Dispatch #62 March 8rd 2020
Day 1213 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny
Day 1141 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy- Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings
On this International Women’s Day, Sarah Smarsh’s essay in the New York Times titled “I Am Burning With Fury and Grief Over Elizabeth Warren. And I Am Not Alone” touches a deep discordant chord.
Consider every moment, since the dawn of woman, when a female aspired but to no avail. She asked to attend school but was denied. She raised her hand but wasn’t called on. She applied but wasn’t hired. She enlisted but wasn’t deployed. She created but wasn’t credited. She ran but wasn’t elected. Imagine the sadness and frustration of every such instance as a spark, their combined energy the size of many suns. That is the measure of grief and fury I felt rise inside me as I watched Elizabeth Warren’s bid for the Democratic nomination wane. http://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/06/opinion/elizabeth-warren-women-president.html
This is what I love about Elizabeth: her comfortable slightly androgynous campaign clothes, the way she stood with her sturdy legs and arms akimbo taking up place and space, how she showed her belief that she is the smartest person on the debate stage, how she refused to sugarcoat her ambition to have power, how she talked about specific policy plans and refused to dumb-down her braininess, how she claimed her right to be taken seriously.
Ms. Warren might not be bound for the presidency, but she has apparently lodged herself in another powerful place: the female psyche. The countless little girls with whom she famously “pinkie swore” that women should run for president will remember. If this supposed democracy is worth lasting, at least one of them won’t be denied. http://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/06/opinion/elizabeth-warren-women-president.html
Another harsh chord rings out in Rhonda Garelick’s essay in New York Magazine titled “The Battle Cry of the ‘Schoolmarm’ I thought I was a scholar, but apparently I am just a scold” where she reflects:
The end of Elizabeth Warren’s campaign fills me with a special, stinging grief, a grief born of more than the loss of my preferred candidate, more than my recognition of the obvious misogyny that blocked her rise. No, my sorrow — and that of countless of my women colleagues — feels acutely personal, for, like Warren, I am a schoolmarm. http://www.thecut.com/2020/03/elizabeth-warrens-schoolmarm-qualities-are-why-i-like-her.html
Garelick assesses the special place in ‘hectoring and schoolmarmish” hell reserved for confident highly educated and eloquent women that changes them instantly from erudite expert to spinsterish shrew. Yeah, once again we are treated to all too familiar explanation for why Warren’s candidacy didn’t gain more traction, i.e., of course I can support a woman running for President, but, there’s just something about Elizabeth Warren…. People do have a hard time saying VAGINA so these explanations always trail off….
This same pernicious pejorative paradigm – Any woman…just not this particular woman – degraded and derailed Hillary Clinton’s candidacy in 2016.
So, on this International Women’s Day, let us recall that this particular woman, as First Lady, delivered a speech 25 years ago — whose content had been kept secret from diplomatic and security oversight –- to women from 180 countries at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing declaring:
“If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all. As long as discrimination and inequities remain so commonplace everywhere in the world, as long as girls and women are valued less, fed less, fed last, overworked, underpaid, not schooled, subjected to violence in and outside their homes—the potential of the human family to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized.” For a link to the speech go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_rights_are_human_rights
Oh yeah…uh-huh….that particular woman-warrior….she was trouble from the get-go.
For a disquieting update on this 25th year anniversary, On The Media (OTM) produced this March 6th 2020 podcast on how the US is vigorously obstructing and dismantling international agreements upholding women’s rights:
Next week brings world leaders to the United Nations to mark 25 years since reproductive rights were enshrined in international law in 1995 at the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Since then, the US has exchanged its role as a prominent advocate for women’s rights for one that aims to obstruct international agreements that uphold them. Jessica Glenza, who covers health for The Guardian, has the story of how the Trump administration is seeking to re-write international norms about “women’s health,” “women’s rights,” and “gender equality” by seeking to erase those very words. She speaks with Françoise Girard, president of the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Sigrid Kaag, minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation for the Netherlands, about what the changes mean for human rights and health outcomes around the world. http://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/segments/on-the-media-from-ally-to-obstructionist
How perfect….the woman whose words rang out denouncing misogyny at the moment when international law enshrined reproductive rights, this particular woman’s space and place was taken by the misogynist forces now leading the war on women’s human rights.
When asked whether ‘sexism’ played a role in her failed campaign, Warren responds wryly: if I say yes, then I am whining and accused of playing the gender card; if I say no, then women will snort what universe are you living in?!
As Woman-Warrior Shirley Chisholm observed on so many occasions “I’ve always met more discrimination being a woman than being Black…men are men.”