Shorter Tiny Pasture–What About The Men?!

Women need to be embraced as leaders — but not out of fear or necessity. It should happen the right way, or else the Right will merely be seen as a bunch of weak-willed reactionary little boys sending their women out to do their fighting for them.

Yes, I will give you a minute to catch your breath from laughing. “It should happen the right way.” Oh, dear god, what do you suppose the right way looks like? All the Republican men put on their best suits and throw their overcoats over large Democratic puddles and beg Republican women into stepping daintily into leadership roles? Or maybe all the Republican women are supposed to marry good leaders and throw all their weight into supporting those men, and then, when and if the men die in office, it would be “right” for the women to take over their spots, at least until a new election?

“It should happen the right way.” That is so awesome.  And if you’re a woman with any kind of ambition, you sure as hell recognize that elbow when it’s thrown. “It should happen the right way” is totally code for “I just now noticed you were up to something cool that I should have been a part of all along and so I will try my best to butt you out of the way so that I can get ahead of the curve.”

“It should happen the right way” is “you are threatening my understanding of how things work.”

“It should happen the right way” is totally “Men should dole out power to women as we men see fit; it’s unseemly for them to take it.”

Here’s the thing. If you can’t let go of your notion that men are the people around whom the world revolves and women are lovely accessories, if you really think that women coming to power in the Tennessee Republican Party says something about the men (I mean, seriously. A whole column about women coming to power and the “thoughtful” end is how this reflects on men? Ha ha ha ha ha. Sometimes, stuff doesn’t reflect on men. What women do often doesn’t tell you much about men. Because, truly, it is not always all about the men.), you are completely missing the point.

There are three things coming together in an interesting way here in Tennessee. One is just the public acknowledgment of a private truth. Rural women and rural men do not lead lives very different from each other. Yes, this means they often face harsher social segregation, in order to enforce gender norms, but their day to day lives are not and have not been very different. Tennessee women have always been extremely competent and brash and able to lead. They’ve had to be in order to survive.

In the past, smart, ambitious women, if in the right class, would marry men whose interests they shared and they would devote their lives to fulfilling that man’s destiny. You might not be able to be a politician, but you sure could campaign and host gala events and backroom maneuver in service of your husband.

Today, you can be a politician for yourself. You can have your ambitions and your husband can have his.

Which brings us to the second thing happening–basic, humanitarian feminist ideals have permeated so far into our culture that even non-feminist women have basic, core feminist values they expect for themselves. They expect to speak and be listened to. They expect to be able to run for office and win. They expect recognition for their own work and to have that work attributed to them and not to their spouses. And they expect to have enough freedom of movement to be able to travel around and campaign.

Huge feminist victories that have changed the basic fabric of our society have allowed for the rise of the public woman (well, of the public woman as something other than a woman of low moral character).

And third, feminists are still enough of a bogey-person (ha) among conservatives, that Republican woman can go a long way–thanks to feminists–while insisting that they are not like those FEMINISTS!!!! Even though, they clearly are. I mean, you folks who lived through the 60s and 70s, when men were hollering about how feminists just wanted to be men, isn’t it hilarious that the first militant female congressman is Marsha Blackburn? And she’s a “Congressman” as some kind of anti-feminist stance? Hilarious.

I mean, yeah, as a feminist, it does make me roll my eyes to see all these TNGOP women building off of the successes feminists have won for them while at the same time pretending to be the same old women they’ve always been.

But I also believe that women being able to rise to such prominence in the Republican party can be a good thing for all women, regardless of political stripe.

And I’d like to urge the Democrats, if they’re still in the business of imitating the Republicans, to get busy imitating them in this regard as well.

12 thoughts on “Shorter Tiny Pasture–What About The Men?!

  1. Pingback: Coming To Power The ‘Right Way’ : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

  2. I don’t have all that much of a problem with the “It should happen the right way” – you know, I myself would prefer more prominent female politicians that don’t act against the interests of poorer women and that haven’t graduated from the Glenn Beck School of Diplomacy and Rhetoric – but I do bristle at “the more confrontational political work is increasingly being left to women,” as if these women in question (Blackburn, Palin, Bachmann) have no autonomy, as if they aren’t carving out their own career paths. Or as if the men of the GOP are taking some higher road I’ve yet to see them embark down, leaving only the “necessary” dirty work to the women.

    Hell, it’s almost to Tiny Pasture’s credit that he doesn’t seem to want to think a woman can be that mean or deluded all on her own. Except … they didn’t draw the short straw in the pre-session huddle. This is who they are. If they don’t believe what they’re preaching, they at least think enough voters will for them to win the next election (and, increasingly and unfortunately, they are right), which just reinforces them as politicians instead of token officeholders.

