During this election cycle, we were told repeatedly that women were not interested in reproductive rights, health care issues, contraceptive coverage or fair pay. We were told that the most important concern of women was the economy, stupid.
Funny how women don't listen to what they're told to believe.
Women put Barack Obama over the top and elected a record-breaking number of women to the Senate because of several key factors. Republican men would do well to heed these points:
We were disgusted by your attitude toward rape. We know that rape is not a subject to be taken lightly, and couldn't understand why you didn't get it. In fact, every time one of you uttered an ignorant remark about rape, we thought it couldn't get worse... and it did. The good news: every single candidate who made a stupid rape/pregnancy/abortion remark lost. Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Paul Ryan all went down in defeat. These candidates were ahead in the polls until they uttered comments laced with ignorance and insensitivity; even worse, they refused to apologize for their remarks. In exit polls, when women voters were asked what influenced their vote, an overwhelming majority said they were made uncomfortable by these remarks.
We'll elect women when qualified candidates are put before us. If you think that we'll vote for a pit bull with lipstick, you're wrong. A smart substantive female candidate will trump a pretty, vapid one every time. We want more Elizabeth Warrens and fewer Sarah Palins. This year saw the most female candidates ever running for Congress and many of them won. A record number will enter the Senate in 2013 including Deb Fischer (Nebraska), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin) who is the nation's first openly gay Senator, and Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts).
We'll come out and vote in droves when we feel threatened. Deny it all you want, but we know when we're being attacked and our hard-won rights are being trampled. There *is* a war against women, and it's white Republican men who are on the offense. If you thought we were going to "go gentle into that good night," you were sadly mistaken. As you now realize, we raged, raged against your misogyny on Election Night (apologies to Dylan Thomas) and summarily rejected those who went after us. The pen is mightier than the sword, but the voting booth is the best revenge of all.
We are the majority of voters. More women than men came out to vote this year, and typically that's the case. And a greater percentage of women who are eligible to vote came out to the polls than the the percentage of men who are eligible to vote.
We are growing. Hear us roar. While the backbone of the GOP -- white males -- are on the decline, the group least likely to vote for Republican candidates( like Romney) is the group that's growing the fastest. Unmarried women supported Barack Obama in the greatest numbers (68% voted for him) and as the largest segment of the rising American electorate (RAE), we are already changing the face of the "average" American voter. Unmarried women comprise 37% of the RAE -- a group that has grown 19% in the past decade.
The take-home message is this: Don't threaten us. Don't tell us what to do. Don't assume you can control us. When our back is against the wall, that's when we come into our power.
You don't have to be a fan of the film Dirty Dancing to recognize that famous line uttered by Patrick Swayze: "Nobody puts Baby in the corner." Well, during the months leading up to the 2012 election, there were many, many attempts to put us in the corner. And just like the iconic Baby who defied her parents along with every conventional expectation of how she should behave, we also refused to stay in that corner.
On Election Night 2012, despite what we were told to believe, we showed our would-be handlers that it wasn't the economy, stupid. It was all about ensuring that our rights as women were maintained and protected. Even though they tried to keep us down, we got up and danced.
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