Calling All Girls Who Want to Be President

“What’s Your Point, Honey?” movie trailer

Filmmaker Out to Elect Women for President

Many feminists were disgusted this past year by the sexist, misogynistic treatment that former NY Senator Hillary Clinton received during her Presidential run, at the hands of the mainstream media, the fauxgressive blogosphere, stalwart feminist organizations, and members of her party. This time, Republicans didn’t seem to have quite as much to add, because Clinton’s own Democratic Party, we were shocked to observe, outperformed them in maltreating her.

Amy Sewell, award-winning filmmaker of the endearing 2005 documentary, Mad, Hot Ballroom, is doing her part to help elect a woman President of the United States. Her latest thought-provoking 2008 release, What’s Your Point, Honey?, is the first social justice cause film that’s being marketed on amazon.com and on iTunes, too. I’d agree with her point that:

Feminism, gender inequality, is the longest revolution and the last social justice cause to have a great need to be brought to the surface and pushed out there.

Radio Interview Explores Feminism, Gender Equality, and Path to Politics

In January, 2009, I sat down with the dynamic and articulate filmmaker to record the audio interview from which this article is drawn. In the interview, Amy and I also discuss: women’s pay equality issues, the Lilli Ledbetter Act, gender inequality awakening of Baby Boomers as compared to the MTV generation. Plus, there’s an update about the lives of the seven diverse young women in her film, and their quest to run for political and organizational office.

Click arrow to play Lady Boomer’s interview with filmmaker Amy Sewell (1:41)

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The Point of What’s Your Point, Honey?

The film’s title, What’s Your Point, Honey?, was inspired by a 2007 Jim Borgman cartoon in the Cincinnati Enquirer. The cartoon depicts Hillary Clinton standing, pointer in hand, appearing to school Uncle Sam in front of a chart entitled, “Countries That Have ALREADY HAD FEMALE Heads of State.”

Here’s the list: Haiti, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Burundi, Liberia, Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, India, Germany, Serbia, Israel, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, England, Latvia, Iceland, Ireland.

And in response, a schlumpy-looking Uncle Sam asks Hillary,

What’s your point, honey?

In our interview, Sewell expands on the cartoon’s irony: The US is 71st in the world in women’s representation in government — we’re laggin’. We’re behind the -stans  and Cape Verde. . . . Despite often horrible treatment in some of the countries that have had women leaders, women are proportionally better represented and lead other countries in far greater numbers.

The filmmakers set out to influence the younger generations with their film, and to create an awareness of feminism in them, because many young women “do not believe that they’re not equal.” Additionally, Sewell says that she and the film’s director, Susan Toffler, decided to reclaim the term “honey,” in order to devalue it when used by the oppressor, so to speak

Co-stars of the documentary, “What’s Your Point Honey?,” include Sewell’s twin daughters, the generation of girls “that doesn’t believe that they’re not equal.”

Hidden Inequality

They made a movie for an audience that doesn’t want to hear it, Sewell asserts, because they think they’ve got it all in the bag. They see their moms going to work and just think that everything is equal—after all, mom’s working. Girls don’t really know what their moms go through at work, regarding career advancement, pay differences, harassment, and what is expected of them as compared to men.

Girls don’t grasp that women, despite feminist gains of the last forty years, are largely responsible for taking care of: the house, the kids, doctors’ appointments, day care, child care, shopping for groceries, supplies, and clothing, cooking, cleaning up, housecleaning, laundry, and more. Additionally, their moms are often caregivers for their elderly parents or in-laws. Yet, girls of today think that life is, and will be, the same for them as it is for the boys they’re growing up with.

Forget about equal pay: Sewell says that women should actually get paid MORE than men. After all, the mom does everything, and the dad “just goes to work,” as a young boy observes in the film. Yes, we’re swimming in the patriarchy, so much so that many fish don’t know it, haven’t seen it. However, girls are beginning to see sexism and inequality at home, and more women saw it in the political atmosphere of the 2008 Presidential election.

Eyes Wide Open—Lessons from Sarah

Sewell claims Sarah Palin lit a fire under many liberal women who thought, “hey if she can do it, why can’t I?” We should be running for local offices and positions that grow us into more and higher national prominence. A way to begin is to step up and get active about the projects and issues you really care about in your local community, and just go ahead and start to run things.

She enumerates three lessons women learned from Palin’s Vice Presidential run:

  1. Women can be raising a family and become a major player, with the right support systems.
  2. If you multiply out all the ways you run your household, you can do it on a larger scale in your community, city, state, and nation.
  3. If Sarah can do it, why are we liberal women still on the sidelines, waiting for men or somebody to hand this to us?

