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"Being First Lady isn't experience" is perfect example of how institutional sexism continues [View All]

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beaconess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-21-07 08:57 AM
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"Being First Lady isn't experience" is perfect example of how institutional sexism continues
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Edited on Wed Nov-21-07 08:58 AM by beaconess
to hold women back, even to this day.

Regardless how intelligent, talented, or hard-working they have been over the centuries, women were blocked from holding positions of objective political power. Had Hillary Clinton, an enormously gifted and industrious woman, been a man, she would have had the option of embarking on a political career that took her on a path to the White House. But she was a woman, and such options were not available to her. Yes, she could have gone into electoral politics, but her options and trajectory would have been strictly limited. She could have tried to run for the Senate back then - but, unlike just about any white man with her qualifications (and plenty who couldn't hold a candle to her), she hardly would have had a chance. And let's not even think about her ever running for vice president or president.

So, she made other choices. She married a politician, worked her ass off alongside him WHILE also building her own successful career. When he became president, she used her tremendous skills to help him, and in addition to traditional First Lady duties (hosting dinners, Easter Egg Rolls, etc.) engaged in policy work (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) and traveled the world as his top - and most sought after - diplomat.

Meanwhile, Al Gore (and George H.W. Bush and Dan Quayle and . . . ), born into a political/financial dynasty with a silver spoon in his mouth, made all the right moves and, because of his gender, those moves ensured that he had all of the options he wanted, including options that Hillary Clinton DIDN'T have. He moved up the ladder and became vice president - a position no woman could ever hoped to have had. As VP, Al Gore stood alongside Clinton, used his enormous skills to help him, engaged in policy work (sometimes sucessfully, sometimes not) and traveled the world as his second most sought after diplomat (after Hillary). When Gore decided to run for president, no one questioned HIS qualifications. And they shouldn't have - because he held a position of great trust and responsibility - but it was a position that ONLY men have been allowed to hold, a position that Hillary Clinton was virtually barred from holding.

And now Clinton has decided to try to break the glass ceiling and go for the brass ring - and she's being told that HER experience doesn't count. That only CERTAIN kinds of experience qualifies someone to be president. But funny thing, it just so happens that this CERTAIN kind of experience is experience that until very recently, ONLY MEN WERE ALLOWED TO OBTAIN!

This is how institutional sexism - and institutional racism - work to perpetuate discrimination and maintain a status quo that benefits white men - without white men ever having to do anything affirmatively to keep it going. EXPERIENCE is the excuse given for holding people back, but EXPERIENCE is usually defined by those who benefit by those people being held back. And, funny thing, EXPERIENCE is almost always defined in terms of the roles that white men have always dominated and women and minorities could not obtain.

It's interesting that the positions that are deemed to be appropriate experience for the presidency are positions that have been almost exclusively reserved for white men - Vice President (all white men), Senator (99% white men), Governor (99% white men), etc. Yet Hillary Clinton, whose opportunities to hold such positions were drastically curtailed by her gender, is not EXPERIENCED enough because she was just the right hand of the leader of the free world.

I call bullshit.
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