Heidi Heitkamp: Why Electing Women Matters by tvnportal
Last year I was critical of Senator Heidi Heitkamp for comments she made during a USA Today interview in which she claimed that electing women was important because women are just, you know, better than men and stuff.
“You and Debbie Stabenow are two of the record 20 women to serve in the US Senate right now,” USA Today reported Susan Page asked. “Do you think women govern differently than men do?”
“With women I will say this,” Heitkamp said in response. “I think we measure our success on results not whether or not we get our picture in the newspaper,” she said with a chuckle.
If a man suggested that women were deficient legislators because they were too self centered he’d be accused of misogyny, and rightly so. We shouldn’t judge people based on their gender. But Heitkamp’s misandry is acceptable, because in politics we’ve decided that certain demographics are always victims and other demographics are always privileged and individual character and life experiences doesn’t matter.
If you’re a woman you’re a victim, modern politics tells us, and if you believe otherwise it’s a #waronwomen.
Flash forward to this week. Heitkamp is speaking at a Real Clear Politics event about why electing women matters, and she talks about a class of female attorneys general (Heitkamp herself was AG of North Dakota from 1992 to 2000) who she feels made a difference in the realm of domestic violence. She talks about how the influence of these female elected leaders changed the view of domestic violence from a family issue to a criminal issue.
She argues that women brought a unique perspective to an important issue for the betterment of public policy. And she’s right. Though I disagree with some policy in this area that Heitkamp has touted – I think the Violence Against Women Act has some very serious flaws – I hadn’t considered the impact that female AG’s have had on the domestic violence issue in general.
I found Heitkamp’s comments to be insightful and illuminating and much better than her previous assertion that women are all serious-minded lawmakers while men are a bunch of pompous doofuses.
In this era of male bashing and obnoxious Facebook feminism, it’s refreshing to hear a left-wing female leader talk about the importance of female influence in politics without resorting to dogmas about female supremacy.
Maybe next we can all agree that objecting to government-mandated contraceptive coverage is not the same thing as hating women.