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Okay, so if you didn’t know already, the senate recently voted 58-41 against the Equal Pay Act which would ensure that women would make as much as men doing the same jobs. Here are a few facts on what this means:
Amount U.S. women earn for every dollar earned by men: 77 cents
Amount African-American women earn for every dollar earned by a white man: 61 cents
Amount Latinas earn for every dollar earned by a white man: 52 cents
Amount women living in Southern states* earn for every dollar earned by a man: 75
Percent of U.S. voters who in a recent poll expressed support for a new law to give women more tools to get fair pay in the workplace: 84
Percent of U.S. voters who said they strongly support such a law: 72
Percent of Democrats who strongly support such a law: 83
Percent of Republicans who strongly support such a law: 61
Bipartisan vote by which the House approved the bill: 256-163
Date when the Senate considered the same bill: 11/17/2010
Number of votes the Senate needed to end a Republican filibuster against the bill: 60
The Senate’s final vote to end the filibuster: 58-41
Number of Senate Democrats who voted against the bill: 1**
Number of Senate Republicans who voted for the bill: 0
Portion of U.S. families in which mothers are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners: 2/3
Percent by which the number of married couples with children depending exclusively on women’s earnings rose last year: 36
Words can’t really express how angry I am about this. How is it that, in 2010, we are still trying to tell women that they aren’t worthy of equality? It’s absolutely ridiculous. But here’s the kicker: absolutely no Republicans voted in favor of the bill. Not really shocking, considering that their main strategy nowadays is just to say “no” to absolutely everything the Democrats propose. What really kills me is the contradictions. Republicans want to force women to have babies (many of them want this even in cases of rape and incest), and yet they refuse to take the appropriate steps to ensure that these women will make enough money to support these children. Isn’t this something that Sarah Palin and her Mama Grizzlies, who want so badly to call themselves feminists, should be fighting for? As Nancy Pelosi said, what will these people who voted against equal wages tell their daughters? What this says to women is, “You’re not worth it.” You’re not worth taking a pay cut for, you’re not worth stepping over party lines for, you’re not worthy of equality. And they say we don’t need feminism anymore.
Sarah Palin has been talking a lot about feminism lately, which is ironic as she is about as far away from feminism as one can get. Why? Well, for one, she’s anti-Choice. I’ve heard it said that you really can’t consider yourself a feminist and be against abortion at the same time, and I’d agree with that. One can see abortion as an unfortunate occurrence, sure, but if one wants to deny a woman her basic right to choose, then one clearly doesn’t want women to be completely free. Instead, Palin and her ilk portray their anti-choice stance as being “feminist.” They argue that taking away a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body will merely make women stronger. It’s empowering for women to make the hard decision and become mothers (or give birth and hand the child over to someone else), so we might as well just take away their choice altogether. Faux-empowerment by force, one might call it.
Secondly, Palin seems to have an issue with the unequal wages of men and women in the workplace, and by “issue,” I mean that she doesn’t take what I consider to be the clear feminist standpoint on the topic. Instead, she supports a party and candidates (like John McCain) who flat-out oppose any legislation that would guarantee equal wages for women. They don’t want to force businesses to pay extra if they don’t have to (always for the big businesses, those guys are). Their opinions are nothing short of antique. As Jessica Valenti writes in her recent column in the Washington Post, “The fake feminism of Sarah Palin,” “When members of the conservative Independent Women’s Forum argue against efforts to address pay inequity, they say the salary gap is a result of women’s informed choices — motherhood, for example — and that claims of discrimination turn women into victims.” If all claims of discrimination turned women into victims, then we wouldn’t be wearing pants, voting, attending college, or working outside of the home. ”Oh, don’t campaign for the right to vote. That just makes you look like a victim. You’ll look weak.” What a ridiculous notion. Another ridiculous notion is that all women make informed choices such as motherhood (and, remember, if Palin had her way, motherhood wouldn’t be much of a choice). Not all women choose that path, and if they do, who says that they should always be the one taking off time to raise a kid, and putting their careers on hold? Men do that sometimes – in Britain, they recently fought to earn paternity leave from work – and this idea refuses to reflect that. Clearly some time would have to be taken off to actually have the child, but no more than would be needed for major surgery, a situation that a person of either sex could find themselves in.
I make it a point, in my daily web browsing, to check out certain online communities that I consider to be educational. This includes places where people talk about art and culture, the news, and society. I often check in with various sites, blogs and communities that focus on feminism and women’s issues, as these interest me.
Unfortunately, I’ve found that I feel extremely uncomfortable in these places.
Despite a recent poll revealing that 70% of Americans think Sarah Palin is unqualified to be President (and that includes a majority of Republicans), it seems more and more likely that she will be running for the position in 2012. Whether or not she gets the nomination remains to be seen, of course, but to me the mere possibility of such a thing happening is beyond terrifying.
It’s not that I loathe the woman, although I wouldn’t say I’m her biggest fan (far from it, in fact). I have some shred of admiration for any woman in politics, and I even admitted to a friend recently (he’s probably her biggest fan) that I respected her a bit for calling out Rush Limbaugh for using the word “retard.” Granted, she still lets her political allegiances shine through. She called out Rahm Emanuel for the same thing recently (and rightfully so; it can be a nasty, offensive word), but in that particular case, she went so far as to call for his resignation. No such demand was made of Rush Limbaugh, even though his audience was much larger than Mr. Emanuel’s. But still, at least she has one issue she’s willing to play turncoat for. I also think that she’s been correct in some of her cries of “sexism.” I’ve seen people fall into the trap of misogyny when criticizing her, much like they did with Hillary Clinton. Even her supposed compatriot Glenn Beck has made sexist comments about her.
Of course, I also think Palin has a tendency to “cry sexism” at every little bit of criticism lodged at her. Problem is, I’m not entirely sure that she herself is actually that aware of sexism and what it means and how to identify it. It’s just that the probability is good that she’d hit the misogyny nail on the head at least a few times, and she has. But I’m certainly not ready to call her a “champion of women’s rights” just yet (and probably not ever). I don’t think that could be said of a woman who once said, “I felt like, wow, John McCain is a maverick. He’s all about empowering women. He is all about equality.” Yeah, Sarah, because saying that women don’t deserve equal pay, as McCain does, is really empowering.
All those things -whether good or bad – aside, my real issue with Sarah Palin is that she has become the figurehead of this recent (although that adjective is debatable) movement of “Real Americans” and “anti-intellectualism.” Read the rest of this entry »
It’s our good friend, Glenn Beck! And I have a terrifying picture for you, but I’m putting it behind a cut because I don’t want to vomit every time I visit my own blog!
Why do people always assume that if a person voted for President Obama, then they must “love” him, or think that he’s their “savior,” or whatever rot. Yes, there are plenty of people who think this. But there are also plenty of people, myself included, who voted for him because he is a Democrat, and they are Democrats as well. I voted for him because I couldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton, and he was the next best thing. I don’t agree with him on some things and I’m as worried about the economy as anyone else. Yes, I voted for him, and yes, I’ll give him my support and trust, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to bow down and worship him, nor am I unable to see his flaws.