Thursday, January 5, 2012

Michele Bachman is a Woman: Using the Gender Card in Iowa

I am honored each day to continually be a part of the Feminism and Religion Project. Check out my newest blog on their site:

I have been flirting with the idea of writing a blog post about Michele Bachmann for a while. When this post goes live, Republicans in Iowa will fire the long awaited starting pistol of the 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination Race. Among the citizens of Iowa and the Presidential hopefuls, one individual, Representative Bachmann, is hoping and more importantly in her case praying for a miracle.

In the recent weeks, some frontrunners have surfaced: Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts Governor and if I dare say, devout Mormon, Ron Paul, a United States Congressman from Texas’ 14th District, and Rick Santorum, a former United States Senator from Pennsylvania and fervent Catholic. However, although the troupe is the typical political line up (all white, privileged, religious, heterosexual family men), Michele Bachmann is hoping to capitalize on the major factor that sets her a part from the pack: her gender.

Claiming to be America’s “Iron Lady” (a popular reference to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher), Michele Bachmann has made it her job, up until now when her campaign seems to be near extinction, to state that she is just like the rest of the big boys in American politics and that she has what it takes to be the next President of the United States of America.
Although I know I am not the first to say this, but Rep. Bachmann is terribly wrong and her last ditch effort of using gender as a way to sympathize with Iowa voters is a setback to the positive contributions women like Hilary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro (to name a few) who have made strong feminist contributions and changes to the highly patriarchal field of American politics.

However, Rep. Bachmann has something that the other candidates, past and previous, do not; she has God on her side.

Although Bachmann is hoping that the religious voters she is appealing to will cast votes in her favor, she is forgetting that many of them, with fundamentalist and strict evangelical backgrounds have rigid views about gender roles and the proper place for a woman in both society and the home.

Using the gender card as a last ditch effort to get votes will prove to be Bachmann’s downfall rather than her rebirth. At the end of the day, Bachman, like most of the policies she has endorsed during her tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives and leading up to the Iowa Caucus, have been bad for women and will cast a large shadow on the good work feminists and allies have been working towards for years.

What we see now, through the symbolic imagery of Michele Bachmann is a woman, who is against abortion even in cases of rape, incest, and possible harm to the birth mother, believes that GLBTQ individuals are abominations and sinners and need to be converted (with the help of her husband’s clinic), and many more polices that reflect poorly upon ALL women will reaffirming the conservative populous mindset that women, are not fit to rule in high levels of government.

Although America came very close to possibly having its first female President with Hilary Clinton and if I dare mention, the first female Vice-President with Sarah Palin if John McCain would have won in 2008, there is a clear distinction between Palin, Bachmann, and Clinton and it comes down to the feminist litmus test of how “feminist” on is.

The test results are not positive for any of the candidates because in the end, women like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are not only bad for America but also bad for women in general.

Although Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin (and the individuals who will undoubtedly follow in the footsteps) may lose, the real losers are women in general and I am one individual, who after tomorrow will be happy to see Rep. Bachmann end her campaign for President of the United States and the destructive crusade against feminists and women everywhere.