Monday, October 5, 2015

Pearl S. Buck and the Privileges A Woman Must Give Up

by Nomad

A quote from a famous writer of the 1940s gives some stern advice for women voters of today. You can no longer afford the "privilege" of being complacent. 

Whenever I see women cheering in rallies for Republican conservatives, I wonder what kind of mindset would support the very elected officials who have showed so little respect for women's issues, such as women's health and reproductive choices. 

I ask myself how can so many women vote against their own interests. Where do these women come from?
One source gives a snapshot of the female conservative.
Married women are more likely to be conservative and, as the report shows, they're the one bright spot in a dark picture for the GOP. More importantly, while single women are more liberal, they don't vote as often as married women.
With so much at stake, why would any woman decide not to vote?

For such people, one writer gave a finger-wagging talking-to to women who don't concern themselves with politics.
In her 1941, book Of Men and Women,  Nobel Prize–winning author Pearl S. Buck wrote that certain attitudes had to change if women were ever going to make a positive impact politically:

What she has to give up will be her present privileges,
-the privilege of remaining ignorant in spite of education,
-the privilege of mental laziness,
-of not having to think thoroughly through any thing because she knows the ultimate decision will not rest on her,
-the privilege of being willful and capricious and irresponsible,
-the privilege of idleness and of having time to spend lavishly on self-adornment and amusement, and
-the privilege of escaping from the problems of life, by retreating from them into her home and considering that her whole duty is there.
She is, in short, to become an adult creature ready for the responsibilities of liberty."

There are, admittedly, a lot of stereotypes in that passage. Women are not quite as compliant and complacent as they were in Buck's time.

Yet, there is still, even now, a good deal of truth in what Buck says. Women are going to have to stop thinking that all politicians (but especially rich white male ones) represent their views and are even capable of understanding women's issues.  
The Planned Parenthood debacle has shown without much doubt that women's health will automatically and forever take a back seat to the Right Wing agenda.

The good news is that many women are -not surprisingly- fed up with the Republican Party. A report, “Republicans and Women Voters: Huge Challenges, Real Opportunities,” was the product of eight focus groups across the country and a poll of 800 registered female voters. 

There could be easy dismissal of what the report revealed, namely, the extent of the dissatisfaction among women voters. It was, after all, commissioned by two major Republican groups, internal Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS and American Action Network. The news in the report was clearly something nobody in the Republican Party wanted to hear. 

When polled, women said they viewed the party as "intolerant" and "lacking in compassion." They thought the GOP was "stuck in the past." It says 49 percent of women view Republicans unfavorably, a full ten points about the unfavorable rating for Democrats. 

Dire is the word political analysts might use to describe the Republican dilemma And that situation hasn't improved any since the 2014 report came out.  

The two present front-runners in the parties- at least for the moment- are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. 
If that trend holds, it's going to make for some sleepless nights over at the GOP big tent.