Feminist Leaders Gather in Support of Obama: Declaring “Bring it” and “You Ain’t Seen Nothin Yet”
Posted by Laurel Conrad on July 11, 2012
The National Organization for Women (NOW), Feminist Majority, National Congress of Black Women, US Women Connect, and Women’s Information Network gathered at the National Press Club today to convey their support for President Obama and Vice President Biden. The theme would be the “War on Women” allegedly waged by conservatives against women everywhere.
When putting together my feminist-chic ensemble for today’s press conference, I lamented that I own too much pink.
Eleanor Smeal, President at Feminist Majority, gave the opening remarks. She said that we are facing a climate in which issue after issue is under assault at either the state or federal level. She began with a background of the term “War on Women” which denotes conservatives’ “attack on women’s fundamental rights”.
She said that “Romney is a stunning comparison” to Obama and that this election is a “stunning contrast with one group favoring and pushing into the future for equality for women”. She undoubtedly referenced Obama. Conservatives would disagree on which group is really advocating for equality for men and women, and which group just wants free contraception.
She continued that “the unthinkable is happening- a fight over birth control”.
Smeal then became emotional. She cited her long history of feminist activism and stated that “I believe that in this election everything is on the line” and bemoaned that the Supreme Court is a primary issue because Romney likes Judge Robert Bork, who believes that “politicians at the state level should be able to decide women’s birth control”. This is apparently appalling to her. She remarked that it is a “disgrace that we’re even discussing it”. She believes that Mitt Romney wishes to “stop the clock and turn us back to yester year”.
The next feminist to the podium was Terry O’Neill, the President of the National Organization for Women (NOW), who said that “women’s basic physical safety is on the line” and that conservatives will “coddle the [rape] criminals”. Side note: Republicans have a long history of protecting criminals and Democrats do not. Oh wait, no, it’s the Democrats who typically fight the death penalty and legislate for criminals to have more rights.
She called this election an “ideological fight”.
She next stated that “family planning is at the base of women’s economic welfare”. Conservatives would argue that having a job is at the base of women’s economic welfare.
O’Neill accused conservatives of wanting to take benefits from women to give to the military spending. This is outrageous because “that’s not where the women are!” She endorsed Obama because “based on his record and based on his plans for women, he is the way forward for equality”. She further praised him by saying “President Obama listens and responds and this is not something we can say for the other party in this atmosphere right now”.
E. Faye Williams, the National Chair of National Congress of Black Women (NCBW) was notably impassioned in her speech. She remarked that Obama “cares about women and girls” and has given women an infrastructure in his White House. She further praised Obama by saying “this White House is conducting a war for women”, in contrast with conservatives who are waging a war against women. She passionately exclaimed “We women won’t go back” and “You ain’t seen nothin yet.”
During the Q&A, I asked how college women would be affected by the war against women.
O’Neill of NOW replied that “the most important thing is, where are going?” “Are we going to continue to be marginalized? Birth control is a settled question… we are over ½ of students… how dare they debate if they’re going to turn back Title 9?” On the job market, she said “one of the reasons the job market is so bad” is because of “layoffs of people working in social programs… layoffs worst in places taken over by Tea Party extremists… the very people Romney has supported”
I asked Williams of the National Congress of Black Women afterwards if people who are pro-women should support all women candidates, not just democrat ones. She replied that we should vote “based upon issues” for “women first- democratic women” and that “usually democrats support our issues”. In other words… no.