October 1, 2004

Bushwomen Author Speaks

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Laura Flanders, author of Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species, spoke last night on “Gender Politics in the Age of Bush” in Goldwin Smith Hall. A New York Times bestseller, Bushwomen details Flanders’ belief that the powerful women involved in the Bush administration are part of a crusade to add a female front to anti-feminist policy.

Flanders focused her speech on the way the Bush administration dealt with Sept. 11. She argued that Bush should have spent less time telling Americans to pray and fear and spend more time discussing what had happened and why it happened. Flanders said that the government refused to wait and talk about the attacks but immediately opted for war.

“Dick Cheney sounds exactly like someone from al-Qaida,” she said. She told the audience that both al-Qaida and the Bush administration make Americans afraid for their safety.

Flanders discussed what she viewed as a lack of action on the part of the U.S. government in regards to the Taliban regime before 2001, calling the anti-female actions of the Taliban a “gender apartheid.”

“How come we tolerated the Taliban for so long?” she asked.

Flanders also criticized First Lady Laura Bush, accusing her of using women’s rights’ rhetoric to turn the war in Afghanistan into a women’s rights issue.

Flanders helped start New Yorkers Say No to War in the first week after Sept. 11. The group began with a large gathering of people who wanted to talk about their reactions to the attacks. The organization has met weekly since its inception and continues to discuss the politics of New York and the entire United States, particularly in relation to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“We want to articulate that New Yorkers don’t want war to avenge our name,” Flanders said. Flanders is also a member of Code Pink, an anti-war women’s group based in Los Angeles.

The author came as part of an attempt by Students Acting for Gender Equality and Mock Election to bring a woman’s perspective to campus. This event was the third co-sponsored by the two student organizations. Mock Election is sponsored by The Sun.

“Something we really need … is to hear a woman speak,” said Emily Marchese, the co-president of SAGE.

Marchese also said that there was a lack of support in making sure that an equal number of men and women were coming to speak on campus. She said that the disenfranchisement of women voters in politics related to an overwhelming number of male participants in government and activism.

Flanders also made several references to last night’s debates. She expressed fear that politics has become so media-focused that people will begin to see the government as only “those two white guys.”

Flanders was pleased that so many people are excited about this election but told the audience that this is “not the only important election of your lifetimes.” Flanders also expressed hope that people will continue to have options and that, in the future, governments will listen to people, not polls.

She finished with a question-and-answer session followed by a book signing. Flanders is also the author of Real Majority, Media Minority; the Cost of Sidelining Women in Reporting. She hosts “Your Call with Laura Flanders” on public radio and recently compiled essays into a publication entitled The W Effect: Bush’s War on Women. She has also participated in the Vagina Monologues.

Archived article by Rebecca Shoval
Sun Staff Writer