Saturday, September 27, 2014

First Woman President = Progressivism?

I came across a petition letter written by Denis Kucinich, a US Congressman, urging South Korea's president Park Geun-hye to commit herself to the democratic values she supposedly espouses. Personally, this really hit home as I've been frustrated by how often people equate the election of a woman president with a country's progressive political development. When women politicians are defined by their gender, there is a great possibility of overlooking their competence as a leader and the political values they stand by. This is evident in the fact that despite Park's failure to distance herself from her legacy as a daughter of the infamous dictator Park Chung-hee, she has garnered substantial support on the grounds that she will advance women's rights and promote feminism in a traditionally conservative country. This feminist rhetoric has distracted many Koreans from Park's repeated equivocation on controversial issues, her failure to demonstrate knowledge of common facts, such as Korea's minimum wage, and most importantly, her general lack of past records on supporting gender equality and empowering social minorities. As Kucinich suggests, a president of a democratic nation should not be judged by their inherent qualities, such as gender or race, but their strong commitment and representation of democratic values.

1 comment:

  1. This whole problem with the assumption that a woman being a political leader automatically makes her an advocate for all "women's" issues and/or the obvious choice for all female voters reminds me of some of the sources I came across while doing research for my paper. I wrote my paper on the suffrage movement in Colorado, and many of the documents I read were people making assessments of Colorado and how it had changed since the vote. It seemed to be a source of fascination for people, especially those outside the state. One story repeatedly referenced was that of an election for mayor of a Colorado city (I don't remember which) soon after 1893 where the two primary candidates were a man and a woman, and the man won because he got the vote of the women in the area. The people reporting on this expressed amazement and confusion about this decision of women voters, and couldn't seem to fathom the reasoning behind it.


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