The White House Project: “Beyond Gender to Agenda”

The film is based on a “contest” co-sponsored by COSMOgirl and The White House Project (WHP), an organization founded and run by Marie Wilson. Wilson is past President of the Ms. Foundation and co-founder of Take our Daughters to Work Day©. Her “Vote, Run, Lead” training program at the WHP recruits women to run for office. Since its beginnings in Colorado four years ago, the program has expanded to ten states. They select young women who are definitely interested in running for any office and serious in their intentions, and equip them with the tools they will need.

Wilson believes strongly in having a nonpartisan organization, because her philosophy is that all women bring the same basic life issues to the table, such as: child rearing, child and elder care, the wage gap, working in male-dominated fields, and, of course, who owns their bodies. The goal is to get more women into office. Women are 51 percent of the population, and 80 percent of the purchasing power. Women decide how 80 cents of every dollar in American households will be spent.

I questioned Amy: If women treat each other so poorly when running for office—as they did with Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin last year—will women be discouraged from running in the future, expecting that they might face a similar fate? Introducing the pipeline theory, she said that “it’s not about one. As long as you have only one woman running, everyone will always rip her apart.”

Sewell contends that if you have just as many women running as men, you get “beyond gender to agenda,” to quote Marie Wilson. There are many amazing, accomplished, powerful women out there; we just haven’t seen it happen in enough numbers yet, so we have to make our own way! But the environment is changing: Initially, Wilson asked women to run for office, because she knew that women needed to be asked. However, there seems to be an attitude shift in that women are beginning to step up and run. There were 100 applicants for the program in NY State, and several women who were in the film announced their plans to run for office right after completing their training.

Winners of the 2024 Project, co-sponsored by The White House Project and COSMOgirl, gather in front of The White House during the making of the documentary

The Key to Success: Fill the Pipeline with Young Candidates

As a way to keep the ball rolling and get younger generations involved, What’s Your Point, Honey? shows inequalities in their world today “wrapped around the metaphor of a woman running for President.” The filmmaker sees that girls can look up to the current women in power, like Hillary and Sarah Palin, but they don’t relate to them as they do to twenty year-olds, like those in the film.

If we build the pipeline, the more women we have wanting to come into political power, the easier it will be for all male political figures in the future to have a pool of applicants to choose from [for cabinet and other appointments.] [. . . ]

Our hope is someday that it won’t even be a question. We’ll have so many women in politics that we’ll de-genderize it.

Sewell is passionate about carrying through her message and continuing to reach an audience of women that can begin to fill the pipeline of participation in government, beginning with reaching young girls. Her new book, SHE’S OUT THERE: The Next Generation of Presidential Candidates: 35 Women Under 35 Who Aspire to Lead, will be released in April, 2009.

Further, an educational pilot program is being rolled out by North Carolina Political Center for Women: the What’s Your Point, Honey? DVD and study guides will be used as part of high school programs in North Carolina. This will be followed by programs throughout the US in middle schools, high schools, and colleges, accompanied by study guides appropriate for each educational level. Amy has generously provided the Viewers’ Guide here for you to download FOR FREE, which you can use when you buy the DVD, or rent or buy the video-on-demand (VOD) download.

Women Have Power

Sewell sees little advantage in fighting with people who do not and will not ever agree fundamentally, and I agree! Women need to join together and get involved with whatever social justice causes that move them. Furthermore, WOMEN have the purchasing power. Money speaks, and we have power here. For example, ads and products that call for our attention to speak out against: Boycott! The PUMA and some of the feminist movement made a difference by boycotting MSNBC, CNN, PBS, NPR, and network television due to their commentators’ misogynistic and biased stances about then Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, and VP nominee, Sarah Palin.

The movie purposely uses a light touch to draw new people into wanting to be active, and has a carryover affect. Viewers report that they begin to notice more instances of inequality or sexism in their daily lives, whereas before they wouldn’t have seen it. I encourage everyone to see and discuss this film, especially families. Be sure to rate, comment, and see what others are saying.

This is such an enthusiastic, supportive article, you’d think I have an ulterior motive, or am receiving some kind of net gain. I hope I am and do. I believe passionately, based on my spiritual and community background, that the societal road forward, onward, and upward must be: positive, collective, supportive, have dignity—and—be ignited, and driven by and for women. We can accomplish this by expanding girls’ and young women’s horizons, education, and opportunities for governance, and yes, the Presidency. Elect a woman? . . . “It’s not about one.”

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© Copyright 2009 by Lady Boomer NYC, article and audio interview. All rights reserved.

