Politico’s Marin Cogan seems barely able to conceal her tears as she contemplates female Democrats losing their seats. The potential exodus of these female Democrat Members is cast as a major set back to womankind, and a particular blow to Congress, whose culture was being positively affected by the presence of more estrogen.
The story notes that many of the outgoing Democrat women will be replaced by Republican women, but the reporter doesn’t seem comforted by that idea.
Cogan seems to make the common mistake of accepting the idea that women are overwhelmingly liberal, want bigger government, so therefore are only really represented by liberal women. Yet clearly this isn’t the case. First, I feel much more represented by a man that shares my views and philosophy than by a woman who does not. And there are plenty of conservative women out there who will be happy to have their views, and sex, represented by a conservative Member, rather than Nancy Pelosi. And I’m sure that my liberal women friends will feel much more represented by liberal male members, than by any Mama Grizzlies who are elected.
In describing the accomplishments of these endangers female Members, Cogan focuses on initiatives that specifically related to gender: like outlawing insurance pricing that takes into account sex, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for women to sue for discrimination. Yet many women don’t see these as accomplishments at all. Most women, like men, reject the new health care law, and many even recognize recognize that lawsuits and increasingly burdensome employment regulations discourage employment-exactly what women don’t want in this economy.
Cogan also lists as an accomplishment that women in Congress have managed to have breast-feeding rooms installed on Capital Hill. This is a cause that particularly bothers me. Sure, it’s fine to dedicate some of the public space on Capital Hill for new mothers, but undoubtedly this is part of the larger movement to force businesses to set aside space for breast-feeding, which can be a costly burden on employers struggling to stay afloat.
I’ve been pregnant or breast-feeding (or both) continuously since December 2004. (Yes, I haven’t yet gotten around to weening my son who is nearly 18 months.) It’s certainly more pleasant to have a private, dedicated room to breastfeeding or (as will more often be the case) to pumping, but it’s hardly a necessity. Put a chair in a restroom, and that’s really all we women need. This idea that somehow we have to redesign buildings or force companies to spend significant money dedicating scarce space to facilitate breast-feeding is really overkill.