    If he wants to examine the role of women in the Republican Party, maybe he should first take a closer look at why women in this state – both those elected and those who help elect – are drawn to perpetuating an ideology that generally works against women as a whole.

  3. I think a lot of these women are stepping up and taking political risks because they can afford to at this point. They haven’t become so entrenched in the political process that they have as much to lose as the male political establishment and they have much more to gain.

    These are a generation of educated,ambitious career oriented women who have not hesitated to take a corporate helping hand and step all over everyone else in getting up the business ladder and now we are also seeing this same pattern in politics. For all of the party leaders thinking that they are extending a helping hand and getting someone else to publicly fight their fights, they will soon realize that all they are going to get is a high heel print on their backs as these ladies climb up, over and past them.

    I don’t say this as a judgment on feminism, or waves or sisterhood or anything other than a cold competitive reality and most politicians have insulated themselves from this for a long time. Wake up granddad.

  4. If he wants to examine the role of women in the Republican Party, maybe he should first take a closer look at why women in this state… are drawn to perpetuating an ideology that generally works against women as a whole.

    But that’s the Republican ideology in a nutshell. Republican policies work against the working class, against women, heck if you look at their wars and torture they work against Christians, too. It’s always Opposite Day in the Republican Party, whatever group they are trying to woo, be it Hispanics or African Americans or women or people of faith or the middle class, their very policies work against those groups. They get away with it by selling fear, judicious use of lies and distortions, and dividing the left.

  5. Pingback: The Past, The Present And What Will History Say About Now – Newscoma

  6. I actually think that saraclark’s comment kind of gets at why the Republican ideology appeals to some women–it’s because they see themselves as individuals who can overcome whatever problems face them, unlike those other women, who, because they can’t, deserve whatever happens to them.

    Appealing to individuality in people who very much want to believe that they are unique and special, unlike others who share traits in common with them is a winning strategy. At least in some cases.

  7. Aunt B.,

    Isn’t “appealing to individuality in people…” sort of a sign that a major goal of feminists is taking hold? People seeing each other as people rather than based on assumptions about gender.

    Perhaps these women owe some debt to the feminists who came before them for opening certain doors and taking major risks. But isn’t this progress?


    “Republican policies work against the working class, against women, heck if you look at their wars and torture they work against Christians, too.”

    I love how you can discern what others see as their interests. So women who support Republican policies are too stupid to know their interests or to weak to stand up for them? Perhaps they have different interests.

    Your stereotypes are no more accurate than those of the patriarchs you want to displace.

  8. Well, I do think it’s a good thing, to an extent, but obviously I believe that the tension (and fun) in life is striking the right balance between individual interests and the good of the community.

    Believing that you are not a part of a community that you are clearly a part of (in this case, womanhood) and therefore unaffected by the policies that affect women is, to me, foolish.

    But I’m happy to see that women can be as foolish as men and not be punished worse for it.

  9. I’m really hoping that there will be a following wave of opportunity and recognition for women’s concerns and issues in national politics as we see more women in leadership positions, but I’m not counting on it. I do focus my attention and energies on women in local politics, because those are the people who can effect change and influence policy closest to me and my home. I really wish there was a viable female candidate for Governor in Tennessee at this point, but I also know that the judge, councilwoman, sheriff and mayor that I elect today could be the future.

    The former Governor of Alaska and mayor of her town, used political office as a springboard for national ambitions instead of taking care of her constituents, sadly many of the current female political leaders are cut from the same mold. I hope that this is not the only way to play the game, if so everyone and both genders lose.

  10. I agree about the tension between the individual and the community.

    Your point in the second paragraph though is problematic. We are all part of numerous communities. Why should gender be given greater importance than a community united by a shared religion or by a shared sense of communitarian values or sexual preference or a myriad of other things?

  11. I don’t really think “should” has much to do with it. I think being proscriptive about individual behavior, unless it’s an emergency, tends not to be that productive. You give people information and trust them to act on it as they see fit.

    To that end, I find it weird, but understandable, that women would identify first by shared religion or by shared political philosophy or whathaveyou even to her own detriment, even in the face of the fact that other members of those communities don’t consider her a full and equal member because of her gender.

    But me telling her she “should” do something else doesn’t fix the problem. I want her to decide for herself what she should do; I want her to be able to do that, even if she makes different choices than I would make.

    “Now I will be the one to tell you what to do,” is not change; it’s just exchanging one fucked up way of being for another.

    I think it’s wise for women who live in a society where being a woman is still a detriment to work together to make that not so. Other women may disagree.

    I’m not going to shut up about it, though.

  12. Pingback: Cosmopolitan Conservative » Blog Archive » Sort of true, but not really

Comments are closed.