Women in Politics

Just before Spring Break, Dr. Diane Bystrom spoke in JB 101 about women in politics as it relates to the last presidential election.

Dr. Bystrom said that sex is still a barrier for women seeking the highest positions, but much less so than it has been before.

She brought up how Clinton was referred to in sexist terms, quoting “white bitch” from a news station. There were stories on her cleavage and her “cackle.”

I was appalled that such terms are still considered acceptable by such a great number of people. But when I thought about it, would I have been that surprised if I’d heard it? Probably not. We are used to such language. Why? It has to stop.

Dr. Bystrom showed statistical evidence that stories about Obama tended to focus more on issues, whereas stories about Clinton focused on strategy, which is usually a more negative topic.

I preferred Obama over Clinton from the start, but I never talked about Clinton the way I heard my friends talk about her. I actually had someone- a young woman who was a friend of mine- say to me “I just don’t think a woman could be president. Men are better leaders. If I were president, I would probably cry all the time and freak out for no reason or something…” Um…excuse me?

It’s statements like that that make me realize the sexism in this country is at least as prevalent among women as it is among men. We are both to blame. It is something that is rooted deep within our culture that we ignore simply because women can have jobs and vote. That does not spell equality! Why do we settle for this? Why do so many of us still believe this crap?

Dr. Bystrom recommended the article “Our Racist Sexist Selves.” I have yet to read it, but I’m going to check it out, and you should, too.

Finally, Dr. Bystrom offered advice to women going into politics:

1. Be involved in student government
2. Work on a campaign (one that you believe in)
3. Choose a party
4. Go to a campaign school

I feel like I benefited a lot from Dr. Bystrom’s presentation and I was sad that more students did not attend.Where was PRSSA? Where was AWC? All members were notified of the event. Frankly, the lack of student attendance was embarrassing to the JB school (especially because Dr. Bystrom seemed to like OU anyway!)

Thanks, Dr. Bystrom, and everyone who attended!


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