Thursday, December 6, 2007

If Senator Clinton Is a Bitch Then So am I

Why does the combination of being female and powerful and sucessful = bitch?

I am tired of people refering to Senator Clinton as a "bitch" for no other reason than the fact that she is a woman running for President of the United States of America and she is still in the lead in all of the key polls. If she was a man she would have twice as much support behind her and probably also have twice as much money in the bank. However, even with all the support that Senator Clinton does have, there is still a huge percentage of the population who like to use words such as "cold" and "calculating" to describe her, and my question for them is why?

I know this much, when I run for office, if I have the resources that she has I will not hesitate to use them to their fullest potential. Political campaigns are long, dirty affairs and someone always goes home hurt, so why not use every legal means of winning that there is? I know somewhere my grandmother is saying, Jennifer that isn't very lady like behavior, but that is my point. Politics is not a women's game. It is not a man's game either. It is just the dirties game out there today, and to go out there as a woman and play with there with those boys, who think that they are so tough, you have to be TWICE as loud, raise TWICE as much money, and proove to the world that you can save this country just as well as the OWMs (Old White Men).

So yes, if by playing by the political rules, Senator Clinton is deemed to be a "bitch" by a large part of society, I guess that just makes me one too and I am okay with that.

Monday, December 3, 2007

19 year old running for mayor

I was very intrigued when I learned a local college student was running for mayor. Nineteen year old Nicole Burlew, a junior at Towson University majoring in Political Science, is running for mayor of Aberdeen, MD. Aberdeen is a city located in Hartford County with a population of approximately 13,842 according to the 2000 Census. Burlew is running against incumbent Mayor Fred Simmons, and Michael Bennett, a retired state trooper. She supports raises for the police officers in Aberdeen, advocating using revenue from Ripken Stadium for the city, and giving tax breaks to senior citizens.
Although she has never voted and her only leadership position has been as Vice President of the Spanish club, Burlew is very serious about becoming mayor. She feels that her age does not matter. She wants to make a difference and her passion should outweigh her age. A teenager running for office is not that all unusual, and it is possible for one to win. Kyle Corbin, 18, and Michael Sessions, 20, are living proof of this; Corbin is the mayor of Union, Oregon and Sessions is the mayor of Hillsdale, Michigan.
Her choice to run has already impressed Brian Young, president of the Harford County Young Republicans and Paul McCartney, professor of Political Science at Towson University. Brian Young commends Burlew for identifying the issues that prompted her candidacy and her ability to discuss those issues with intelligence and passion. He thinks her willingness to discuss how to improve Aberdeen with anyone who has ideas that could benefit the city would make her a mayor that could serve the citizens well. Young also said he would like to see more young people take the initiative and play a role in their community's government. He thinks Nicole is leading the effort to bring common sense to government. McCartney feels that if Burlew succeeds in her bid for mayor, then it will send a powerful message to other people her age that they can make a difference as well. He states that current government policies are tilted in favor of older people and if more young people started becoming actively involved in politics, then it would start to balance the policies.
I can’t wait to hear the outcome of the election. If Burlew is elected, she will become the first teenage female mayor. What an exciting accomplishment!
PLEASE leave comments!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

How do we beat the bitch?

With two months until the 2008 Presidential primaries kicks off, the race is more controversial than ever. There was two planted questions at a Hillary Clinton campaign: Clinton campaign workers approached two audience members and told them to ask Hillary about her plan to fight global warming and how she was standing up to President Bush on the question of funding the Iraq war and a troop withdrawal timeline. Another instance was the arrest of Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu for committing fraud 12 years ago. The newest controversy happened last week and has outraged me the most. On the campaign trail last week, an outspoken woman in the audience asked Senator John McCain, “How do we beat the bitch?” It was obvious to everyone that she was referring to Senator Hillary Clinton. Without hesitation, McCain responded by laughing and remarked “that is a good question.” He then proceeded to answer the question! While this story has been plastered all over the news because of the poor way McCain handled the situation, the important question to ask is: Why is it okay to call a woman candidate a bitch, but if any of the minority candidates, such as Barack Obama, was called a racial slur there would be hell to pay? We as a nation have come a long way in regards to racism. However, we seem to be lagging in the gender equality department. I’m sure society would even be up in arms if someone asked Hillary “how do you beat the bastards?” It is my opinion that a woman candidate should be treated like the other candidates; the use of derogatory terms is unacceptable. It seems while our society has embraced diversity of the 2008 Presidential election and rejected gender equality. Why is this? It is because people believe the Iron Lady myth, which states that women politicians are cold and aggressive. Senator Clinton does not act any differently from any of the male candidates, but maybe that is the problem. Society expects her to be different because she’s a woman. Try spending a half hour with her rather than watching her on TV for a half hour, you will see differently. Until then, it seems the 2008 Presidential race will be a crusade to “beat the bitch.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Myth of the Iron Lady

