So why all the hubbub? Is it because, as Piers Morgan suggests, "she had the audacity, as a black actress, to vote for Mitt Romney?" Is the idea of a black female actress voting for the Republican candidate really so abominable to her (former) Democratic fans? I didn't realize that a woman's status as a black female precluded her from exercising a political choice for president, and that doing so warranted such hateful attacks. I'm also curious about how-- as some suggest-- Stacy Dash's politics inform us on her choices about sex?
The public response to Dash's political tweet is disturbing. She's been called a slut, an idiot, and a hag, among other things. One person tweeted, "This hurts, but you a Romney lover and you slutting yourself for the white man only proves why no black man would marry u." Another Twitter user wrote, "You're an unemployed black woman endorsing @MittRomney. You're voting against yourself thrice. You poor beautiful idiot."
The misogynous responses to Stacy Dash's tweet comprise this year's second newsworthy instance of a woman being publicly called a "slut" after expressing her political opinion. Sarah Weir reminds us that only seven months ago, Rush Limbaugh came under fire for calling Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" who was "having so much sex that [she's] going broke." Limbaugh's abhorrent remarks came in response to Fluke's request for a birth control subsidy before an unofficial hearing of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee in 2012.
So why do men, and especially women, think that this behavior is in any way acceptable? It seems people have forgotten that within the last century, women assumed the unrestricted right to vote when Congress ratified the 19th amendment. The amendment reads, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." Therefore, if the government cannot legally tell a woman how to vote, then the multitude of bigots on Twitter certainly have no standing.
In her article "Race and Essentialism in Feminist Legal Theory," feminist scholar Angela Harris notes that since the beginning of the feminist movement in the United States, black women's experiences have called the notion of a unitary "women's experience" into question. She explains that second-wave feminists have adopted the notion of multiple consciousness, or a world in which people are not only oppressed on the basis of gender, but also on the bases of race, class, sexual orientation, etc. When analyzed through the lens of multiple consciousness, Dash's case clearly extends beyond mere sexism, and also encompasses blatant racism. When fellow actor Samuel Jackson tweeted, "Wait, did Stacey Dash Really endorse Romney today?! REALLY????! Is she CRA[ZY]...........??!" she retorted, " I chose him not by the color of his skin, but the content of his character."
On November 6th Stacy Dash plans to cast her vote for Mitt Romney "because of the state of the country and [she] want[s] the next four years to be different." That choice is her right and prerogative as a black voter, and as a woman voter. It does not make her a slut, a hag, an idiot or any other demeaning name. It makes her a person with the right to exercise voter choice.