The banner above features Roseanne Barr and Cindy Sheehan, There are two presidential tickets where the candidates are both women: Roseanne Barr has the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party and her running mate is Cindy Sheehan and Jill Stein has the Green Party's presidential nomination and her running mate is Cheri Honkala.
Two strong women leading two presidential tickets, two feminists with running mates who are also women? That should be catnip to the feminist press.
Instead, it's treated as if it's something to be hidden away by Ms. magazine and Women's Media Center. In Women's Media Center's report entitled [PDF format warning] "Media Guide to Gender Neutrality:"
Name It. Change It. is a nonpartisan joint project of the Women's Media Center and She Should Run. We work to identify, prevent, and end sexist media coverage of federal and gubernatorial women candidates, elected politicians, and high-profile public officials of all races. We monitor coverage by all members of the press -- from bloggers to radio hosts to television pundits. Our goal, to quote Katie Couric, is to "make sexism as repugnant as racism."
Widespread sexism in the media is one of the top problems facing women.
Guess what, silence is sexism. Silence is oppression. Rendering someone invisible has long been a tool of the patriarchy.
So imagine our surprise that Ms. and WMC seem to think they can call out others for sexism but they can continue it at their own websites.
Last week, a petition was started [by Rebecca, to hear C.I. tell it; by Rebecca and C.I. to hear Rebecca tell it] calling on WMC and Ms. to cover the two presidential campaigns. With little attention and no effort to advance the petition from outside the community, it's already gathered over 200 signatures.
More important than the signatures are the comments.
People like Bonnie Pierce of Georgia argue, "Supporting the right of women to run for office means demanding the coverage a campaign needs." Or Oregon's Dana Deitrich offering, "Rejecting the duopoly sounds like feminism to me!"
Over and over, solid points are made like Jeanne van den Hurk of South Carolina explaining, "Please give some serious attention to women in politics! Never mind that it's the 21st century - women are still 'invisible' or at most 'tokens' in politics today. This has to change. You can be part of this change. Seek out [the] women who represent the underdogs and give them attention!"
Some had questions like New York's Robert Rizzuto who wondered, "GLORIA [Steinem] WHERE ARE YOU? How can a magazine supposedly by women for women not cover the women running for president??" California's Rosa Hernandez asked, "If the feminist press will not support the feminist women, why does it exist?" Texas' Brenda West wanted to know, "If we can't count on feminist press to cover women who run for president, what does that say about the feminist press?"
Some signed and offered who they were supporting like Jill Stein supporters Alison Bragg, Larry Franks, Heather Kropf, Mary Gage, Charity Wells, Natalie Means and Marilyn Crawford ; or Roseanne Barr supporters like Irv Sutley, Lauren Smith and Toni Morgan.
Throughout the petition -- and there are many strong comments we don't have room to quote here -- a dialogue is taking place. A slogan making its way through the comments: Women win when women run.
It's about the 99 and the 1 percent for California's Laura Wells. It's about many things and many issues. And two women -- Roseanne Barr and Jill Stein -- are inspiring this dialogue, a dialogue that Ms. or WMC could be leading on about women, politics, democracy, ownership, history and so much more.
Could be leading on.
Instead they're silent.
Their silence doesn't stop the conversation, it just means yet again they're not part of the conversation. Their loss.