Attila the Hen, the Old Witch, the Iron Frau. No, these are not fairytale characters. These are actual nicknames of some of the first female leaders around the world. Women leaders are perceived as masculine by both men and women because of the misconception that the only way a woman could last in the political arena was by being tough. Experiments have shown that women are not more ruthless than men who rise to the top, but women leaders are perceived as being more ruthless because of society’s stereotypes about women and leadership. They are either seen as friendly and incompetent or cold and competent. The women who are friendly and incompetent could not possibly be leaders. However, those with leadership potential must be stripped of all their personable traits because it is a man’s world. While both men and women are aggressive, this term is associated with women leaders simply because they are women. This is the argument made by New York Time’s writer Shankar Vedantam in his article “The Myth of the Iron Lady”.

Reading this article made me question my own perceptions about women leaders. While I am all for “girl power”, I realized I have made statements about women leaders, such as Hillary Clinton, in the past that invoke these stereotypes. I remember losing my cool when I had learned that Hillary Clinton had been elected Senator. I thought to myself. “what’s the next step in her quest for world domination, the Presidency?” I also remember my college professor made a joke when my classmates and I were taking our Recent U.S. History final last semester. He said, “whoever comes up with the best nickname for Hillary Clinton will get extra credit. Write it on the last page of your blue books.” It gave us a good laugh and some of us even came up with some witty nicknames (let your imagination run wild) even though we knew we would not be getting the extra credit. I now ask myself “how can I be for girl power yet uphold society’s stereotypes of women?” “I can’t,” I answered myself.

So the next time I see Hillary on TV campaigning for the Presidency, I will think to myself “ I am sure she is a friendly woman; she just appears so cold on TV because she has to prove to the American people that she’s not incompetent and she cannot have her male running mates thinking she is weak. She’s not trying to take over the world. She’s trying to make history. Girl Power!”

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hillary Clinton: First Female President?

Hillary Clinton: First Female President?

As a Republican, it is assumed that I will vote the Republican ticket in the 2008 Presidential election. However, as a woman, I was interested in learning more about Hillary Clinton. Here is what I have found. Hillary Clinton has accomplished a lot in her lifetime:

  • the first commencement speaker ever at her Wellesley College graduation
  • served on the House Judiciary Committee which had to decide whether or not to impeach President Nixon
  • founder of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
  • appointed by President Carter to serve on the U.S. Legal Services Corporation
  • leader of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession which pioneered national awareness for issues such as sexual harassment and equal pay
  • named one of the Top 100 influential lawyers of America (twice)
  • First Lady who used her power to champion for women’s rights and universal health care
  • wrote two bestselling books
  • a United States Senator representing New York and the only First Lady that has been elected to public office.

She is the twelfth woman to run for the Presidency and if elected, she will make history by becoming the first woman President. Currently, Hillary is ahead of her Democratic forerunners in the primary polls, including Senator Barack Obama who has Oprah’s vote. There are two primary reasons for Hillary’s lead. Women across the nation, especially those who belong to the “baby boom” generation who have seen a woman’s role in society change substantially in their lifetime, want a woman president because it would be a source of pride and historic milestone.* She has been praised on her campaign website by and shaken hands with all types of women, working, stay at home moms, and elderly who were born before women could vote, who are pleased of her forerunner status. Another reason is because everybody knows her name; her husband is former President Clinton, an excellent president and highly respected even to this day by the American people. If elected President, the issues Hillary will address include:

  • strengthening the middle class
  • providing affordable and accessible health care
  • ending the war in Iraq
  • promoting energy independence and ending global warming
  • implementing proper treatment of war veterans
  • advocating for children’s and their parents’ rights
  • restoring America’s reputation as a preeminent leader of peace and freedom championing for women’s rights
  • initiating comprehensive government reform
  • strengthening democracy.**

Some of or all of these issues are important to the American people, some of who (like me) think “its about time something was done about this.” Only the outcome of the Presidential primary after the New Year will tell whether or not Hilary will make it once step closer to the Presidency.

