The Wednesday Weigh-In: Sandra Fluke for President edition

In an interview yesterday, current feminist media darling and America’s de facto birth control spokesperson Sandra Fluke confessed that she’ds  been receiving requests to run for public office– and that it wasn’t something she had totally ruled out. Via HuffPo:

“Numerous American women have actually written to me in the last few weeks to say that I should run for office,” Fluke noted during a panel discussion on women’s history hosted by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.). “And maybe someday I will. But for now, I actually have to finish law school.”

While I appreciate the subversive quality of a “slut” slur catapulting a woman into a position of power, I’m not sure how to feel about the idea of Sandra in a leadership position just yet. I agree with her stance on birth control, and don’t know much else about her politics.

But Eesha has written really eloquently about the “birth control divide”. As she rightly points out, when advocates like Sandra Fluke make a point of saying that they’re talking about private funding dollars and not federal dollars,  they reinforce the idea that there it’s more controversial to use federal money for reproductive health care. As Eesha put it, ” they are doing a grave disservice to those women who rely on federal money for health care…That’s not reproductive rights, it does not fully support reproductive choice, it’s a short-sighted strategy and I would argue it’s not a feminist position at all.”

Since I’m feeling so ambivalent, I’ll put the question to you, readers. This week’s weigh-in centers on centrism:

If Sandra Fluke ran for office, would she be a feminist candidate you’d feel proud to call your own?

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is Executive Director of Partnerships at Feministing, where she enjoys creating and curating content on gender, race, class, technology, and the media. Lori is also an advocacy and communications professional specializing in sexual and reproductive rights and health, and currently works in the Global Division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A graduate of Harvard University, she lives in Brooklyn.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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  • kcar1

    I agree, I don’t know enough about her politics but I do like the idea of someone like her using the notoriety that she’s gained to enter politics.

    I would disagree slightly with Eesha. Every comment I’ve heard her make about the private-vs.-federal dollars issue is that she was clarifying what she was testifying about specifically in reference to Limbaugh’s demand for the sex videos in exchange for tax-payer-funded birth control. The fact that she was testifying about a specific ACA regulation promulgated by HHS regarding private employer-provided health insurance was widely misrepresented in right wing media -surprise, surprise – and not well-corrected by the MSM – again, surprise, surprise. However, both times I remember hearing her speak about it, she followed it up immediately with something to the effect that federally-funded healthcare should also provide coverage for the full spectrum of birth control options — that was just not what she was talking about.

    It never ceases to amaze me how the right wing media can manage to link to completely contradictory stances about the same issue, in the same news cycle (I am sure the left wing does it to a certain extent too but the right wing has elevated it to an art form). Some how the uproar over Fluke’s pseudo-testimony was both about religious freedom – hence the all-male panel of clergy from which she was excluded and the reference to her as a “Georgetown co-ed” – and tax-payer funded health care… at the same time from the same people. I hadn’t realized the wall between church and state had eroded so much.

  • wonderwall

    I think we should be encouraging more women to run for public office in general, and Sandra Fluke seems like a great candidate. She is eloquent, has been handling the media circus quite well, and at first glance appears to be a great supporter of women’s repo rights. I’m not sure why the tone of doubt is inserted here?

    Of course I don’t know how she stands on the other issues important to me, and to ever consider voting for her I’d have to know those stances… but at this moment, I’m just excited to see someone (a female someone) who may have never thought about running for office considering it.

  • GinaMaria

    After watching the clip of Sandra Fluke on The View in which she made those comments, I did not have the impression that she was undermining the legitimacy of public funding for birth control. I actually got the opposite impression: that public funding for birth control is more widely accepted, and that she was testifying against this discrimination by private companies, which people seem to find more acceptable than public or government discrimination. (Hence some religious organizations assuming that exceptions to required coverage for private insurance providers based on their individual belief systems would be more palatable to the public than trying to change public-funded coverage). So, this interpretation of Sandra Fluke’s comments may not have been intended, and may not have been everyone’s impression. Perhaps we should ask Sandra Fluke to clarify this comment?

  • Rebecca

    I understand the analysis embedded in Eesha’s critique but I strongly feel that we should not question a person’s feminist commitments because that person demands accuracy around what she actually IS talking about- and I don’t think accuracy in public debate does a disservice to women at all.

    I’ve seen some more recent pieces from Sandra Fluke (like this piece at CNN: where she clarifies her position that “the government already does and should fund contraception coverage for the poorest women in our country.”