Original title: In the post-Trump era, can the Democratic Party solve the problem of gender equality?
By Ma Li (Sociologist of Women Studies)
“Historically in the West, women have been a silent group on the stage of public discourse. Therefore, their views on these matters and their role in the process of enlightenment are either taken for granted or have a relationship with men. Public and political activities have been placed in a secondary position in terms of importance and honor. Women’s voices have been eliminated, partly because of what defines them and what they inevitably interact with. Connected-sexuality, fertility, the human body (the embodiment of impurity and taboo, the image of dependence, helplessness and fragility), and these have been erased from political discourse.”
In “Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social and Political Thought” by the late famous American female political thinker, Jean Elshtain (Jean Elshtain) (Chinese version: Life·Reading·Xinzhi Sanlian Bookstore), she exclaimed The lack of women in the public sphere of Western society for thousands of years. In Elstein’s view, this is because the social-political mechanism of Western society attempts to exclude women’s affairs from the public sphere to prevent women from awakening their own power.
Barbie-like female public figures
One of the issues that was widely criticized during Trump’s presidency is the physical politics constructed in the public sphere based on right-wing white supremacy: On the one hand, Trump and his followers continue to strengthen the protection of traditional white Americans. As long as he chooses the values of the family, whether it is a female justice, a White House spokesperson, or even Ivanka’s personal settings, it must be a public model with a perfect image, a good wife and a good mother in a good family. Can take care of the family, but also can gracefully appear in the public political sphere. The female spokespersons of the White House seem to be the template of such a pipeline-white, blond, charming and full of wisdom.
In fact, even as spokespersons for the White House, these women still do not have their own voices, and become political symbols that show Trump’s personal taste. Many media ridiculed those who spoke around Trump, who would say Trump, are the Barbie dolls under the shadow of his patriarchy.
In addition, Trump has made crude remarks and personal attacks on women in various public occasions.
If the Republican Party cannot grant or even hinder women from enjoying equal rights in society, will the Democratic Party be able to solve the problems of equal rights for American women?
After the Democratic presidential candidate Biden was successfully elected, and his running partner Harris became the first minority and female vice president in the history of the United States, people concerned about women’s equality seemed to rekindle hope: the Democratic Party that emphasized more on diversity and equal rights Under the people’s power, are women no longer the role models under the white patriarchy that the Republicans often create, but can truly play their own roles in the public sphere? However, in recent public events, body politics still appears in other forms for women. In other words, in the public sphere, women can easily fall victim to partisan-physical politics. The sexual harassment scandal in Como in the past two weeks is an example.
On and off the stage of the rising stars of the Democratic Party
When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was dealing with the new crown epidemic in 2020, he had become a political star in the eyes of many Americans because he dared to “speak up” against Trump. The media praised such a non-bureaucratic and “straight shooter” among American politicians, and even chased him to ask if one day he would run for the presidency. The New York State Government’s daily press conference he presided over is a must-see for many American people who are disappointed and angry with the Republican Party’s anti-epidemic policy. In their view, Cuomo is a person with credibility and conscience.
But recently, Cuomo’s public image has plummeted. First, the media exposed that New York State had falsely reported the number of people infected with the new crown in nursing homes, and then three women publicly accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. From the rising star in politics to the protagonist of the scandal, Cuomo only took a year. Although many media that favor the Democratic Party (such as CNN where Cuomo’s brother works), in the first few days, people felt that they didn’t want to report on Cuomo’s sexual harassment, but his scandal quickly pushed “anti-sexual harassment” again. Hot search. Cuomo’s reputation at this time has even become similar to that of former President Trump who was accused of sexual assault by 26 women.
In this process, Cuomo went from a firm denial at the beginning to claiming that it was a misunderstanding (without apology) caused by his actions, and evolved to when more and more women came forward, he couldn’t stand it, and had to do it on March 3. There was a press conference in Japan, but he still insisted that he “did not have inappropriate physical contact.” This scene resembles the reaction of many American celebrities in 2017 and 2018. The New York Times even published a photo of Cuomo publicly touching a young woman with an embarrassed expression.
During the same period, the outgoing Trump had to face several investigations of sexual assault, as well as his treatment of female writers and journalists E. Jane Carroll (E. Jean Carroll) filed a court trial for defamation after sexual assault charges. At the end of February, during the court session, Carol told the media, “I have always lived for this moment, that is, I have to walk into the court and sit in the seat opposite Trump. I think about that moment every day.” Carol also kept the clothes he had when he was sexually assaulted by Trump, with his body fluids on them. On the day Trump’s tax return was obtained in court, Carol tweeted: “The Manhattan lawyer has Trump’s tax form, Mary Trump has her grandfather’s will, and I have that Clothes. Trump is basically dead.”
Three years ago, the sexual assault incidents of Hollywood movie tycoon Weinstein were revealed one after another, which became the climax of the US anti-sexual harassment movement. The irony is that Andrew Cuomo himself even publicly supported female voices. He said, “I hope that one day, for my three daughters, the world can become safer and better.” Visible to Cuomo and New York. Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of the city, is also an expert at using the media to shape political “personality”. As the Boston Post, which is good at reporting on sexual assault topics, said, “Among a long line of men who abuse power, Cuomo is just one of them.”
