Posts by Liz Goodwin Yahoo Reprint
When 16-year-old Amy Myers launched her campaign to be class president at Cherry Hill East High School in New Jersey, the boys in her sophomore class began teasing her. And that crash course in how aspiring female leaders get judged on the basis of gender led, in a roundabout way, to Myers' challenge to debate Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann on the Constitution.
"Your slogan for president should be that you're not a witch," Myers' male detractors said, referencing the much-mocked campaign stance of ex-Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, who decided to confront her years-old statements about Wicca head-on in her first TV ad. The boys told Myers she just wanted to be "another girl politician" like O'Donnell and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, whom the boys (and pretty much every late-night comedian) often made fun of.
"And I just said, 'oh great,'" recalls Myers.
Myers was angry that many of the most visible female politicians were seen as fodder for jokes and ridicule, which made her peers think it was ok to mock her political aspirations, too. She singled out Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) after her father noticed the congresswoman had incorrectly stated the Revolutionary War Battles of Lexington and Concord happened in New Hampshire. (She told a group of conservatives in Manchester in March: "You're the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord.") In January, Myers watched agasp as Bachmann said America's founding fathers "worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States." READ MORE