First lady Michelle Obama’s speech, titled “How Hard You Work,” was perhaps the most impressive speech of the Democratic National Convention. On behalf of her husband, she relayed a simple, well-received message: The Obamas know the American dream because they epitomize it.
This Tuesday, the campaign raised $4 million at an event held by R&B and pop singer Beyoncé Knowles at the 40/40 Club in New York, which is owned by her husband, rapper Jay-Z. When the president took the stage, he jestingly noted the clout of his wife and Knowles and compared his life to Jay-Z’s, saying, “We both have daughters and our wives who are more popular than we are. So, you know, we’ve got a little bond there.”
Knowles and the first lady are just two examples of women who are seizing the Obama campaign by the reins and doing everything they can to make it successful. On a daily basis, I find myself sorting through emails from his campaign, amazed by the number of prominent and influential women from whom the president draws support. I opened one this week from campaign Chief Operating Officer Ann Marie Habershaw. The email from the day before was from actress Jessica Alba. A few weeks back, I received one from Georgetown’s very own law student, Sandra Fluke (LAW ’12). Each attempts to rally monetary or voter support, hoping to appeal to every woman of every socioeconomic status, ethnicity and community. And it is quite effective.
Obama has an eight-point advantage over Mitt Romney in the latest national Pew poll. His lead stems from the impact of his campaign on young, black and, in particular, female voters. Women in Detroit have helped widen Obama’s lead in Michigan to a whopping 14 points. Unfortunately for Romney, who seems to want to bring us back to the third century, women have suffrage and will hopefully exercise their right to be heard by turning out on Election Day.
We as women realize that our lives and liberties are hanging in the balance. We have some very different options to choose from. One option seems to be a reversion to what America used to mean for women. I believe that we have another option that offers something more forward thinking.
From what I can see, the appeal of the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party is obvious to women. The president has made conscious strides toward gender equality and women’s rights. Early in his term, he convinced women that they were a priority when he passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which allows women to dispute salary inequality. Most attractive to women is the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, which ensures that women are treated equally and have access to preventative care like mammograms, prenatal and cervical cancer screenings and, most controversially, contraception. Through his platform, he demonstrates his belief that women should have the right to make decisions about their bodies, using their own ethical standards to do so.
And what about his opponent’s effort to appeal to women or, for that matter, any individual of a background that is not his own? With less than 50 days left in the campaign, I am still anxiously waiting to hear it.
Khadijah Davis is a sophomore in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. She is secretary of Georgetown University Women of Color. THE ETHNICITY OF FEMININITY appears every other Friday.