السياسة: Women Running for Office

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Women Running for Office

The stories “Kidnapping a Candidate,” “The Year of the Woman,” “Prepping Women for the White House” and "How to Start a Women's Party" speak to issues women face in running for office, and demonstrates strategies to address them.

In looking at these different tactics, do you find them "gendered female" in any particular way? Are they responding to any specific "supply," "demand" or "overarching" factors? What do you find to be some of the pros and cons of the different strategies?

Morgane Palomares
Morgane Palomares
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When looking at the four articles, as a whole, it is apparent that there are “gendered female” tactics that are more apparent than others.

Beginning with the “Kidnapping a Candidate” article, Ingrid’s more aggressive, radical approach of being active and involved with the community (i.e handing out condoms, Viagra pills, and masks) can be seen as a very gendered approach. The fact that Ingrid passed out condoms, which would prevent women of having unplanned children or protecting women from STD’s is a mere reflection of this. In my opinion, Ingrid’s overall aggressive tactic can be played by both female and male candidates; therefore, I do not see her strategy of being as “gendered female” as other strategies.

Moving on to the second article, “The Year of the Women,” I find the build yourself up the ladder is a tactic that both genders use to gain experience, credibility, and support. More importantly, Boxer and Fienstein illustrate the idea that women must be careful throughout this process and focus on one issue and “make it your own.” Therefore, this more gradual tactic can be geared towards both genders but regardless of females or males, each gender must want to do something and that agenda may vary.

The third article, “Prepping Women for the White House,” vocalized the tactic of provide the youth the education to provoke future female political engagement. This approach maybe considered “gendered female” because it is initiated through CosmoGirl. Whether it be a great idea or not to provide youth role models, CosmoGirl will only beautify this idea of being President, along side with hook-ups, fashion, and the latest Hot Hunk of the Month.

Lastly, the article “How to Start a Women’s Party” is clearly “gendered-female” because the sole purpose of this Australian political party is to exclude men and focuses to exclusively voice women.

Regardless of the level of effectiveness these tactics have provided women in the political arena, each one has pro and a con. I want to center on the “Prepping Women for the White House” article because I believe it can be the most controversial. It is obvious that educating women, and supplying them with new ideas and knowledge will only produce more females seeking political power. Providing the youth with role models and example of women in office will increase women’s political engagement in the future.

Given this tactic, I find it ironic that this distribution of knowledge and goal of having a female President by 2024 is being performed through CosmoGirl. Perhaps it is just because I see the CosmoGirl Magazine as a source of where to find what shoes are in fashion this winter, what color is “hot,” or what male celebrity is being praised for his six pack, that this is a bad route. At the same time, if these young women are becoming inspired while flipping through this Hollywood glamour magazine then the purpose is being fulfilled.

To bring both arguments together, I find it hard that a young woman will become the President after becoming inspired through this month’s CosmoGirl, but at the same time, the fact that these young females would even consider the position is a step in progression.

Jessica Reihanifam
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After reading all four articles I found that in each article the tactics for addressing the issues of women running for office were all different. While some were what I believed to be “gendered female” others were not gendered at all and could be applied to male or females running for office.

I will start by addressing the first article “Kidnapping a Candidate” which focused on Ingrid Betancourt’s campaigns for office and more specifically for President of Colombia. I completely agree with what Morgan said about her campaigning strategies. The issue at hand in Ingrid’s Campaign was that she was “young, unknown and had limited funds” to promote herself to the people of Columbia. So to solve this issue she choose a “radical approach” as Morgan mentions, of handing out condoms or Viagra to men in cars passing by to get her self noticed.

While some may see this as gendered I would have to argue that her tactics were merely intended to bring attention to here campaign and what she stood for. Items such as condoms were used to symbolize protection from governmental corruption and were not meant to be viewed as female gendered tactics. Any candidate in her situation no matter their sex could have done the same to gain recognition from the pubic.

The Second article that discussed women in U.S. Politics in 1992, “The Year of the Women” was another article that like the first, provided tactics that were not gendered female. One issue discussed that women face in running is the expenses of campaigning. Their solution to this issue was public financing for campaigns. This strategy is in no way shape or form gendered female and male politics could benefit just as much from this type of campaigning as women. I would also like to touch upon Feinstein’s comment that an important strategy is to be willing to learn and to remember “it is important that you want to do something, not that you want to be something”. I think this tactic speaks not only to females running for office, but also males. The ambitions of either sex candidates should go beyond receiving the title of Congressman or Senator and candidates aims should really be on standing for something and making a difference.

The third piece “Prepping for women in the White House” was where I began to see more of the tactics become “gendered female”. One of the tactics in this project was to pair young girls with role models because women face the issue of having low confidence more often then men. By providing them with these role models they will be more likely to feel that goals, such as running for office are in reach. I find this gendered female because you don’t find many men needing role models to boost their confidence in running for office.

In reading the last article, “How to Start Women’s Party” I would have to agree once more with Morgan in saying that it is definitely “gendered female”. The entire aim of this party is to “increase women’s participation” and particularly maternity reform. Therefore all this party does is voice the opinions of women and provide them with strategies and none of these strategies pertain to men at all.

