anything. What feminists bore witness to as Michelle Obama delivered her speech is that which we have fought to be for decades:
And when Obama said "after everything, I am still 'Mom in Chief'," every feminist in North America heard her message, loud and clear.
It's not about not about being a supportive wife. It's not about being a mom. It's not about sacrificing your career or using your vagina as an excuse for why you "could've been" successful, or as a credential for public office, or as a shield against the hate you spew. It's about one thing: the right to choose what it is about for you. On Tuesday night, Michelle Obama stood for that choice and made no apologies for her own.
And then she strutted herself offstage to a Beyonce song.
Who run the world?