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The First Female Speaker: An Embarrassment to Women’s Rights Leaders

Nancy Pelosi's take on gender issues represents a few steps backward for the West.

by
Sarah Durand

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June 30, 2010 - 12:00 am
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One of these things is not like the other: Joan of Arc, Margaret Thatcher, Susan B. Anthony, Nancy Pelosi.

The first three women represent a class of women who fought to break traditional gender stereotypes, helping advance the cause of women’s equality. They are a small few of the countless warriors in the battle we’ve been fighting since the beginning of time. And, thanks to women like these, we’ve moved ahead by leaps and bounds.

When men go looking for their mates, they no longer club us over the head and drag us by our hair to their caves. We can vote. It’s illegal to pay us lower wages because of our gender. We are no longer expected to stay home with the kids if we want to work. We can ask our husbands to help us with housework. Women’s stockings are seeing a significant decline in sales.

But just when you think all the work has paid off and our goals have come to fruition … we get Nancy Pelosi.

Many were overjoyed at her unprecedented accomplishment of being the first female speaker of the House. But we’ve since discovered that even more unprecedented is her ability to use that position to undo a century of women’s progress. It’s been blunder after blunder, embarrassment after embarrassment. With countless moments, speeches, and legislation to choose from, I’m counting down the reasons why Nancy Pelosi is an embarrassment to women:

Embarrassment #8: Botox

I have no beef with Botox, as long as you pay for yours and I pay for mine. And although Pelosi’s Joan Rivers’ look does not set a good example for our daughters, I understand that vanity tends to accompany power. But how stereotypical is it that when we elect the first female speaker of the House, she helps pass a bill to cover all of Congress’ cosmetic surgery on the taxpayers’ dime?

You’d think that by adding this coverage, Congress would be a better-looking bunch, but no.

Embarrassment #7: Condescension towards women

Pelosi declared that the health care legislation was “personal for women.” Indeed it was — but as an outright attack on married women. Choosing to tie the knot could cost a woman up to $10,000 more annually than if she just keeps a live-in boyfriend. Didn’t she promise this bill would help families struggling to pay medical bills?

About 55% of tea partiers are women, but they are still targets for Pelosi’s name-calling. To Pelosi, women who stand up for freedom are right-wing extremists, likened to Nazis. Way to defend our boldest female voices.

Embarrassment #6: Her negative effect on our children’s future

When first elected speaker, she emphasized — with her most melodramatic movie heroine impression — that it was “for the children.” Practically every bill she supports she defends as “for the children.” Exactly what has she done for our children other than load them up with massive debts? And how many children has she allowed to be killed by voting against a ban on partial-birth abortion?

Embarrassment #5: Saying stupid things

According to Nancy Pelosi, if we hadn’t passed the stimulus bill “500 million Americans would lose their jobs.” It is no surprise we are in a recession when our House speaker believes that birth control and STD prevention stimulate the economy. Illegal immigrants are patriotic, tea partiers are Astroturf, and we needed to pass health care so that artists can quit their jobs and the rest of us can work harder to pay for their health care. Huh?

In an interview with Diane Sawyer, Pelosi referred to her mother as “Mommy.”

In the same interview, when asked what her father used to say to her that meant the most, her answer was: “Make sure you have the votes.” Not “I love you.” I can just see him tucking little Nancy in at night, kissing her on the forehead, and saying: “Make sure you have the votes.”

Embarrassment #4: Saying stupid things in a stupid way

Not everyone is perfectly poised and articulate — that’s why I write. But when your title is “speaker”? Pelosi’s problem is not just what she says, but how she says it. She’s the Paula Abdul of Congress.

At the Catholic Community Conference in early May, Pelosi aimlessly babbled about her favorite word — which apparently is “word”:

There’s nothing quite like an anti-family, pro-abortion advocate preaching a nonsensical interpretation of the Bible to a group of devout Catholics. No Saturday Night Live could better Pelosi’s own unintentionally satirical performance.

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