I've eagerly anticipated the series premiere of Scandal, Shonda Rhimes's new foray into DC politics and the people who manage political personalities (and their many issues) behind the scenes. Led by Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope—a legendary game changer with connections all the way to White House leadership—a lawyer-heavy, fast-talking team of People Who Excel have become a kind of Leverage-like problem solvers. (It's just that these problems and situations don't require nearly as many rappel lines or night vision goggles.) I was curious to see what kind of woman Rhimes would create to unravel the misdeeds of political figures, since she's given us other strong-minded, independent women of color in Cristina Yang and Callie Torres on Grey's Anatomy. And with one huge, gaping caveat, I wasn't disappointed in the first episode.
Anyone who's spent time on a social networking site, watched cable news, or opened their email inbox in the last two months has probably heard about the "GOP's war on women." From placing humiliating barriers between women and their reproductive health to erasing domestic violence laws out of the criminal code and denouncing any woman in the workplace or on birth control, the attacks have been constant this primary campaign cycle. I'm happy to return to Bitch's blog to discuss politics and feminism in the popular cultural sphere, but this go-round I'll be looking specifically at fictional politicians and policy makers. I'll be asking about what kinds of stories we find in these narrative portrayals and looking for connections to the continuing commentary about women from elected officials and those seeking office.
We are still early in the 2012 election cycle, but already the primary phase has had its share of missed opportunities, hilariously inaccurate statements, and misplaced emphases. Defining those moments is probably up to some debate, but here are some candidates:
If aliens are evaluating whether to visit Earth and reveal their secrets of the universe, they had better not be looking at TMZ.com in their analysis, or they'd certainly reject the idea. Once again, two scandals about men who misappropriated technology and then lied about it have made headlines, and once again not much is happening because of it. If a politician or activist falls in the forest, will anyone notice? Here I've listed a few notable aspects of the "caught red-handed" denial game political operatives play. Gentlemen, consider yourselves prime candidates for the Douchebag Decree.
Catch up with Political InQueery and Grey's Rounds contributor Everett Maroon as we talk about the Obama Administration's LGBT initiatives, how GOP candidates are beginning to frame Obama's presidency thusfar, predictions for summer politics, and yes, Weinergate (with apologies to the Watergate Hotel).
As you've probably heard by now, the House voted last week to cut federal funding for Title X, which would in turn U.S. bar Planned Parenthood health centers from all federal funding. If you're reading Bitch, you probably agree with us that this is a bunch of completely outrageous bullshit. If you haven't already signed the online petition to let the House and Senate know that you stand with Planned Parenthood, do so right now. OK, did you do it? Great! Now let's do more!
Planned Parenthood is also organizing rallies at health centers around the country. A couple of us went to one here in Portland yesterday and it was awesome. Tons of energized people, and some really great rally signs and chants. Check the PP website to find out where they're happening in your area! And in the meantime, let's come up with some signs to make and take with us to these rallies, shall we?
Looks like some members of the GOP must have seen The Daily Show last night, because they've decided to give up on their ridiculous crusade to redefine rape in a bill banning taxpayer subsidies for abortions. Of course, they still want to ban taxpayer subsidies for abortions in most cases, so it's not exactly time to break out the champagne, but at least women who have been raped will not have to prove that the rape they experienced was "forcible" in order to get government assistance for abortions. (You know, because a lack of consent is what defines rape. We know you know.) We'd like to thank Kristen Schaal for tipping the scales in favor of women's rights in this instance. We're sure that her report on last night's Daily Show on the "rape loophole" in our government had something to do with today's decision:
Not long ago, I got into a conversation on Twitter about why feminists love Bruce Springsteen. Of course I can't speak for all feminists or even most feminists, but I can certainly discuss my love for Springsteen. And it seems only right to follow talk about Johnny Cash and U.S. politics with discussion of the other oft-misappropriated American blue-collar icon who's a major influence in my life.
The 2010 midterm elections are over. Well, for the most part. It may be a while before all of the ballots are sorted out in the Alaska Senate race, and there's a recount in North Carolina for a House seat, making nine as yet undecided races in that legislative body. And while Washington, DC may be getting prepared to do the staffer's office shuffle, there is still a lame duck session or two for Congress, a host of court cases coming to the Supreme Court, from which new Justice Kagan will frequently have to recuse herself, and some unfinished business on the Don't Ask Don't Tell front, otherwise known as the Clinton legacy that won't go away. I mean, the other unforgettable legacy of his.