Party politics brings “double standards” to anti-sexual harassment
An NPR editorial in “National Public Radio” is entitled “Why a powerful man like Cuomo didn’t learn anything from the anti-sexual harassment movement?” “. Every time an incident involving sexual assault or sexual harassment of a public figure occurs, people will see several reactions: someone condemns, someone defends him, and then a third party investigates and intervenes. Bipartisan politics has added more distortions to this scandal: in the post-Trump era, how do the majority of Americans who support the Democratic ruling view or respond to the sexual harassment scandal of a Democratic politician? This has again become a proposition to test whether people’s moral standards are influenced by the party’s position.
Whether people use double standards also reflects whether the values of the women’s equality movement in a society can really penetrate people’s hearts without barriers. The American media Salon believes that Cuomo’s scandal has revealed the limitations of American society’s women’s rights and anti-sexual harassment movement, and that “many Democrats themselves have no intention to abide by a set of moral standards that the Republicans don’t care about.” The Cuomo’s sexual harassment incident has affected American society The importance of this lies in the fact that the Democratic Party won the election based solely on the “time of disaster” (it was the choice made by most Americans at the time of a pandemic and desperation for the Republican Party), and the new president took office for two months. , So that many people once again doubted the credibility of the current ruling party. The “AXIOS” media pointed out that “Now is the time to see whether the Democratic Party will agree with what it says and do on the issue of anti-sexual harassment.” You know, Vice President Harris was also an interrogation prosecutor during the Kavanaugh sexual assault hearing. , And because of her performance that time, she won the support of many progressive Democratic parties and feminists.
A review article in the New York Times stated that although Republicans accused the current ruling President Biden and the first female vice president of the United States for not commenting on Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal, many people may have forgotten that Biden himself Before the election, he was accused of sexual assault by former assistant Tara Reade, and it finally disappeared. In a male-dominated political circle, the trend of “being wrong on the top and crooked at the bottom” seems to be more conducive to the media’s exposure to such scandals, giving way to reports of major emergencies in other countries. In the end, the women who happened (whether it was Dr. Ford who accused Kavanaugh or Biden’s former assistant Lid) still returned to the weak who were consumed by the media. In this situation, female and ethnic skin colors have become factors that may suffer injustice due to their congenital conditions.
In American society, there are also some mechanisms that intentionally and unintentionally obliterate social equality. In terms of race, consider some races such as Asians as a model ethnic group, or a single successful minority as a representative, and then you can use it as a comparison to let other ethnic groups and individuals who suffer unequal treatment not to complain, it’s you Private factors have caused the current situation, not other reasons. The same is true for women. In many cases, social rules and ethos have become a melting pot for victims to learn to accept these and not to complain.
The injustices faced by women in American society even make many female victims who are suffering injustice feel that they are taken for granted, and they should be treated with contempt and contempt. Judith Shklar, a female political thinker, once said bluntly, “Many women are fully aware of the injustices against women in common recruitment rules and different pay for equal work. However, They will deny—even though there is evidence to the contrary to this conclusion—that they have been treated unjustly;” But because of shame or many other reasons, they will deceive themselves and deny that they are victims. “After all, there is nothing like This is even more embarrassing. Most of us will choose to interpret reality differently instead of admitting that we are the helpless object of injustice. Even self-deception is better than having to admit that we have been defeated.” (“Multiple Faces of Injustice” Shanghai People’s Publishing House).
Reconstruction of women’s rights in the public sphere
Regarding the issue of women’s rights, the warning given to us by American society in 2020 is that when the entire society is moralized, it is difficult for the law and the media that have been divided due to partisan interests to restore the growing cynicism of society, not to mention the fact that the United States has not yet Get out of the danger of the new crown epidemic. Despite this, there are still some private organizations that insist on promoting specific improvements. In the same week that the Cuomo sexual harassment scandal was exposed, a former coach of the American Gymnastics Association, John Geddert, who was under investigation for allegations of sexual assault, committed suicide. More than 20 women have stood up and said they had been sexually abused by Godet before and after gymnastics training. After the investigation, Michigan state officials filed 24 criminal charges against him, even including human trafficking and multiple felony crimes of sexual assault. A lawyer compared Gerdt with the notorious gymnastic doctor Larry Nassar, who had been sentenced to 175 years in prison on charges of 156 women.
For many female victims, Gerdet’s suicide meant that they had to abort the long-awaited legal justice. What they hope is that the harm and humiliation they have suffered will be given a fair trial, rather than being forgotten or even ignored by the people because of the death of the perpetrator. Anti-rapist and lawyer Rachel Dehollander, who was the first woman to report Naxal by her real name, heard the news of Gerdet’s suicide and sent a tweet in support of other women who were victimized by Gerdet: “Everyone feels very sad about this. For the victims, what I want to say is: Your voice, we have heard it, we believe it, and we continue to stand with you. Thank you for telling the truth. What you are doing is not In vain.”
Let us return to the original question again. Can the Democratic Party solve the equal rights of American women and other social problems it promised? The answer is undoubtedly no. American and human history has taught us many times that once people entrust social problems to the solution of partisan politics, apart from turning them into political symbols and using individual people as models for public exhibitions, they can only intensify. Contradictions that already exist. Even advocates of equal rights for women have to fall into such a predicament. Therefore, women must not only have the courage to make their voices heard, but at the same time, how to shape the sentiments of a society and how to assume their own role in the public and private spheres. Independence, equality, respect, courage, etc., are all necessary qualities, but after making a sound, you need to go further, although it is tortuous and long.
Massive information, accurate interpretation, all in Sina Finance APP
Editor in charge: Deng Jian