There Are More Women In GOP Politics This Cycle. So What?

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Jun 10, 2010 9:54 AM
I'll second Carol's antipathy towards "bean counting" in the wake of about a million stories that crow about the ascent of the woman in GOP politics this cycle. Yes, Fiorina and Whitman and Angle are divine, but unlike the left, they're there because that's where the tides took them, not because they were placed there by some politico demi-god.

The GOP allows women to ascend at their own pace, without special encouragement, and certainly not because of some trend manufactured by the tea party movement. We want women to be there if they want to be there, and if they don't, we don't particularly care. That's because we care about the actual well-being of women, and their own individual choices, instead of buying into some feminist baloney that puts gender ahead of any other qualification for leadership.

Fortunately, many of the articles emphasize that despite these female-victories, their gender was never actually a big role in the campaigns. "The women touched on their gender, but did so sparingly," writes Anne Kornblut, in the Washington Post. "And they made few appeals to traditional women's issues."

Sure, but it's important to note why they didn't make those appeals. It's because they didn't have to. Palin provided a great example of what you can do with girl-power, but Fiorina, Whitman and Angle provided great examples of what you can do without it. The Center for American Women in Politics has a goal of "addressing women’s under-representation in political leadership," but focusing on gender isn't going to fix that disparity (if you even think it needs to be fixed). Women can use their gender to advance politically just as much as any other candidate can use their business, social, or family credentials to get ahead. Then, the political market should decide whether they made the right choices.

I am happy when women break glass ceilings — say, when a candidate is nominated for office in an position that a woman has never held. But I'm not going to lose any sleep if a certain office is never occupied by someone wearing a skirt. I would much rather be represented by a man if a lady can't make it past the primary. And I certainly don't want any kind of feminist-on-high telling me that the GOP has achieved new, great heights because of the sex organs that one candidate or another happens to possess. The achievements of individual political parties and individual women are somehow watered down when you say the success of one is due to the power of the other.