I do believe that many of these tactics are responding to Supply factors especially the article “The year of the Women”. This article provides the strategy that women must gradually climb the ladder to success by slowly making progression. This strategy I think is a result of our society’s culture and the idea that from the beginning of history women have never really had any power over property, divorce or family. As a result women need to gradually build themselves up to obtaining positions that were once out of reach.

When it comes to the pros and cons of these articles I think that the first two articles are positive in that they provide strategies that are helpful not only to women, but also to men. More specifically I believe that the first article in particular really provided a strategy that helped Ingrid gain a lot of recognition for her campaign. Before she came to Colombia she had been in France and upon her arrival no one knew who she was. Her radical tactics really did what she wanted them to in grabbing the attention of Colombians who wanted change.

However I do find that the strategies used by Ingrid may have been too radical and as we saw in the readings may not have been the safest strategies. Too radical can often be risky when it comes to campaigning.

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The previous two posters have already stated, that not all of the articles are completely gendered female and I agree. Since I think all of the articles have been evaluated with opinions similar to my own, I am going to focus on what aspects of each article I found to be gendered female.
In the article “Kidnapping a Candidate,” Ingrid Betancourt herself is not portrayed as gendered at all. As Morgane mentioned she used extreme tactics to rebel and stand out, but her tactics did not really have anything to do with being woman. I do find the article itself to be appealing to women in particular because Betancourt’s strength and unwillingness to quit is empowering for women in a lot of ways. She went up against the dangerous rebels of FARC (a lone women fighting against armed men), sent her children away for their safety (a mother giving up her most prized possessions for what we believed in), survived after years of capture (a women with an undefeatable inner-strength) and most importantly, still wants to run for president (an unbreakable morale). So even though the article was not necessarily gendered female, the qualities of Ingrid Betancourt greatly appeal to and inspire women. Overall, I think a major pro of this article is that it is encouraging to women without being heavily gendered female.
“The Year of the Women,” as Morgane and Jessica have already said, is not overtly gendered female, but there was one thing I found to be gendered female. In Barbara Boxer’s interview she clearly states that the reason she became so involved in the first place was “because [she] wanted to make [her] community and [her] country better for [her] children”. She continues on to explain how she established programs for women and children eventually inspiring her to run for office. The fact that her desire for office stemmed from wanting to protect her kids is very gendered female, men rarely consider their children a reason to run for office. But I found the idea interesting because if women could think of their job as helping there children also, they would have a less difficult time leaving home to work full time. I think a pro of this article is the use of excellent role models for women, but I think the term “year of the woman” can be harmful because women being elected to public office should not be placed into a time period, it should become the norm.
“Prepping Women for the White House,” I felt was gendered female because it is a direct response to the issue of supply of women candidates in the United States. Cosmogirl is literally giving away internships in hopes that one of the young interns will become President by 2024. I agree with Morgane, the idea of a “cosmogirl as president in 2024,” is offsetting, but the fact that the “cosomogirl” running would actually just be an experienced, well-qualified candidate is not. The movie “What’s Your Point Honey” is also a direct effort to increase the supply of women candidates. I think both efforts will create some positive outcome, regardless of whether a woman is actually elected in 2024.
“How to Start a Women’s Party” was overtly gendered female because the only members allowed in the party are women. Creating a women’s party is a direct attempt increase the demand for women in important roles. The growth and the success of the party experienced at the beginning are definitely inspiring to women. A major con of the party is that it has a limited array of issues to concentrates on and fix. I also think the fact that only women can be a party of it is a problem; for advancement to happen, everyone needs to be involved and by not including everyone the party is limiting its capabilities.

Gretchen Dew
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I think Maddie, Jessica, and Morgane have all throughly covered the issues in the articles and discussed how gender has or has not played into the different strategies of women. Therefore not to be repetitive I digress to other elements that caught my attention while reading the above articles. Three in particular were the role of the media, party influence, and women as role models.

The power of media has its pros and cons. The mass magazine Comogirl usually uses its pages and coverage to discuss fashion styles and how to flirt. However in the "Prepping Women for the White House" article they used their media power to empower girls politically. Media was also a big factor in the "What Women Want"and "Kidnapping a Candidate" stories. In both of these it was made clear that they were able to experience success and recognition through media coverage. The media can however be harmful as well and is one of the big actors in perpetuating the stereotypes and "roles" of women.

Political party influence is another dangerous actor. It can help by having differnet parties encouraging women to run, or having quotas or mandates. However there is a big trap here between whether in reality this equates to substantive representation or merely descriptive.

Which brings me nicely to my last topic of role models. At first I was against quotas and descriptive reprsentation of women because I didnt feel like it was doing enough, or wasn't effectively changing attitudes.

However upon closer examination and throughout reading these articles I have to somewhat change my stance because of the clout of role models. I think the role of women in power and in politics is a very good example and picture to project on younger generations, not only of girls but boys as well. Even if there is no way to change how society thinks of women now, and therefore we have to resort to measures like quotas to ensure women in office, it sets up an image of change.

