The Grammys: A Story of Race, Gender and Recognition
The Grammys were on mid-month, and women took center stage. The theme was the power of women and the LGBTQ community, as even former First Lady Michelle Obama showed up for her girls. CNN correspondent, Lisa Respers France, writes: "Yes, the Recording Academy has historically had an issue with a lack of women among the Grammy winners and nominees. But damn—someone forgot to tell tonight's show that. The women presenters and performers have been killing it all night. From the impassioned words of Alicia Keys and Michelle Obama to the singular visions of Janelle Monáe and H.E.R. to the female-driven Dolly Parton tribute to Kacey Musgraves' killer ballad to Camilla Cabello reminding us of why we love Havana and East Atlanta, it's been a total ladies night. Then there was Cardi B. Her performance was a basically a full-on cabaret show. And maybe a preview of her forthcoming Las Vegas residency? It was fire okkkurrrrr? Cardi's husband Offset clearly thought so too, based on his expressions whenever the camera caught him in the audience. So, yes, lack of diversity—both with race and gender—has sometimes been a problem for the Grammys. But tonight's performances so far have once again underscored the point that there's so much talent to be recognized."
There were, we cannot fail to note, some disagreements as to whether the Grammys were successful. “It is sad, and entirely the Grammys’ fault. Over the last decade, in fact, no black artists have won Album of the Year, with the Recording Academy instead opting for questionable recipients like, say, the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack in lieu of Outkast’s Stankonia, or Mumford & Sons’ Babel instead of Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange. When Adele took home Album of the Year for the second time in 2017, besting Beyoncé’s masterpiece Lemonade, she acknowledged how outrageous it was that Queen Bey hadn’t yet taken home the hardware. “What the fuck does she have to do to win Album of the Year?” Adele remarked. “That’s how I feel.” Yes, the Grammys has a big race problem, and all the Michelle Obama cameos in the world can’t fix it” writes Marlow Stern for The Daily Beast.
State of The Union
The women in white were the most talked about aspect of Trump’s windy, overlong State of the Union address this month. "For anyone who has ever thought that the use of clothing as a political tool was frivolous or overstated, or groaned at yet another piece insisting that a woman in a white pantsuit was making a statement, there was no better riposte than the State of the Union address on Tuesday night," wrote Vanessa Friedman of the Times the morning after. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, clad in white seated behind the President, cemented that argument.
The bold statement—dozens of the members of Congress wearing coordinated white to the august speech— is a reference to the Suffragettes. One hundred years ago, the efforts of the Suffragettes led to the right of women to vote in America. The decision to wear Suffragette White, initiated by the Democratic Women’s Working Group, provided a stark visual reminder of the differences between the Republican and Democrat sides of the aisle. “Tonight the @HouseDemWomen are wearing suffragette white to remind the president that we—and the rights our ancestors fought for—aren't going anywhere. #SOTU #SOTU2019," tweeted Representative Val Demings.
Nancy Pelosi Defeated Trump Over Shutdown
Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful women in American government, defeated Trump over the shutdown last week. Even Ann Coulter, a Trump fellow traveller on the right, conceded that Pelosi essentially won the government shutdown. During the course of the border contretemps, Trump personally lost eight approval points. "The ABC News/Washington Post poll is merely the latest to show that Trump's approval rating was plummeting," Harry Enten of CNN writes. "In average of all recent polls, Trump's net approval rating had dropped 6 points compared to before the shutdown. Moreover, it was clear that the longer the shutdown, the worse it was getting for Trump.”
Amy Klobuchar For President In 2020
Senator Amy Klobuchar entered the 2020 Presidential race mid-February. “I don’t have a political machine. I don’t come from money. But what I do have is this: I have grit,” the Senator said as she announced her presidential campaign in a Minnesota snowstorm. Many of the women candidates—and, curiously none of the declared men—spent the weekend getting attacked on social media for shallow reasons. Trump mocked Senator Klobuchar for being a “snowwoman;” Senator Harris faced a fake anti-marijuana tweet that went viral among potential young voters; Senator Gillibrand was attacked for the way she eats fried chicken. The trolling of women online is an established fact, but that doesn’t make it any less disturbing watching it happen in real time to Presidential candidates.
Senator Klobuchar’s candidacy, with a memorable, snowy rollout, was sidetracked by reports of staff “horror stories,” according to Politico. This sounded a little too much like the b-word. "I want a strong female president!" Tweeted writer Lauren Hough of the controversy. "Not her though. I heard she’s kind of a bitch." Would a driven male candidate have faced the same coverage? "And they have to be attractive but not too attractive," added MLK on Twitter. “By contrast if you’re a straight white man running for office all you have to do is show up," Tweeted Oliver Willis. "Sometimes not even that.”
The Women For 2020 Presidential Election
2016 was the Year of the Woman, and 2020 is gearing up to be an even bigger Year of the Woman wave election. Five women lawmakers—Senators Warren, Harris, Gillibrand, Gabbard, and Klobuchar—have declared their intention to run for President, which is an astonishing number. “We’ve never seen this before, this is part of the revolution of women, of political progress,” said Debbie Walsh, director of Rutgers University's Center for American Women in Politics on FoxNews.com. “We’ve never had multiple women like this, running on one side. In the Democratic primary debates, the stage is going to look different.” Also astonishing is the sisterhood expressed between the candidates, despite the online trolls and shallow scrutiny. "I’m so excited to have three of my Senate sisters officially in the race for the presidency—fearless women fighting for progressive values and changing the face of leadership. What a great weekend for America,” tweeted New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
On social media many are asking—considering the fact that five sitting women Senators are running—if one of them will end up on the ticket? And, if not, has the fact that so many qualified women are running for President made it politically impossible for the Democrat party to run a male-male ticket (like the Republicans are geared to do in 2020?). Further, after her very strong response to the President’s State of the Union speech there is growing talk that Gubernatorial candidate from Georgia Stacey Abrams could be a strong potential running mate for the ticket should a male candidate win a close race during the primaries. This is clearly a broken glass ceiling moment and perhaps the work of Hillary Clinton has been deeply overlooked, putting this all into perspective.
To Live Here, You Have to Fight
Jezebel ran a fascinating excerpt entitled “The Appalachian Women’s Rights Organization and The Lost Promises of Feminism.” It is a story on the evolution of the Appalachian Women's Rights Organization and the challenges faced. As passion for justice and equality arose to match Appalachian women’s local needs for welfare, work programs and economic security, alliances with feminist movements in Kentucky, southwestern Virginia and North Carolina were created with the inability to foresee the differences with the local needs of these women, which were based on middle-class ideologies for credit, employment, salaries, real estate, day care, and the campaign to pass the ERA. The excerpt highlights the broken promises to reach equality of the sexes regardless of the territory, and the formation of the multiple feminist waves and social positionings.