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Resources

These are linked within the article and included here for your convenience:

DOC WEBSITE:  http://www.whatsyourpointhoney.com/front/

THE WHITE HOUSE PROJECT:  http://www.thewhitehouseproject.org/

AMAZON DOC VOD LINK:  WHAT’S YOUR POINT, HONEY? ($2.99/week rental, $9.99/buy)

BOOK AMAZON LINK: SHE’S OUT THERE: The Next Generation of Presidential Candidates: 35 Women Under 35 Who Aspire to Lead

Hell No, I Didn’t Give Up: I’m Back, Madam President!

Dear Readers,

To those of you who are still here after my 12-day absence: Welcome and Thank You!

I am still here! I did not give up. I am still fighting to elect the only candidate who can save our country’s sorry butt from its current slide into ruin, an extraordinary candidate who is the most electable: Our Madam President, Hillary Clinton!

Where have I been, anyway? What a long, strange trip it’s been. . . .

I was happily minding my own blogness — actually, I’m not so sure about happily. How many of us were going to do our part to help out with the campaign for just a bit? Raise money, make calls. I’d been a volunteer for over twenty years during Presidential campaigns and have worked at the polls, for the Democratic Party, and even for moveon.org since they started in Berkeley, CA. However, I can’t say that I’ve ever been as obsessed as in this season. Right?

I created Lady Boomer NYC blog after I wrote a letter to friends describing why I was supporting Hillary Clinton for President. In response, I received forwarded emails from longtime New Age, feminist, baby boomer friends demeaning Hillary in the extreme. In early March, a dear friend who was connected to Obama’s campaign told me that Hillary could not mathematically win the democratic nomination. After making about twenty voter calls to Ohio and Texas, and being hung up on and cussed out, I decided that I wasn’t cut out for it. I had no idea how Hillary could withstand it. I certainly had a much different experience calling Ohio for Kerry in 2004 through moveon.

As a published author, writing something motivational, inspirational, or informational was how I thought I could best contribute to the cause. Then look what happened: Hillary Clinton was attacked from all fronts, while her junior opponent was nary examined. We, the incensed lifetime members of the Democratic Party, began to hoot ‘n holler about how her opponents were gaming and defrauding the system with sexism, race-baiting, fear and intimidation. With each primary, we thought we’d be done, yet the attacks, her opponent’s outrageous claims and his abnormal friends kept emerging. We were constantly putting out fires.

The best thing, though, was that we could promote and work for a competent, qualified woman who had plans and programs for every segment of our society, plans that she could recite backwards and forwards, numbers included. The other best thing is that nobody said we had to do it. You could say we were called. How else can normal people have the energy to work tirelessly ’round the clock? The other best thing was that we began to create community for the sake of a cause. Yes, the second sixties-era for me. Nobody had to tell me to do it — I couldn’t do otherwise.

After the primaries, many blogs, websites, forums, organizations, artists, and individuals coalesced into PUMAs and the Just Say No Deal coalition. V, an online creative friend, said he felt the coalition’s voice needed to get bigger in the world and asked very nicely for my help in starting a radio station at No Quarter. I’d mentioned my radio station background, and the thought of new technology was exciting compared to the old radio days of two turntables and a microphone plus remote on-site broadcasts.

V, and his amazing technical, training expertise, artistic design dream coat, and I became producing partners and collaborators. In three weeks we had created NQR and aired shows, including: Larry Johnson’s “Security Corner” with guests Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson, “Morning Q” with Betty Jean and Pagan, “Reading Rezko” with Susan UnPC and Truthteller, “Meet Me in Denver” with Murphy and Friends, Bud White with guest Bob Shrum, DC Media Girl, Nocturnal Warrior, and more. After getting things going on the creative, logistical and training fronts, V and I left NQR to pursue other projects. I’m honored to have been part of that effort with him and NQR, and that the coalition’s voice is being broadcast on a larger scale going forward.

During our radio project, I was crazy busy and my blog suffered — I had no capacity to maintain my former writing output. However, during that time, I was still typing up a storm as I had for months in station emails, correspondences and documents, writing blog posts, reading blogs and news for research, plus personal and professional writing and correspondence. Basically, I’d been on my laptop for an entire year, from 10-18 hours per day, beginning when I began revising my 118-page book proposal in June 2007. Whole days passed into night, Summer into Fall, Fall into Winter. In Winter, as a recently transplanted Cali girl in NY, I could justify staying inside like David Mamet and never open the shades. But then, in our fervor to elect Hillary, Winter ’08 turned into Spring, then Summer, and we’re almost at Fall. Like many of us, I work for myself and abandoned it to work on behalf of Hillary’s campaign. How important it was to get her elected and make sure justice was done!

