Beautiful Attorney Generals, Gay Marriage, and That Old Adage About the Personal Being Political

What a week for plucky lady commentary!  First we have the hullabaloo over Barack Obama’s comment that CA Attorney General Kamala Harris is “by far the best looking attorney general” at a DNC fundraising lunch.  The interwebs exploded with feminists calling out Obama, Obama apologizing, and men freaking out about that age oldest of questions “How am I supposed to have sex with women if I can’t constantly comment on their beauty/bodies/boobs?” Well hetero gents, Garance Franke-Ruta over at The Atlantic and Lindy West at Jezebel have some answers for you!  The primary answer being, of course, women are not in the workplace to have sex with you unless they are in fact sex workers.  They are probably in the workplace to accomplish tasks, thrive intellectually, achieve prominence in their chosen field, and generally be productive individuals.  They may also be in the workplace to make money for themselves and their families.  Does this prevent the possibility of a workplace romance developing?  No, of course not.  But your best course of action is probably to be decent to women so they will want to spend time with you and possibly, yes, even have sex with you.

Which brings me to another bone I have to pick with the world.  Gay marriage.  Let me begin by saying that if a couple wants to get married, they should be legally entitled to get married.  However, when we focus on civil rights as a strictly marriage issue, we tend to miss inequities that exist even within the gay rights movement.  For example, the Human Rights Campaign, the source of the red equals sign you see all over facebook, is well-known as a transphobic organization.

hrc-equality-sign1

The queer movement argues that we have an ethical and political obligation to imagine other ways that we could organize rights and privileges in our society beyond marriage (think tax breaks, relief from social stigma, health and childcare benefits, etc.).  Would it not be ideal for two unmarried sisters to decide to raise their families together and still receive all of the legal benefits conferred on married people?  Does this family arrangement seem less stable, meaningful, or important than any other arrangement?  I will sum up with this awesome graphic from the MacArthur Bart in the SF Bay Area:

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Lastly, the personal is political.  Marriage, sex, equality, bodies.  There is no real space between our legal rights and our embodied experiences, and that means we need to think very carefully about how we organize our emotional, familial, and sexual lives.  But fear not, dear readers, we now have a new form of activism: the candy graph!

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