I’m glad for the policies that Obama embraces when he uses the phrase Wives, Mothers, & Daughters. The Violence Against Women Act and Paycheck Fairness are crucial steps forward.
But we can’t stop there. We know our economy is stronger when our wives, our mothers, our daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence. Today, the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago. And I now urge the House to do the same. (Applause.) Good job, Joe. And I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a living equal to their efforts, and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year. (Applause.)
Yay for those policies! Still, when we watched that part of the State of the Union at Drinking Liberally, I asked Darryl if Obama realized that women were watching the speech too. That phrasing makes it sounds like the women who’ll benefit from the VAWA and the Paycheck Fairness Act aren’t listening.
I’m sure it polls and focus groups well, but it’s not as inclusive as it ought to be. So I’m glad to see that Melissa McEwan has started a petition to ask the president not to use that particular phrase.
Defining women by their relationships to other people is reductive, misogynist, and alienating to women who do not define ourselves exclusively by our relationships to others. Further, by referring to “our” wives et al, the President appears to be talking to The Men of America about Their Women, rather than talking to men AND women.
Please embrace inclusive language, Mr. President.