Feminist Criticism of Vice-presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech
Women began taking on political roles over a century ago as they fought for the
right to be recognized within the governmental system in the United States. In 1920,
the Nineteenth Amendment was added to the Constitution which gave women the right
to vote. Since then, women have made leaps and bounds within the political sphere.
However, these expansive steps were not taken easily. Constant negotiation is
necessary for women in political positions. Women must negotiate between identities,
values, and ideologies in order to achieve political status.
Women are constantly negotiating identities between spaces and battling
stereotypes based on “a presupposed particular set of social arrangements respecting
male and female sexual and reproductive relations which was assumed to be ‘natural’”
(Clark 168). This division creates a public and private sphere “by articulating one set of
rules for the private sphere and another set, quite different, for the public sphere (168).
Traditionally, the public sphere is viewed as the sphere for men and the private is where
women belong (Wischermann 185). Gender dichotomies cause the “marking of the
private sphere as ‘woman’s realm,’ in which work is performed out of love, and [reflect]
on the way boundaries between the private and public are drawn in the context of
patriarchal power structures” (185). Women, therefore, have been limited to the private
sphere which focuses on family and home. This limitation for women often dictates their
behavior and frequently dictates the political platforms of women who enter politics
Throughout the Women’s Movement, women strived “to characterize the private
as also political” (186). This meant that women wanted the issues of the private sphere
such as child raising and women’s rights, to be brought into the public sphere and
discussed within politics (186-187). The government was not reflecting “women’s reality
or [creating] the procedural and institutional structures within which women’s concerns
can be directly addressed” (Clark 168). Traditionally, the private sphere was considered
the political sphere. However, women maintained that “the very distinction between the
personal and the political is by no means self-evident” (Capdevila 486). Eventually, a
shift occurred that allowed issues of the private sphere to enter the political debate
Now that the private is seen as political, “women state legislatures [place] a high
priority on policies that concern women, family, and children, while male legislatures
[are] more likely to focus on business and economic legislation” ( Fox and Schuhmann
606). “[Women are] far more likely to place issues of day care, domestic violence, [and]
sexual assault... on their legislative agenda than [are] their male counterparts” (606).
This focus on certain issues has led to categorization of “men’s” and “women’s”...