Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Individuals as Political Capital: Comments on a Post Feminist World

Kristen Rowe-Finkbeiner has produced a remarkable book about the collapse of feminism in the United States titled The F word: Feminism in Jeopardy. In the book she notes the raise in the involvement of women in the workplace, voluntarism, social work, universities, and political activism which stands in stark contrast to the sudden drop in women who vote and or claim to be feminists.

Rowe explains the many reasons women do not want to be stereotyped as feminists or any other sort of ism or political orientation. She also predicts that the wage gap between women and men will increase and women will lose many of the rights gained over the last decades if they do not return to the ballot box. With this in mind I would like to make a few comments on individuals as political capital.

I believe as citizens of the American Republic we are the majority of the time we are not looked at a source of political value to elected officials. When a person is representative of political capital politicians will cater to their demographic and work hard to meet their needs and wants. There are two ways in which people primarily fail to be a source of political capital. First individuals fail to vote. When a individual, or worse a whole group such as women, fails to vote politicians have no reason to recognize their needs or wants. Second is when a individual votes for the same party their whole life or declares them selves a supporter of a candidate long before the elected officials have any need to solicit their support.

To remain a source of political capital women need to vote. But they also need to refuse to support a official in till it comes time to actually vote. This way by remaining undecided up till the act of voting politicians will be forced to constantly strive for their support. In this way individuals, just as women should, can retake power within the American political system.

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