I drew this group of powerful women yesterday: Karen Bass, Val Demings, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Susan Rice. They are widely believed to be on Biden’s short list as his VP running mate for this 2020 election for president; he may choose someone entirely different.
While I drew them live on social media, I talked about all the sexism I have heard over my years covering politics and all the sexist remarks these women — and so many others — have had to endure. I recalled the first woman who was chosen as a VP running mate by a major part, by Walter Mondale in 1984, Geraldine Ferraro. The verbal abuse she endured was a wake-up call to us all. Whomever Biden selects as his running mate, she knows she will be in for personal attacks and sexist comments; if she’s black she will hear racists comments.
All of the above are powerful, strong, committed, professional public servants. They were well aware of what they were getting into when they chose their careers, and they handle it with grace and intelligence. All have agreed to be Biden’s runnning mate if selected, and all know what that will entail. In my eyes, that makes them even stronger, more amazing people.
After Hillary Clinton’s second run for president, I thought we had seen it all in terms of how our country treats strong women. Sadly, I don’t think we have seen it all — but I am guardedly optimistic. We have learned a lot. Yes, we will hear sexist remarks about clothing, hair, body type, smiling too much or too little, talking too loudly or not enough. We will hear about these women’s capabilities, their tone and their ambition. But the attacks might be fewer this time around, and more people — men and women — will call them out.
But it’s exciting: it’s high time we have a woman as Vice President, if not President!