*From Eugene Robinson’s article “The Power of Madam President” in the Washington Post

** From Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Website:

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Why Should I Vote?

With the 2008 Presidental Election approaching, you are either excited to vote because you are passionate about politics and/or the possibility of having a woman President, or you are not sure about whether you are going to vote or have decided that you are not going to vote because politics is of no interest to you. When I was in high school, my mindset was the latter. Sure, there were political issues I was passionate about, but I never acted on that passion by getting involved in politics. However, once I was 18, that all slowly changed.

I was 18 just in time for the 2004 Presidental election and like most people my age, I registered to vote. Now the question became, would I vote? I made the decision to vote because after working for the local Re-elect George Bush campaign to earn some money, for which I called constituents asking for their vote and canvassed the neighborhood dropping off Bush propoganda, I felt that my vote did matter. I voted by absentee ballot on election day to re-elect Bush, who obviously won.

You are probably now wondering why I decided to vote to re-elect Bush. I did my research in which I discovered Bush was an advocate of the issues I cared about and working for the Re-Elect George Bush Campaign influenced me. I just did not want to go to the polls and play eenie meenie minnie moe to decide who I was going to vote for; I wanted to go in knowing I voted for someone because I did the research and made an informed decision based on that research.

Since Bushs' re-election, I have voted in a Pennsylvania government election in which my vote helped put both Ed Rendell in office for PA governor and Bob Casey to replace the incumbent Rick Santorum for PA Senator, and in a primary county election for my neighbor Mary Lou Readinger for Plymouth Township Council, who won the primary and will or will not be elected in November. I intend to continue voting.

For those of you eligible to vote in the 2008 election, I highly reccomend that you not only register to vote, but vote in the primaries and election as well. I also encourage you to do research on all the possible costintuents before deciding who you are going to vote for. It is so important that when you go to the polls or vote by absentee ballot, and you press the button or check off the box that corresponds with the candidate you choose, you realize this person is going to be representing you for the next year, two years, four years, etc.

Your vote in the primaries will help decide which Democratic or Republican candidate, depending on which party you register for, will run in November for the presidency. If you are a Democrat and want to see the Republicans out of office, a Republican who wants the Republicans to stay in office, or a woman for Hillary because you realize it is time for a woman president and/or she represents what you stand for, voting in the primary is crucial.

When the primary is over and it is time to vote for the next President, the process starts over again because now you have to choose between the candidate for your party, the candidate for the opposing party, and a ton of independent candidates. After seeing who wins the primaries and doing even more research, you might even decide to change your vote. Either way, your vote will mater.

To find out the date of your state's primary, go to:

To register to vote, go to:

Please Comment!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Getting Past the Popularity Contest

Let’s do a little free association. What words come to mind when you hear the words “student council election?” Hmmm . . . how ‘bout “popularity contest?”

Studies have shown that young women are more likely to pursue politics later in life if they get involved in student government. It’s good training for later campaigns and it can actually be fun. But who wouldn’t cringe when your opponent might be the captain of the football team, has flunked U.S. History, and runs with a slogan like “Vote for Todd, He Rocks!” It makes your civic minded, way-more-mature brain cells want to just scream.

But hold on! You can still win!! The key to every political victory is knowing your target demographic. If you wouldn’t characterize yourself as one of the “popular people,” fear not! You just have to do some grassroots work. The best thing about not being one of the popular people is that you are actually in the majority. This means more votes for you if you know where to find them. You may not hang out with the band kids, the jocks, the art crowd or whatever other species exists in your high school’s ecosystem, but you all probably share one thing in common: you can’t stand people who assume superiority based on nothing more than their physical and behavioral “cuteness.” So unite with your peers and convince them that they have everything to gain by your representation.

One final thought about the whole popularity thing. Why shouldn’t a smart, articulate, responsible young woman be popular? You might not be giving yourself enough credit and you may be more popular than you think.

If anyone has had some student government election success, let’s hear about it! Post your experience!

Friday, September 7, 2007


Welcome to the Running Start Blog. We invite young women everywhere to share their views on politics with us. As an organization, our mission is to educate girls and young women about the importance of being politically active.

Please feel free to share your views on politics. Left, Right, or Center we are open to all political opinions, provided that they are presented respectfully. To participate on the blog you can either respond to posts or request to be a blogger.