Trivialising Clinton, trivialising women

Judith Warner has an excellent column out.

This was supposed to be the trip that would show exactly how Hillary Rodham Clinton would make good on her pledge, at her confirmation hearing for secretary of state, to make women’s issues “central” to U.S. foreign policy, not “adjunct or auxiliary or in any way lesser.”

There could have been no more dramatic setting: Overruling the security fears of her aides, she traveled to eastern Congo, where hundreds of thousands of women have been raped over the past decade. She visited a refugee camp and met with one woman who was gang-raped while eight months pregnant; she heard of another who’d been sexually assaulted with a rifle. She was told of babies cut from their mothers’ bodies with razors. She spoke of “evil in its basest form.” She promised $17 million to fight sexual violence.

And back home, all anyone could talk about was Bill.

Kate Lindemann, on the excellent SWIP-L, thinks we should make untrivialising women’s issues a major cause. And I think she’s right. She writes:

Can we use this incident to focus on this issue of trivialization that
under girds SO many of the problems women face?

I would like to urge everyone to read Warner’s piece. I would like to urge
all faculty members on this list to include this issue of trivialization
in next semester’s courses. Begin with Clinton’s Africa trip but I am
sure that it will spill out into all aspects of current life.

I would like to urge every student to save a copy of Warner’s piece and
to raise the issues she address in classes next Fall.

I would ask that those who are Internet literate, go to Warner’s piece, read it and LEAVE A COMMENT so the NY Times recognizes that this is an important issue – that maybe women care about it and that we will be heard.

Warner’s article offers us a very special political opening. I plead with
you not to waste it.