The Case of the Disappearing Woman, the Unidentified Poor, and the Returning Blogger

A number of the feminists I follow on Twitter noticed something during the debates last night: women and their rights weren’t mentioned. I could say the same thing about people in the LGBT community, immigrants, African Americans (although we should be used to it by now), and the civil rights and social issues that most directly impact these groups.

The absence of women, however, stuck out because of our starring roles at both conventions. I’m not sure if it was the question the moderator selected, or the questions he had to choose from. I would be more disturbed by the latter because the moderator said the questions came from regular voters, and if they didn’t ask questions about women’s rights—right to healthcare of their choosing, right to equal pay, etc.—then that means more than half the country isn’t on the minds of voters. I would be glad to consider the silence on women contentment with the current administration’s commitment to women’s rights if I didn’t know those rights were under attack, or if I were ignorant as to the importance of vigilance, or if we hadn’t been flaunted so much at both conventions.

I shouldn’t be surprised. I would say it’s a pattern for most politicians: Attach yourself to the cause of a traditionally disenfranchised or under-represented group when it’s convenient, and forget about them otherwise. Again, black people are used to this. But it’s still wrong. You could say that because the moderator presented no questions about women, there was no opportunity to address their rights, but a large chunk of the debate was devoted to healthcare, and approximately 10 minutes to the role of government. If the legality of having the medical procedures of our choosing performed and our access to affordable healthcare don’t fit into those topics, I’m not sure where else they might come up.

The debate was focused largely on taxes and the economy, but even on those topics, another group was omitted: the poor. Or, rather, the low-income, as Mitt Romney corrected himself. He at least did mention poverty, but only to site than one in six people are living in it, not to share how his policies would assist them in getting out of it. It’s like poor is the newest 4-letter word. Add it to the short list of things you can’t say on TV, or on the campaign trail. At least the poor—or rather, low-income people—weren’t ditched after the convention. They didn’t make it to the stages there, either.

I close this post with a short, personal note: After a month-long hiatus, I’m back. I hope you missed RedboneAfropuff and didn’t stray too far away.

What did you think of the debates? Should social issues have been on the list?

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