More and more girls are attending school and following with university, and if they grow up having women be in politics equally next to men as the norm, the next generation of women are going to be not only full of brains and confidence, they will be reinforced by role models and the normalcy of women in power.

Brendan Blakewell
Brendan Blakewell
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I agree that the article “Kidnapping a Candidate” displays ways candidates run for office without having to gender their criteria. Betancourt stood for universal rights, and ran on an environmental platform seeking to reform this single issue of corruption.

San Francisco Senator Dianne Feinstein would agree that making a single issue a party platform is an effective way to gain exposure and stand for more than just descriptive representation as a woman. Betancourt’s methods were considered “unorthodox” but I disagree with them being gendered female, condoms and Viagra are not explicit to women.

In fact I would argue that these could be gendered as reform on male participation as condoms and Viagra are both only performed by men. Men wear a condom to protect both women and men from the spread of sexually transmitted disease and also from unwanted pregnancy. Viagra is used to stimulate and enhance male sexual performance for his benefit and arguably that of his partner.

I don’t see Betancourt using either to gender female tactics, unless we decide to propagate sexually explicit examples as pertaining to only women. Instead I would argue that her universally beneficial tactics of promoting protection and performance enhancement was an effective albeit extravagant way of consummating exposure.

I felt the Senators in “The Year of the Woman” attempted to gender female universal tactics of climbing the political latter. I don’t understand from this article how any of the female political representatives achieved what senator Kay Bailey Hutchison called having to “overcome being a woman.” None of the state actors give any indication of gendering the tactics to achieve success as women in the political sphere.

I agree with all the statements blogged so far about Feinstein’s advice to stand for an issue over the pursuit personal aspirations not being gendered a female tactic. What is poignantly interesting to me however is that there is no indication whether female representatives in the political sphere should be standing for issues gendered female. I don’t see a difference in gendering who’s representing if everyone represents universal issues and also I don’t find the case made for the importance of female representatives indicated.

I’m nervous about the article “Prepping Women for the White House.” I don’t find Cosmogirl a credible source for political aspirations and I’m a reader… and essentially can be considered a “Cosmo Girl.” I think its great for ANY outside institution to offer scholarships or internships in the advancement of willing participant’s education but I just don’t want to jeopardize the legitimacy of a competent female candidate with the connection to a partially fluff girls’ media outlet. I think the pros outweigh the cons however in the continuation of this “experiment.” I think its great for young girls to read about other women’s ambitions to serve public office, that’s pretty inspiring.

And so it is my hope that this magazine continues the promotion of women in politics for the benefit of everyone and begins to provide evidence of how a “Cosmo girl” will contribute in the political sphere. I think the magazine should help bridge understanding of what makes this connection valuable and also credible for the future reasoning a Cosmogirl candidate will provide for this partnership?

I completely agree with Maddie especially in the part of not seeing Betancourt in "kidnapping a candidate" as a gendered female. Betancourt emerged to the surface of the society not because she thinks that she is a woman, therefore, she need to have a place. It was more than that, It was corruption that she couldn't take and stand anymore and she think's that something has to be done regarding this. She even have sent her kids to her former husband to protect them and not letting them to stay with her to takecare of them as a mother if she was being gendered female.

The supply, demand or overarching were all basically not there because Betancourt did not basically have the chance to compete and get elected fairly, nor she was chosen by any political party, but rather than all that she was emerging to scene by her own and tried to do some change.

I disagree with Maddie when it comes to her analysis of "the year of women." Seeing Barbra Boxer's refering to her interest to be elected so that her children would have better life is nothing really could be seen gendered about it. Every human being whether if it was male or female would always love to see her or his kids in good condition now and in the future. Taking care of your kids does not mean that you will ignore people around because as somebody who got elected by people, you would always know that you have responsibility toward them.

I agree with Maddie about finding "prepping women for the white house" gendered female, because the since we get is not you should have to be the best to run the show more than you as a women can somehow do it and because you are a women we need to do our best to put you there. It is not only you have to be the best, but also you should have the skills and the qualifications that set you there whether you are a man or woman and not just trying to do your best by working on one gender to qualify it.

In the "How to start a women's party" I agree with Maddie that limitting the participation to the party for women only will make it definately very gendered female. It would be much better for the party to let men participate to see things that they might not be able to see and catch in term of how men are looking at women when they just isolate themselves totally away from men. Creating a party that only takes women is not enough to put women in power, but rather than that the focus on how to develop the woman and qualify her to earn the seat should be the focus of the party and not focusing on gender.

Grace Lin
Grace Lin
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My Congressional Run

I am a woman in politics (www.graceforcongress.com). I am running for Congress in New York in the 8th District. I find that it is helpful to talk to people about what concerns them. So if they are women than speaking to issues that concern women are important. I do think it needs to be a balance. If a politician comes off as only catering to the female vote it can be distasteful to both women and men. I believe it is most helpful if many traditionally female issues are presented with non-gender specific frameworks.

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