WASHINGTON, April 19, 2012 — From offensive cakes to violent rhetoric to mom assaults, the past week has been brimming with some egregious examples of people saying and doing some pretty offensive things that impacted women with children and families. There must be something in the water. The assailant list is long. Where to start?
Assailants: Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, Culture Minister of Sweden and Artist Makode Aj Linde.
Over the weekend, Liljeroth attended a social function full of mainly white Swedish elite celebrating International World’s Art Day. She was presented with, and asked to be the first to slice a cake of a caricature of an African woman. In place of a head made out of cake, the cake’s Afro-Swede creator, artist Makode Aj Linde rested his face, in “blackface” make up, where the head would go. As Liljeroth cut the area of the cake that Linde said represented the woman’s “genitalia”, Linde screamed in feigned agony. The celebration was to highlight extreme examples of art and the cake cutting was to represent “clitoridectomy,” a practice of excising the clitoris and genitalia that is still widely practiced in many African country on young girls as a rite of passage in order to numb her sexual senses, prepare her for and make her thought suitable for marriage.
In a YouTube video of the event posted on Facebook, widely circulated and sparking outrage, Liljeroth appears noticeably disturbed and uncomfortable by the artistic installation. Yet, she forgoes speaking out against the grotesque, demeaning and very racist exhibit and leaving the function. Instead, she is seen smiling and even feeding the artist cake.
Linde failed miserably in his disturbing attempt to be controversial and call attention to a serious problem. Instead, the “artwork” and the outcry it is causing have overshadowed any well-meaning attempt to illuminate the plight of genitally mutilated women worldwide. There’s a good way to call attention to a cause and then there is a bad way to do it. Guess which this was? Meanwhile, Liljeroth displayed a wanton absence of hubris and common sense. She failed to express some disappointment at the display and stand up for the blatant inappropriate racist caricature of a large segment of her country’s population and for young girls and women who have suffered through genital mutilation.
Assailant: The Hilary Rosen spin doctors.
Last Wednesday, longtime Democratic strategist, lobbyist and pundit Hilary Rosen criticized Mitt Romney for suggesting that he relies on his wife’s input on women’s economic concerns by saying Romney’s wife Ann “hasn’t worked a day in her life.” That night, the mom-of-5, who raised the couple’s five sons while battling Multiple Sclerosis and later surviving breast cancer, set up a Twitter account to defend her choice to be a stay-at-home mom.
Rosen’s remarks forced the Obama administration and other notable Democratic leaders to distance themselves from the statements and demand she apologize, which she did, but not before ushering in yet another round in this gender culture battle that has been a new yet steady issue in politics of late.
Perhaps worse than just devaluing the work of stay-at-home moms, Rosen and her supporters also mistakenly presumed that only wealthy and conservative women opt to stay home. Around the nation, millions of moms of lower to middle class backgrounds elect to stay home with their children, often without relying on welfare or government support. They simply cut back on extravagant expenses, vacations, homes and cars and sacrifice so they can survive on one salary. Women from various socioeconomic, racial and cultural backgrounds recognize the value of being able to stay home and raise their children, especially in their early years.
Assailant: Jeffrey Neely, the acting commissioner of the GSA’s
Was it something in the water which caused Neely to permit his wife, who does not work for the GSA, to do most of the planning of a organize an extravagant $823,000
All this went down or unsurfaced in a week, is still unraveling and will have long-lasting implications on the ongoing dialogue and possibly the November US presidential elections. Like a modern day soap opera, as politics twist and turn, families have to keep up and be aware of how it all affects their lives.
Read more Politics of Raising Children in The Communities at the Washington Times. Follow Jeneba Ghatt at @JenebaSpeaks. Her work can also be read at JenebaSpeaks and Politic365. She also co-hosts a Blog Talk Radio show called Right of Black which tackles current events and politics from a perspective not often seen in the mainstream media.
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