If you know me, you know that the Democrats and Republicans get on my nerves and I look forward to the day when Green Party candidates (and other third, fourth and fifth party candidates) get equal attention from media, voters, pollsters, and the like. This year, 2012, we have a presidential election (you might have heard!) and the Green Party has a candidate (you might not have heard): Jill Stein.
Now, I happen to have known for a while that Jill Stein is the Green Party candidate. Why? Because I get e-mails and Facebook updates from the Greens, which is to say that I have heard nary a Jill Stein whisper outside of two extremely narrow channels, channels with an already fairly locked in audience. I am all kinds of frustrated that, as usual, the Greens have the clearest, most honest policy and a seeming inability to get out the word about it to even tens of thousands of people, let alone millions. However, in an effort to light one candle rather than cursing the darkness, I headed to Jill Stein's official web page to look for a good statement of her beliefs or some other excellent link to share with people, that they might learn about her and consider their options outside of Obamney. I clicked her bio, to see if it might be a good link to share with my friends, and began reading:
"Dr. Jill Stein is a mother, housewife, physician, longtime teacher of
internal medicine, and pioneering environmental-health advocate."
My god. Are we really still doing this?
First of all, she's a mother. Great. Fantastic. Dr. Stein, this is your campaign page, your first shot to define yourself for a nation that needs a presidential candidate, and no matter what career accomplishments you have that are relevant to the topic at hand -- that is, your qualifications for the presidency -- you are first defined as a parent. Why? Because you are a woman. This infuriates me, and it makes me wonder how many male candidates' bio pages list "father" as their first qualification and/or facet of identity.
Secondly, housewife? Housewife? To whom exactly are you pandering here? Mormons? Evangelicals? The quiverfull movement? To begin with, it's a horrible word that plays into the idea that every family should/does consist of two parents, one male and one female, one working outside the home and one working inside the home (and of course we know which is which, because "househusband" isn't a word), one nuclear family to benefit the rich capitalist owners of the means of production with Dad traveling and using oil on a commute to work before returning home to environmentally destructive suburban sprawl...OK, but the word "housewife" in itself is another post for another day. Let's talk about its use here, in the first line of her bio, before her career accomplishments that have relevance to whether she is qualified to be president. And let's ask ourselves if she is, in fact, a "housewife," what with all those other jobs she clearly does and has done. And let's ask ourselves, once again, if any man would feel compelled to include "homemaker" on his list of jobs.
Needless to say, I'm not sharing this particular link with anyone. Instead, I'm thinking long and hard about who Jill Stein is and who in her campaign organization thinks this method of kowtowing to stereotypes and patriarchal bullshit is a way to win votes or drum up interest.