>Liberal activists and self-proclaimed feminists have criticized Obama for surrounding himself around his “dudes” in the White House and on the field. And, as someone who’s affected by “influential” press coverage, Melody Barnes accompanied the president on a golf outing on Saturday.
Barnes, wearing a baseball cap, dark long sleeve shirt and beige pants, joined Obama the same day that the New York Times ran a front page story, “Man’s World at White House? No Harm, No Foul, Aides Say,” the latest in a round of similar stories triggered by a high-profile, all-male basketball game the president played in earlier this month.
First, I want to address a nagging issue. Why did this article feel it was necessary to point out what Barnes was wearing? Why do people (men and women) in the media feel it’s compelling to point out a woman’s style of dress? As a matter of principle, I won’t even place an image of what Barnes was wearing to perpetuate that sexist style of reporting many self-proclaimed unbiased journalists feel the need to interject into their stories.
Second, why is this an issue? Self-proclaimed liberal bloggers have feigned their concern about Obama’s frat-boy attitude towards women:
From Tennessee Guerilla Women:
The White House has always been a boys’ club. But in 2009, at a minimum, half the people in the White House should be women — excluding housekeepers and baby-sitters. A cabinet that is 75 percent male does not remotely resemble progress. Throw in a president who spends his leisure time networking with the boys and you have a president who has a woman problem.
The president has always been criticized for his sexist language. Columnist Taylor Marsh in February last year, called Obama’s thinking as “last century.” I’ll let you all read the post to get a grasp on her rambling, unorganized thoughts.
As a feminist, I find myself completely disconnected from what “mainstream” women think and feel about women’s issues. And this is a prime example of how a minority of white, pro-Hillary Clinton feminists have further pushed the cause into the extreme corner of the American brain. Newsflash: this feminist could care less if President Obama plays golf or basketball with a bunch of dudes.
It’s imperative that I point out that I do not recall Presidents Clinton and the Bushes being called out for excluding women and minorities from their cabinets and sporting events. Sure, Clinton did appoint the highest number of women and minorities to his cabinet, but he never golfed with women. And the only minority he (publicly?) golfed with was Vernon Jordan. And George W. Bush…well, let’s say he NEVER surrounded himself with women or minorities unless he was about to appoint them to a position (which was rare).
But, why is it expected more from Obama than the previous two presidents? Why is the nation’s first black president expected to be inclusive and the two baby boomers who preceded him were given a pass? Why have white women jumped to criticize Obama for having a “frat-boy” mentality towards women when they were all but mum on the previous presidents’ same behavior?
There has always been a disconnect between white feminists and black feminists on various issues, but the election of Obama, in my opinion, has further expanded that divide. During the campaign, white feminists and black feminists were divided on their split support for Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton: white feminists went into the Clinton camp and black feminists backed Obama. White feminists and other women claimed racism and charged Obama got the Democratic nomination, in part, because of his skin color. In a March 12, 2008, post, I challenged feminists such as Ferraro to look at why they continue to harbor such resentment for people of color, particularly black men and examine their own feelings of superiority and racism towards black men. Gloria Steinem’s New York Times Op-Ed she penned in January 2008 further perpetuates her subconscious feeling that Obama’s race is more unifying than Sen. Clinton’s gender and, thus, has propelled him to the White House.
I want to remind feminists not to get bogged down in minuscule issues such as who Obama plays golf with because it just doesn’t matter. The majority of Americans came together and voted for Obama to get this country back on track after eight years of dysfunction and isolation. We need to remind ourselves that the business of inadequate health care, an ever-expanding gap between rich and poor, a lingering recession and various social inequalities should be our top agenda.
Sure, we should expect him to be as diverse and inclusive in who he hires and appoints. But, if we want to see our dreams of adequate health care, gay rights, equal protection under the law, a diminishing gap between the rich and poor become a reality, we need not let 2012 be a year of “divide and conquer.”