Girl Talk by Mariah Brannan
The Legion of Black Collegians, Associated Students of the University of Missouri, and Missouri Student Association held the much-anticipated Girl Talk lecture. The event provided a positive environment to discuss the effects of politics on women. A panel of local, political-affiliated women greeted the audience, eager to share their personal experiences, views, beliefs, and stances on politics.
The event opened with a video that shined light on the media bias that is generally directed toward women. The video consisted of demeaning jeers toward the female gender. These jokes were centered on appearances, domestic and hierarchical-based slander, as well as immensely exaggerating the “emotional state” of women; all of these were used as ways to de-humanize and disrespect women in leadership positions. The video illuminates the ignorance and stereotypes that still surface in society today.
Donna Litchtenegger, a republican and the 8th congressional district chair for the past 10 years, had a different view of political America. She expressed through her terms as both vice chair and chair of her district, she never experienced a moment where she felt inferior to men. Through her informative speech, Litchtenegger conveyed to the audience that her particular demographic has never hindered her personally. In fact, she uses her political success as proof that gender has never been an obstacle, beating her two male opponents by 52% of the vote to capture the position as 8th congressional district chair.
Overall, her opinion and experiences seemed to differ from the two democrats on the panel, Mary Still and Teresa Hinsley. Still, state representative as well as senate candidate, answered the question of whether she experienced gender biased in her occupation quite simply, “It was once said that I wasn’t lady like.” Keeping her answer light-hearted and simple did in fact get her point across, someone never hears a man being told that he isn’t being “man-like.” It can even be argued that being lady-like doesn’t qualify you for a position in politics. Her statement brought up the struggles of women political figures like Sarah Palin, Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton whose femininity have constantly been questioned, mocked.
Hinsley supported her claim by stating, “You will see it, [prejudice towards women politicians] but as women you have to stay strong. We have to continue to be strong and independent.” As a prosecutor, defending justice is in Hinsley’s job description, and that doesn’t stop when her, or any woman’s, competence is questioned.
All in all, the lecture was probably the most beneficial to those who were unaware of the social bigotry professional women face daily. It also helped people to see how far, we as women, have come and allowed us to focus in on the progress that still needs to be made. State representative Still sums it up quite nicely, “As women sometimes we wait to be asked- well don’t because no one is going to ask. [I’ve] learned from my mother that one person standing with courage can change things.”
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.