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Strong Women

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Cal Thomas' column (last week) on Benazir Bhutto took me by surprise. It wasn't just the fact that he had sipped tea with her, an experience he said he would never forget, but that he called her a "strong woman" and pointed out that "leadership is more than biology. It takes a well-crafted ideology and goals beyond one's self." He believed Bhutto had them in abundance. He also stated that:"Women who are strong in the things that matter most - courage and character - are a threat to weak men without such traits. Some men will go to any length to oppress such women, even invoking the "will of God" as the ultimate justification, when God wants to liberate women (and men), not subjugate them to self-righteous sinners."Hmm. I agree with Thomas. One doesn't have to go outside the United States, or even Kansas, to find rantings when strong women are appointed to or seek positions of leadership in national life. It wasn't too long ago that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church were attacked in some sections of the media simply because they were women. Do you remember any previous Speakers being ridiculed for the ties they wore, or the size of their biceps for that matter? The topic of Pelosi's pearls drew nearly as much attention as her appointment and, at one point, Hilary Clinton's cleavage was inflated to grab pretty large headlines.The US touts itself as the land of freedom, equality and opportunity but one wonders why a woman has not yet been elected to its highest office? England AND Ireland, small countries who could well fit into the state of Texas with plenty of room left over, have already had females in the top posts. England had its first woman Prime Minister nearly 30 years ago until she was ousted by the "Big Boys," and Ireland has experienced two female Presidents. And then there is Benazier Bhutto, the focus of Thomas' column, who became Prime Minister in a Muslim country. She balanced family life (with a husband and children ) with her political duties, and managed to retain her femininity. I know that comparisons are odious, but, in this case, they should give food for thought, even though some may choke in the process.I'm not saying that Hilary Clinton should be elected President simply because she's a woman; I'm saying that she shouldn't be ridiculed and dismissed just because she is. If she is the only women to emerge as a potential Presidential candidate, what is this saying about the women in America? Or what is it saying about the men?

Comments

Ronda Miller 6 years, 11 months ago

Good post, Eileen. I would say that a lot of women have been giving thought to exactly your question about, "Or what is it saying about the men?"

We seem to be leaders in so many areas; what is the reason women are held back? Why do women still earn less on the dollar then men? Why do spousal abuse and rape make up such a huge volume of violence.

What values are upheld in our country that still serve to hold women down in power positions?

I would love for women, or men alike share some thoughts, articles, books they have read on this topic that lend insight to this injustice.

Hillary cried yesterday. I wonder if that makes her more or less likeable in the eyes of a nation watching every move of our politicians.

kansascrone 6 years, 11 months ago

The birth of my granddaughter two years ago gave new urgency to my desire to be able to assure her that she can grow up to be anything she wants to be - without that nagging feeling I had when I said it to my own daughters.

I knew that, unlike their brothers, they could never become a priest in our church; step foot on the Augusta National Golf Coarse-except as a spectator; serve as president of the United States, to name a few.

I saw the candidacy of Hillary Clinton as a beacon of hope that at least one of these barriers might be broken for her. Imagine my disappointment when her mother declared she is planning to support Barrak Obama.

I get what she sees in Mr. Obama, and to be fair it's past time we elect a black man as President. Indeed, the historic signifigance of this election is evidenced by the record number of voters that have turned out for both the caucuses in Iowa and the primaries in New Hampshire.

It is too soon to know how this election will turn out. One thing I know is my grandaughter will be able to tell her daughter that she can grow up to be anything she wants to be - without that nagging feeling.

Linda Hanney 6 years, 11 months ago

Well said Eileen and Virginia. Each generation has seen changes for women. For example, my mother was five years old when the nation guaranteed her the right to vote. There were no sports for girls in my high school. Our own daughter had choices in occupations previously dominated by men. There will be a woman president; it's a matter of time.

Linda Hanney 6 years, 11 months ago

Rhonda, we discussed your last statement at work yesterday. We wondered if that had more to do with politics than being a woman.

fairylight 6 years, 11 months ago

Excellent commentary. Hillary has weathered more than one storm( to coin a phrase) and is still standing! Women everywhere should celebrate the achievements women are making in our society today! It is a very real possibility that we will see the first woman president in the US in 2008!

There have been strong women throughout our history, yet it seems they have been held in check, not allowed to REALLY shine and show that they, women, have as much strength of character as any man could dream of having!

Frederic Gutknecht IV 6 years, 11 months ago

Bullies abound in the dude nation. The ways of this world favor them. There is a long row to hoe ahead...so... twisty faster!~) http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/

preebo 6 years, 11 months ago

Jon Stewart on his writerless ""A Daily Show,"" made a great point last night regarding both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama. While Mr. Obama has held the Change mantra for most of this campaign it should be noted that Mrs. Clinton herself also embodies change. I mean she is a WOMAN afterall! To paraphrase Jon, ""How would either of these candidates be a change from every other President previously"" (as pictures of every white protestant male President filled the screen)? This drove home the point that change in this election is not a sole commodity of Mr. Obama and it reminds us that while change is a buzzword, it can also be tangible.

This is a historic moment in American Politics either way. In all honesty however, while my wife and I were watching Mr. Obama's speech following his second place showing in New Hampshire, she started to well up and I honestly got goose bumps, Seriously! And I am a Kucinich/Edwards supporter. I am not sure what this means, but I am starting to believe the hype, not wholeheartedly, but I am beginning to believe. I wasn't around for Bobby Kennedy, but from what I have read about him and heard from people that were there, this is every bit as inspirational of a movement as that. This is a historic moment in American Politics either way. In all honesty however, while my wife and I were watching Mr. Obama's speech following his second place showing in New Hampshire, she started to well up and I honestly got goosebumps, Seriously! And I am a Kucinich/Edwards supporter. I am not sure what this means, but I am starting to believe the hype, not wholeheartedly, but I am beginning to believe.

I wasn't around for Bobby Kennedy, but from what I have read about him and heard from people that were there, this is every bit as inspirational of a movement as that.

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