Nov. 4 marked another election day for the United States. Scott Walker was granted another term as governor in Wisconsin and women from various backgrounds took their places as governors or as part of congress nationwide, such as Alma Adams from North Carolina and Joni Ernst from Iowa.
Immediately after Election Day, the Washington Post published an article titled, “Tuesday was a big night for women candidates – but not women’s issues.”
Although I agree that individuals in our government should take more of an interest in women’s rights issues, I was struck by the content of this article. Not because of how women’s issues were not given priority but because of one simple phrase used: “war on women.” The article talks about how voters embraced women candidates; however, “they were not at all interested in the ‘war’ on them.”
This phrase immediately caught my attention because I find it to be appalling.
I noticed that this phrase is not parallel to other “war on…” phrases used in the media, such as war on drugs, war on terrorism or war on gang violence. In each of these examples the subject matter placed at the end is always negative and it’s the topic that we are at “war” with. In that respect, “war on women” sends a negative message about women.
What really unsettles me the most about this topic is the fear that perhaps phrasings such as this are perpetuating an image of women as victims. I think that most women can agree that women’s rights as a whole have come very far. We have voices, we have a place in our government whether it’s local or national, and we’ve made advances towards creating a positive image of women.
Some of these advancements include advocating for confidence in young women by brands such as Dove and Special K. Or how about the advancements that protect women against domestic violence such as the 1994 Violence Against Women Act?
Of course women’s issues will always have a place in society and there are still many concerns that have yet to be addressed, but I think one of the most important steps towards advancement is presenting more positive images of women, as a whole, regardless of which political party they identify with.
How did the Washington Post’s article make you feel? What comes to mind when you hear “war on women?”