Posted Under: Class,Feminism,Gender Politics,GreenFeed,Society
Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article in the Atlantic was brought to my attention the other day by a feminist friend who was unsure of her feelings about it. Certainly the piece has received a lot of praise. It is by far the most popular article ever published in the magazine. But, as I told my friend, Slaughter should not be seen as a feminist icon. Her arguments serve only the interests of a small elite who have no desire to raise the status of working or even middle class women. Slaughter makes a number of spurious assertions under a false banner of feminism. None more so than when she says:
The best hope for improving the lot of all women, and for closing what Wolfers and Stevenson call a “new gender gap”—measured by well-being rather than wages—is to close the leadership gap: to elect a woman president and 50 women senators; to ensure that women are equally represented in the ranks of corporate executives and judicial leaders. Only when women wield power in sufficient numbers will we create a society that genuinely works for all women. That will be a society that works for everyone.
This is fundamentally wrong. Having more female company executives, judges and politicians – all of whom will undoubtedly have attracted millions in corporate funding to get to their positions of power – will do no more for working class women than all those male corporate directors, judges and politicians have done for working class men.
Slaughter seems to be proposing some kind of gender trickle down theory, but like trickle down economics, it is nothing but a con to keep the lower orders believing in a system that is stacked against them. Because class interests in this instance are far more powerful than gender interests. You can put as many women as you like in that boardroom, but when it comes down to it, you can bet they will be actively working with the male directors to boost their bonuses and keep their staff, female and male alike, disposable and poorly paid.
Of course women should have equal rights and equal opportunities, but these are not the same as equality.
Slaughter is a false prophet and while having more female directors, judges and politicians is no bad thing, it’s not a cause any working class woman or man should care a jot about.