My Dilemma

February 10, 2010 § 5 Comments

As many of you may know, Laura Chinchilla will become the first female president of Costa Rica this May. She won the title this Sunday by pretty much a landslide; Chinchilla won over 46.76% of voters, while the 2nd place politician received only about 25% of the popular vote.

President-elect Chinchilla will join “the tiny club of female president in Latin America” once she takes office, a group that currently encompasses Chile’s Michelle Bachelet and Christina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina. Panama and Nicaragua have had female chiefs-of-state in the past.

But here’s the thing. I want to be so, so happy for Chinchilla and the cracks that her victory has (hopefully) made in the Latin American and global glass ceiling. It’s wonderful that 46.76% of Costa Rican voters have faith in a woman politician — that is not all too common.

But when I turn my attention to Chinchilla’s actual politics, this happiness gets a little turned upside-down. She’s anti-choice. She doesn’t believe in emergency contraception. She doesn’t believe in same-sex marriage. And so a dilemma emerges; while I believe that Chinchilla’s presence in the office of the presidency will be inspiring to women in Costa Rica and elsewhere, I do not believe that her policies will help women reach a similar level of achievement.

And isn’t it just as sexist to celebrate a woman’s victory solely because she’s a woman, as it would be to celebrate a man’s victory because he’s a man? 

What are your thoughts? Are you excited about this political development?

§ 5 Responses to My Dilemma

  • Gexx says:

    This is, like you said, a big deal for her to get elected. But I see a parallel between this and the run of Sarah Palin. However, Obama did run on a platform that was beneficial to women. I’m not too familiar with Chinchilla or her opponents and their views on reproductive rights, so that might be where to look.

  • hooks says:

    i guess i feel that any woman who comes into such a position of power, unless committed to radical change, is still a woman operating within a male dominated and created discourse, thus Chinchilla is sadly just a supporting actor in this discourse. Yes, i agree that having a female president can be inspirational and give many young women hope and the idea that they can do anything. But unless Chinchilla or any other woman in power actively resists conforming to the dominant forms of masculinity that persist and shape politics (among many other sectors of our lives), my fear is that young women will fall in line with upholding these dominant, not so woman friendly views or believe that in order to succeed they must conform to the ideals of dominant masculinities.

  • mark says:

    it is just as sexist to support a woman, if her policies are anti-woman, just because she’s a woman. I was going to bring up palin as well, but obama is an even better example – he’s done nothing good for black people, and he’s done so many horrible things – surged in afghanistan, invaded haiti, helped break up copenhagen, expanded indefinite detention, etc. etc. Anyone who really cares about black people, or humanity as a whole has a duty to oppose these policies and the people who back them no matter what gender or nationality those people are from…

  • Dawn. says:

    I am really disappointed to hear about her anti-woman, anti-gay policies. Chinchilla is a fine example that just because you are a member of an oppressed group doesn’t mean you’ll work to liberate those who are also oppressed.

    And isn’t it just as sexist to celebrate a woman’s victory solely because she’s a woman, as it would be to celebrate a man’s victory because he’s a man?

    I don’t think it’s sexist to celebrate a woman’s victory solely because she’s a woman. We live in an inequitable society and these celebrations are a reflection of that. If women were politically, socially, and economically equal to men, then there would be no cause for celebration and yeah it would be sexist if there were one. But we don’t live in that world.

  • Carlos Alvarez Guerrero says:

    Estimada señora:
    Aún cuando soy perfectamente bilingûe y hablo el inglés muy bien, modestia aparte, le contesto en castellano pues es el idioma que hablamos en Costa Rica, cuya alusión hace usted al comentar la reciente elección de doña Laura Chinchilla Miranda como nuestra primera presidenta.
    Con respeto le digo que en su lamento porque doña Laura no está a favor de la contracepción de emergencia o el matrimonio entre personas del mismo género, etc., no es un asunto de posiciones de lucha de géneros, sino una posición de moral a como esta debe ser entendida desde el punto de vista último absoluto y final de Dios. Doña Laura no necesita que yo la defienda, pero en realidad, estoy seguro de que esa posición de la presidenta electa va mucho más allá de posiciones de seudoliberación femenina y si usted de desiluciona por eso, es su problema , al igual que si no entiende este texto por ser monolingue.
    Por favor madure y habra su mente desatándose de las cadenas del odio y los complejos…ah y una última….en su país, todos sabemos cuál es, hay mucho más machismo que en el nuestro, solo que no son lo suficientemente sinceros y sinceras para admitirlo. El machismo de su país es un asunto de PODER, mientras que el nuestro, y de latinoamerica, es meramente un asunto de relaciones de pareja.
    Que esté mejor….
    C.Alvarez G., Limón, C.R.

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