Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dee Dee Myers at the Commonwealth Club

I listened to Dee Dee Myers' talk at the commonwealth club last week and was really suprised by some of her statements. She basically had an essentialist view of feminism: providing broad based reasons for gender disparities in politics and leadership positions in the economy. Dee Dee Myers was the first female press secretary in the White House and discusses the events leading up to her appointment and her treatment in the office. She hints that her appointment was related to President Clinton's desire for a more "representational" administration and that her position, initially, was mostly nominal. She didn't have the same power or pay that her male predecessors enjoyed yet carried the full responsibilty of the position.

Her speech is extremely interesting and can be heard at this link: http://audio.commonwealthclub.org/audio/podcast/weekly.xml

I think that her most groundbreaking statements related to women in politics. She candidly claimed that if Senator Obama was a woman, she would not go far in the race. Meaning that a woman with Senator Obama's credentials -- specifically, his short tenure in Congress -- would not be given the time of day had she decided to run for president. I usually think of Hillary's relentless reminder of her qualifications as a tactic to reduce Senator Obama's credibility. I never thought that she might be reiterating her resume so that the public, and Washington, would trust her more as a woman in power.

I'd love to discuss this more so please listen to the podcast!

1 comment:

Lisa R. Pruitt said...

Well, I finally got time to listen to Myers' comments today -- part of them, in any event. Time was running out by the time I got the software downloaded (no iPod in this house ;-( and then had to collect my son from pre-school. In any event, I only got to the part where she was digging into -- and supporting -- biological determinism. I don't dismiss the role of biology altogether -- especially not after almost four years with my son -- but I thought she was making too much of it . . . at least early in her comments. Testosterone only explains so much of the "difference" thing. I'm going to listen to the rest of her comments as soon as I can. And, I've put an iPod on my Mother's Day wish list. Thanks, Nushin, for making me aware of this.