Dear President Obama, I voted for you as a citizen, not a daughter, wife, or mother

I’ll have a longer post on the State of the Union speech later, but for now, here’s one nitpick. In making a plug for the Violence Against Women Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act, President Obama said:

“We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace and free from the fear of domestic violence.”

Like Melissa–and many other feminists I saw on Twitter–I really, really hate this framing. (And he used it more than once last night.) As I’ve written before, I think it is counter-productive and offensive to continually ask men to imagine a female relation when calling on them to support women’s basic rights.

More to the point in this case, last time I checked the State of Union, while delivered to Congress, is a message to whole nation. I mean, I know women only make up 20 percent of Congress, but President Obama is surely aware that we make up half of the population. (After all, he was elected thanks to women–mainly single women, I might add.) So it indefensible, and frankly weird, that he so often “appears to be talking to The Men of America about Their Women.”

You can sign Shakesville’s petition here.

New Orleans, LA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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