I have been waking up at 4am to work. And I like it. Not only have I been writing more regularly, but also, as soon as I became committed to waking up at 4am, I became committed to going to bed at 8:30pm. And then I got a routine. And all that research about how a little routine begets more routine? Well, it's true. Because after three months of not being able to figure out how to get to the gym, I started fitting the gym in after I got the kids to school.
So today, I woke up at 4am, and started my daily tour of the web before writing. At the Huffington Post there was something about the glass ceiling. It caught my eye because I'm sick of glass ceiling BS and I wanted to see who wrote the article so I could hate her.
But the article was about politics, which I don't pretend to know very much about, and it was written by a woman running for Congress. That seemed potentially interesting. So I clicked.
Turns out it's Krystal Ball (who realizes she has an unfortunate name and addresses that in her post) who is running to represent Virginia in the U.S. Congress, and if she wins she'll be the first woman under 30 to do so.
I like that. I like the idea of young women in Congress. New perspective. New issues. More collaboration.
So I read her post and it turns out there are racy pictures of her on the Internet, and she wrote the obvious response: Women are sexual beings. It's okay.
Ball summarizes the problem here, when she writes about the advice older women have given her:
I was often told to cut my hair, to wear shorter heels, to dress in drab colors. I realized it was actually because they wanted to protect me. They did this because, for their generation, female sexuality was dangerous to display in the workplace, especially in politics.
But this is impractical advice for a generation of women who are living their whole lives online. There are so many photos of these women online already, that there is no way to portray a grown woman in 2010 as asexual.
Ball dives in head first:
How did I end up with private photos of me at 22 with my ex-husband across the entire Internet, and in papers from London to New York to Boston? It’s not because people care about the Congressional race in the first district of Virginia or because of my positions on energy independence, school choice, marriage equality, or pro-growth environmentalism.
But Ball walks a fine line. She knows that the photos have nothing to do with her campaign. She knows the tactic to ignore issues and go for salaciousness is nothing new. But she is not immune to having her feelings hurt.
And now, I present to you: A generation of women who are not only going to cry at the office, they are going to cry in their husband's arms, and they are going run for Congress, all at the same time.
They wanted me to collapse in a ball of embarrassment and to hang my head in shame. After all, when you are a woman named Krystal Ball, 28 years old, running for Congress, well, you get the picture. Stripper. Porn star. I’ve heard them all. So, I sat in my husband’s arms and cried. I thought about my little girl. I couldn’t stand the idea that I had somehow damaged the cause of young women running for office. I couldn’t stand the idea that I might shame my family, my friends or my supporters in some way.
The reason I love this post is that it's not black and white. It's about the complicated way women deal with their sexuality and power and vulnerability. All at once.
Ball talks about how it is no coincidence that the two Republicans in Congress who are consistently willing to cross party lines are women. We already know that women are more collaborative in the workplace, and Ball convinces me that she will help create a more collaborative government.
Even if she's not as left-leaning as I am. Even if she’s a member of the NRA. Do you know how to tell people that it's okay for women to be sexual and have power in Congress? Donate money to Ball's campaign. I did, just now. Here's the link for you: