Since Republicans managed to get two whole women in high profile races in California, and across the country a few more women were put in contention for some other high profile races, the media is playing the “here’s something flashy to distract you from the fact nothing’s actually changing” game. Women “sweep”? Really? Hundreds of races took place on Tuesday and women won a tiny fraction of them. Hardly a sweep. The media’s reaction is not really surprising, however, because that’s how tokenism works. The headlines help to reinforce the message that women are making big strides in politics, regardless of actual facts. It’s just another form of control.

Of course, when you’re the Republican Party, the political party with the worst record on inclusiveness, diversity and tolerance, you’re going to toot your own truck horn when something like this happens. Especially when the establishment Republicans didn’t even support the women when they were running the primaries, therefore taking no risks and now reaping a huge reward. Now they can trot out their panoply of female candidates as evidence of their newfound diversity. Republicans see more tokens than Chuck E. Cheese. Michael Steele, anyone? I’m sorry, but he’s only the head of the RNC because Obama is president. It was only too obvious when he got recruited out of nowhere to do the gig right after Obama won the election. Oh, Repubs. So deliciously transparent.

Just like the year Obama got elected did not mean it was the year of the African-American, a few women running for Senate or governor does not mean it’s the year of the woman, or even the Republican woman. And just as these women are tokenized by being presented as proof of women’s gains in the political arena, Obama is held up as proof of our country finally transcending race, which only serves to tokenize him. That is how our media represents disproportionate inequity.

But it’s Ladies’ Night!

7 thoughts on “I’m waiting for the sequel

  1. Perhaps we can look at one (maybe positive?) thing, though, which is that even though the Republican establishment didn't support women in primary races, Republican party voters still voted for them, showing that the Republican establishment has very little sway over voters anymore. I don't know, that was the first thought off the top of my head when I read this, and I haven't actually researched it or anything, so I could be full of crap.

  2. We got all the power getting stabbed in the shower
    And we've got equal rights on Ladies Night.
    Feminists: we're calling you!
    Please report to the front desk!
    Let's name this phenomenon!
    It's too dumb to bring us down!

    – Le Tigre, who says how I feel about this crass tokenism better than I could.

    • I soured on Le Tigre in 2000 because they decided to play Michigan Women's Music Festival despite MWMF's anti-trans woman policy. That and their liberal use of the phrase "We <3 Trannies!" on flyers in defense of their decision.

      It's too bad, because I really loved their first album and I used to be a big Kathleen fan.

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