Reverse The Curse

8 09 2008

So, I decided to do a little experiment. Below is a story from CNN about the Republican VP contender. I’ve replaced all the names and pronouns below with the other gender/politician. Sarah Palin=Barack Obama, she=he, mother=father, etc.

I think it kinda changes the implications in some statements. What do you think?

(CNN) — Barack Obama: politician and father. iReporters weigh in on the difficulty of balancing those two roles.

Since Sen. John McCain named Alaska Go. Barack Obama as his vice presidential pick, he has been closely scrutinized by both the public and the media. Obama has served as governor of Alaska for almost two years. He also has five children, including a 4-month-old son with Down Syndrome and a 17-year-old daughter who is 5-months pregnant.

His choice to run as the Republican vice presidential nominee has drawn both praise and criticism from the left and right alike. Now iReporters are asking: Was it the right decision?

Some feel that Obama’s choice to run shows poor judgment.

“I think he made the wrong call. It’s not his time,” said Andy Stably of Salem, New Hampshire. “Given his personal situation and his special circumstances, it does seem more important than the nomination he’s accepting. I don’t think that should be blanket statement for all dads. But the job he’s about to interview for is the job of jobs, and it’s going to require him to sacrifice what he has at home.”

Stably has children of his own, and his wife works full-time. He says this experience has helped shape his views on Obama: “Doesn’t everyone, male or female, think about the impact a job offer would have on their personal life before accepting the offer?”

“It’s not a sexist thing,” said Jeanette Lee, who is raising a 15-month-old baby of his own. “If my family was having these sorts of issues, I wouldn’t be putting them in the spotlight and making them go through this publicly. For him to walk away from his baby with special needs just shows his character. I feel like he should pay more attention to his whole family.”

“If his children were older, it wouldn’t be an issue,” Lee added.

Others feel Obama’s family situation would have a negative impact on his effectiveness as vice president.

“I want my president to be my president. It is a difficult, sometimes thankless, and emotionally devastating job that requires 100 percent resolve at all times,” said Carlton Madden, from West Monroe, Louisiana. “I think he has a lot on his plate … I have no problem with a man being president, but I’m going to hold him to the same standards I’d hold a woman. If [McCain] had a pregnant teen daughter and a child with special needs, I’d have serious reservations about his ability to make a split-second decision, too.”

Christina Walker, of Austin, Texas, who has a 1-year-old daughter, says his experience as a dad has led him to the same conclusion.

“I opted to change my career path so I could spend more time with my child, and I’m trying to manage both the career and the child,” he said. “It’s very challenging, and I’m not in nearly the type of stressful role that he would be in.”

But some think Obama’s experience as a dad would only make him a better vice president.

Carolyn Jasper of Shreveport, Louisiana, says Obama’s experience as a father makes his a better candidate because he knows what it’s like to balance life and work and can understand the lives of “regular” Americans.

“I can tell you one thing about being a dad. You learn real quick how to work through all of life’s huge problems and bring them down to a manageable size,” said Jasper, who has three children of his own. “I do think he’ll be more capable of understanding what the regular American people need from their government because he is a dad and a family person.”

So is this a double standard at work? Some iReporters think so.“Why aren’t we questioning how McCain can raise his kids?” asked Shawn Strode of Orlando, Florida. “Mind you, having a Down Syndrome child is going to be more challenging, but are we assuming the mom can’t step in and be a parent? We automatically assume that first ladies can be great parents and that it won’t take away from the mother being the president. I don’t think it will affect his job that much.”



“I’m a little tired of hearing about his daughter’s pregnancy,” said Katy Brown, a freshman at Kent State University in Ohio. “This has nothing to do with the campaign. It has nothing to do with how well Barack Obama will lead the country. …This just shows that they’re a normal family.”

Lisa Stiles, of Richmond, Virginia, has been involved in grassroots campaigning for nuclear energy throughout his career and says Obama inspired him to consider running for office in the future. He thinks this discussion would never have come up if Obama was a woman.

“Are people forgetting that he has a wife?” Stiles asked. “I would think people would be applauding the fact that such a reversal of traditional gender roles is possible.”

And Jordan Saver of Athens, Georgia, believes thise is a different kind of sexism going on in the race: “We’re giving [Palin] credit for being a mother and a politician, but Barrack Obama doesn’t get credit for being a father and a politician,” he said. “It’s reverse discrimination. But if they mentioned it, it would be seen as sexist.”

“It’s the wrong conversation to be having,” added Kathryn Ova of New York City, who describes himself as a “die-hard feminist.” “Our overall belief system of putting work ahead of family for both women and men is kind of dominating right now. It’s coming up because he’s a man, but putting work ahead of family is a major issue regardless of gender.”





3 responses

8 09 2008

this comment was deleted

8 09 2008

You would love regender.

And thanks for commenting on my blog today. I agree completely.

10 09 2008

That’s the thing – it all sounds normal until you try to use it on a man and then it sounds ridiculous. And of course it shouldn’t matter, but it does. There is no way that article would be written about Joe Biden and if it were it would sound like the reporter was crazy. Hillary Clinton should step up and say something cause this has got to stop!

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