Press Release Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey Decries Misogynistic Remarks and Calls for Civility in Gubernatorial Campaign Immediate Release Contact: Lisa Mizarhi Kaado Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 (908)202-8386 As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s, “The Feminine Mystique,” in which Friedan described the widespread nature of women’s unhappiness in the 1960s as “the problem that has no name,” we are struck by the fact that while feminism has changed over time, women are still subjected to misogyny, especially by the media. In today’s world, perhaps Betty Friedan would ask, what do we call the problem of a culture that objectifies women and reduces their value to their youth, beauty or sexuality rather than in their ability to lead? This year’s gubernatorial election will focus on some of the most pressing issues facing our state: recovery from Hurricane Sandy, property tax relief, education, unemployment and so much more. The political establishment and media, however, are already engaging in a dialogue focused on misogynistic remarks towards Democratic gubernatorial candidate Senator Barbara Buono. In a recent Daily Beast article, an anonymous “top Democrat” described Buono as rising to fame by kicking “the governor in the crotch at every opportunity.” The unnamed source further denigrated Buono, adding “It was 2 a.m. and the bar was closing, and Barbara was looking pretty good, frankly.” Lisa Mizrahi Kaado, Excecutive Director of the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey stated, “As the gubernatorial debate heats up over the next nine months, we hereby call on both the media and political establishment to demand a high-minded level of discourse about the future of our state and reject these types of remarks that do nothing but degrade women and reduce their success.” Despite making up 51% of the population, women are continually underrepresented in New Jersey politics. In fact, Governor Christine Todd Whitman is the only woman to have served as the state’s chief executive in its 200-plus year history. Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno’s election in 2009 marked another important turning point towards increased representation, however, progress remains slow. Today, women make up just 29% of the New Jersey Legislature and hold none of the state’s 12 Congressional or 2 Senate seats. Kaado added, “A man would never be described in such a crude way. To essentially reduce a major party’s candidate for Governor to a default conquest at closing time is insulting to men and women alike. As one of the first organizations to endorse Barbara Buono for Governor, we strongly urge future rhetoric and reporting to focus on the qualifications both candidates bring to the table, rather than on gender. We owe it to our mothers, daughters, sisters and friends to do better.”
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