What About OUR Veils?

Such a big measure of success in Afghanistan and Iraq is our claim to have 'liberated' women from being forced to wear the traditional veil. But I contend, metaphorically, that the U.S. is doing nothing to remove our own women's 'veils' in the political arena as witnessed this election cycle.

Where are the women's voices in 2004?
Most commentators are men; some pundits are women but their names are not memorable among an informal opinion poll of 25 women I know.

Every time Senator Clinton dares to voice a remark she gets lambasted by every right-wing media statioin as though she could *never* have one kernel of relevance to offer to this campaign. Hey, she was the only first lady for 2 terms who lived thru Independent Counsels (Ha! Party-sponsored is more like it.) and got herself elected without her husband's clout. Why doesn't she matter? Shame on us.

So who do we have to look to, those of us who compose 52% of the population, the majority of the voters, the life-givers of the nation, and those statistically who will outlive all these men running about shouting at us?

We have Arianna Huffington, OK, she's on and off the scene, who knows why; she's no idiot after all. The reporter most respected? I can't spell her name but you know who I mean, Annaimpour for CNN; some of us wish she had her own dedicated hour she's that compelling. Nix Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer; they sold out to Entertainment marketing and no longer do solid news. Barbara Walters who always waffled between news and entertainment is retiring and let's face it, she's getting up there in years.

Molly Ivins' column contains a lot of humor with a lot of zinging
reporting; clearly she has an agenda but her coverage is limited to those who read newspapers and among those papers who carry her. By contrast, Phyllis Schaffly, on the right, died, I
believe (sorry if I'm wrong). Tipper Gore's on the farm I guess, taking photos and settling into private life. Mary Maitlin is just abrasive but she's worth hearing nonetheless; I enjoy her best with her husband, that wild eyed Cajun.

See what I mean? There's a gap here in what we have in solid respectable women representing all sides of the political coins. The campaign teams just don't cut it; they're trained to stand before the camera and babble for the bit of a minute they get. They're not real; they don't matter. Where are the thought leaders among women? Don't we think? Don't we have leaders who are women who we should hear?

I don't have the answer but I was encouraged to read an OpEd piece in the NYT of Tues., Oct. 12, by Deborah Tannen, a well-known, well-published sociolinguistics professor at Georgetown University. She's got a provocative case for politicos AND women to consider.

"Perhaps it was not by chance that it was a woman who
asked the president, at the town hall debate last Friday,
to list three instances in which he had made wrong decisions
since taking office. [Recall, he couldn't think of any.]
It drives many women nuts when men won't say they
made a mistake and apologize if they do something wrong."

Some forty years ago some of us were working hard for women's
rights; it was called, by some, the "bra-burning" era. I say it's time to flick our bics on the comfortable veils that we women have been wallowing in for a generation+ while men have thought and spoken for us. If we don't get around to it now, that damned veil from overseas may just start to make the rounds in Tallahassee and Topeka.