During my last week at NQR, several tumor-like nodules mysteriously appeared in my right palm — overnight! And believe me, I pay attention to my body. Well, of course, I walk my talk, or try to. However, the writing habits I just mentioned would belie that statement! In fact, I was so far into it, that when one of my daughters visited, she said, “What happened to you?” My body was all curled up and I didn’t even know it! As a body-mind practitioner, healer, and author, to say that I was freaked out about my hand condition would be an understatement. I’ve also played piano, guitar, and done painting and drawing my entire life, plus am a gardener. As one of the 37 million uninsured, or is that 47 million, I began to explore my options. Ahhh, what’s 10 million here or there among the uninsured?

Working in complementary health, I have lots of colleagues with whom I consult. I checked with my friend who’s a Physician Assistant and likes to look up weird stuff; when she hit on Dupuytren’s Contracture, the bells of my symptoms went off. Overnight, my palm had grown lumps with adhesions over them, and the texture of my skin changed, growing calloused and swollen, with a red spot that looked like a photo of same. Turns out, it’s hereditary, my mom has it, along with other complications she tells me. In advanced stages, your hand can curl up. My suspicions of its seemingly rapid onset centered on having used a trackpad consistently for several years, especially during this intensive writing. Who knows, it could be tendons or cartilage, but like cysts I’ve had, they and my palm get bigger and smaller throughout the cycles of the day and with usage, sometimes it’s painful or uncomfy, but nothing intolerable. I’m just protecting it from further damage.

In case you’re about to offer a suggestion, I’ve tried various things, including: icing, heat, anti-inflammatories, acupuncture and Chinese herbs, Chinese chi-gung balls, typing only with my left hand (extremely frustrating for a 65 wpm typist), not typing, myofascial release on hand, arm, shoulders, back, favoring left hand in daily activities. I’ve consulted with a doc friend and an Occupational Therapist who gave me pointers on gentle management and acceptance. I could see a $500 specialist, plus xrays, who might give me a cortisone shot, suggest surgery, or say there’s nothing I can do. There’s an experimental needle procedure developed in France. So far, the self-deep tissue work, icing, and not using it have worked best. As you can tell, I go low-tech first. More than you’ve ever wanted to know, right?

All in all, I’d say that the Universe dropped a love bomb on me, as riverdaughter calls it. Love my body, my hands, make wise use of them, rest, develop/bring forth other parts of my life and work in areas of proficiency that I haven’t emphasized. In my intention, I’m morphing the emphasis of what has been a major part of my identity. One thing I find interesting is the change in my logical left brain, right hand hookup: it seems to be on mute. Yes, I can still compute day to day activities, and my list-making is alive and well. I’m just more likely to let things go by, or not care about using initial caps. I don’t care about every single outrageous breaking news story, although I still track many of them. You could say my perfectionism volume is turned down a bit.

Thank you for reading this far. You know I’ve always been honest, so have laid it all out for you. My new commitment is to begin writing here again, but in less quantity. I have about 100 unpublished drafts from before and would like to bring forth a few of those ideas. I have to be more picky about my hand usage and be more selective about what I write, instead of trying to cover it all! Although I hate to not post every single thing about our movement and the news, I’ll have to leave that to the other fabulous bloggers. I’ll leave you to read most calls to action and announcements on the other fantastic Just Say No Deal and Puma coalition blogs.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this: I went to the Puma Conference in DC, helped a bit in the planning, and did a presentation about “Communication and Reaction: Embodying Community.” I met and jammed with so many dedicated and energized PUMAs whom I’ve met online or talked with on the phone. We were privileged to work, plan, and share ideas together about the short-term and long-term goals of our movement and the Democratic Party. I am in this for the long term. I am in this for exposing the injustices in this campaign, and more importantly for reforming the election system.

I uphold the vision of our coalition to nominate and elect our champion, the only Democratic candidate who can win the general election and navigate our country on its rightful course: Hillary Clinton, our Madam President!

Through our journey, and working together, we’ve formed alliances, and learned our strengths. Our friends, families, colleagues, and neighbors can’t understand why we keep on. Sometimes we can have those conversations, other times we just have to shut up. Many dear ones and partners in the struggle have fallen away or say they will if we don’t quit. Yet we keep going, giving our very best to the principles and underpinnings that form the heart and soul of the laws of this country.

[Bob Marley – No Woman, No Cry]

I remember when we used to sit in the government yard in Trenchtown,

Observing the hypocrites as they would mingle with the good people we’d meet.

Good friends we have, oh good friends we’ve lost along the way,

In this great future, you can’t forget your past, so dry your tears, I say.

No woman, no cry.

Everything’s going to be alright.

So, no woman, no cry.