Media, stop abusing female candidates by Magan Tady, in In These Times Oct. 21, 2010
People should be angry that our media so often fails to report the track records of female politicians, and place them on a level playing field with male opponents. A platform, for those in the media who don’t know, is a list of issues a politician runs her or his candidacy on; it is not a type of shoe that reporters should be comparing with stiletto heels.
When vitriolic and disparaging comments about women become normalized in our national political dialogue, they harm us culturally. They create deep wounds in women and girls and have a chilling effect on those considering a run for office.
Sam Bennett, president of the Women’s Campaign Forum, put it well during an interview with C-Span’s The Washington Journal: “We have to come out in outrage when comments like this are made—irrespective of the party, irrespective of the situation—because what we have to do… is de-normalize these types of comments. No candidate—male or female—deserves to be on national television being referred to in a sexually explicit way.”
Despite the abuse, more and more brave women are stepping up every year to run for office and endure the media gauntlet. Politics shouldn’t be easy and women should be prepared to defend themselves, but they should be defending their platform, their positions and their views, not their gender, appearance or sexuality.
Ball is refusing to let the negative attention derail her campaign, saying: “We are young women. And we are dedicated to serving this country. And we will run for office. And we will win.”