Thursday, July 9, 2009

We need more rogue women

Palin was accused of going 'rogue' by Republican handlers when she wanted to go off-script. Jonathan Martin at Politico remarks that when one makes the speech the media thinks one is going to make, and notifies the media ahead of time so that bylines are ready before the speech is even made, why that makes one a savvy politician. When a politician goes off-script, says what they really think, and is honest about choices they've made, they're erratic, incoherent, rambling, and nuts. Or rogue.

I like rogue women, women who follow their own script, and don't care what others think. HRC was rogue in that she decided she could be as powerful as her husband. She didn't feel she had to make cookies to be a good mother. Why is being a high-powered career woman and equal to her husband the antithesis of a good mother? As a career woman with no husband raising a daughter, I count myself in the good mothers set. My daughter eats organic, lives in a nice home, goes to a good school, travels, gets plenty of love and care, and seems to be thriving. I didn't subscribe to the notion that a career means sacrificing the child. Later in life, when I attained higher management positions that brought with them travel and very long hours, I began to see how corporate workplaces were structured in such a way that it became extemely difficult to be an ideal mom and successful executive at the same time, but I still wouldn't wish women back into the home to care for children. I think we need to push in the opposite direction: better maternity leave programs, more ability to work at home without sacrificing pay or position, and watching corporate fathers pick up more 'daddy duty'.

But Clinton was treated as a rogue woman - how dare she try to have it all! We seem to have passed that issue...until she tried to run for president. Then the smackdown for 'woman get in thy place' came out in earnest. It seems she would be stopped at being the full equal to her husband in terms of power by the boyz. Most of the rage and criticism directed against her pointed to her power-hunger, as though this was a bad thing.

It isn't for men, apparently. Power-hungry men are often well regarded.

Power-hungry women, though, are to be stoned to death. Or at least relegated to some lesser post, like Secretary of State.

Shirley Chisholm was a rogue woman. Running for president in the 70's as a black female. She was deemed 'nuts'. However, she was the first black congresswoman in the US. She was the first black and first black female to run for POTUS in the Democratic party. She said being a woman threw more impediments in her path than being black ever did. She was laughed at, but she dared to be herself, dared to reach for power.

That's rogue.

I love it.

Palin is also rogue. She doesn't conform to any feminist stereotype, yet she had a power position, a manly hubby that supports her ambitions, children, and a frontiersman lifestyle. She was the second woman EVER to be tapped as a VP candidate, and the first in the Republican ranks. She makes her decisions, doesn't apologize for who she is, and doesn't try to live up to whatever the prevailing image of women is, according to gossip / fashion / homemaker magazines.

Thank God.

For this, she is deemed as a rambling, incoherent rogue. Hmmm. Seems to me like the real problem here is that women who reach for power, women who don't fit in nice pigenhole stereotypical boxes, are considered power-hungry, crazy, attention-grabbing, rogues. Why won't they get in their place? Disappear into oblivion? Get lost? The blogs whine this sort of thing all day long, and op-eds positioned as 'news' do the same thing. Woman, get back.

The rogues don't, God love 'em. They do what they want, and don't conform to the images society has set for women. I think we need more rogues. In fact, I'd love to see women go rogue as a whole, and stick their thumbs up the patriarchy's butt as a collective. I'd love to see women assume that abortion rights are here to stay, and move on to the next frontiers: levelling that playing field once and for all. Only rogues can do this, because they are being real, as opposed to conforming to images that women as a whole try to sign up for, and then apologize for falling short. Rogue women, in short, don't give a damn, and will mow you down to pursue their goals, while not apologizing in the slightest to you for not conforming to your image of how they should be.

Here's to being rogue, and proud of it.

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