Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Hello, Ms. President." (Is that so hard to believe?)

Is she the next "Ms. President"?
I think I've said this before, but the Yahoo! Homepage is literally one of the first things I see when I get up in the morning, and whenever I see a featured article about a woman who's made an impact for reasons other than parading around on some reality show with a puke-orange tan (ooh, am I bitter?), I feel a jolt of excitement and curiosity. Click! 

Today's featured article was about Geraldine Ferraro, "who in 1984 became the first woman vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket [in the United States]." She passed away on Saturday.

I'll be the first to admit that I abhor politics.

I know, I know, as a liberated woman I should want to educate myself about this stuff, but . . . I don't know. Maybe 10+ years of learning about male presidents, male politicians, and a male-dominated political system has left me without many strong women to look up to (It certainly irked me that in my World History class last year, 95% of the women we learned about were concubines or mistresses).

Nevertheless, this article really touched me.

Maybe because Ferraro sounded like an amazing woman: dedicated, inspiring, a pro-choice activist (though controversial), and a "dear human being".

Maybe because she had a dream not unlike my own, to see a woman inaugurated as the President of the United States of America.

Or maybe it was because I was shocked by the user comments at the end of the article! Usually Yahoonians are like venomous moths, making rude and vulgar remarks in the safety of their anonymous cocoons. But nobody told Ferraro to "go make them a sandwich." Nobody told her to "get back in the kitchen." And, astoundingly, there wasn't a single trace of "Wanna hear a joke? Women's rights."

All the comments I saw were ones of admiration. Sure, a few people admitted they hadn't always agreed with Ferraro's viewpoints, but they seemed to have immense respect for her anyway. That really says something about this woman's character.

Women like this inspire me beyond belief.

All of this political talk got me thinking about why the United States has never had a woman president. According to this list of Women Presidents from 1945-2011, places like Argentina, Bolivia, Iceland, Haiti, the Philippines, Ireland, Ecuador, Finland, Indonesia, Chile, Brazil - I'm running out of breath here - have all had women presidents.

Why not us? Why not the oh-so-progressive United States?

Though I don't appreciate some of his more snide remarks ("Every time I think about it - which isn't very often - I think how wrong it is that we have never had a woman president . . ."), the man in this 60 Minutes video makes some interesting points.

For example, there are currently more women in the US than men (151 million vs. 146 million), and more women take advantage of their voting rights. Shouldn't that mean that women exert a prominent, influential amount of political power? Could it really be, as the man in this video suggests, that "even women don't vote for women"?

I don't have an answer for that one. All I can say is:

Can I haz this shirt?
You better watch out the day a woman finally gets elected president, because my heart is going to explode. Not one of those dinky explosions, either - I'm talking nuclear.

But I want to make it clear that I would not vote for a woman simply because she and I share some commonalities (think: ovaries, breasts, that glorious "time of the month"). For someone to win my vote, they'd have to be strong and diligent, decisive yet compassionate.

I think some people think feminists are biased - that we somehow hail all women over all men - but isn't that a load of utter bullcrap? I mean, I would rather be friends with a guy who was kind and honest than a girl who was a dirty rotten liar.

So while I'm saying that I long for the day a woman takes a seat in the Oval Office, I want it to be the right woman, because you can bet she's going to get twice the flack for being "of the female variety" than Bush ever got for talking like a drunken monkey.

Ms. President is going to have to be strong, and brave, and lay down the law. She's going to have to be tough, but fair, and remember where she came from so she can empower a new generation of girls to stand up for themselves. She's going to have to have thick skin and an unwavering sense of justice and and and and . . .

But I have no doubt that she can do it, because there are billions of these types of women in this country. They just need to hurry up and get their names on the ballot!

Mini-Rant: I'm not even going to tell you how difficult it was to find pictures for this post. I typed in "Ms. President" to Google Images and got Paris Hilton; I typed in "girl American flag" and got chicks in bikinis. Ah, society.


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