You probably remember Wendy Davis, the blond woman representing district 10 in the Texas Senate. She stood there with her hot pink sneakers and filibustered the assembly for 11 hours trying to fervent them from passing an anti-abortion law.
Now she is running for Governor of Texas and her life story became a hot bed of debates, attacks and contra-attacks.
Wendy started working at age 14. When she was 17, and working as a waitress in her father’s restaurant, she moved in with her boyfriend and became pregnant. She gave birth to her first daughter when she was 18.
By 19 she was separated then divorced, living with her daughter in a trailer park working 2 jobs. But it was not the end of the road for her – and for that she has become a symbol to many women in Texas and around the country.
Because Wendy went to a community college to obtain a paralegal degree, then transferred to Texas Christian University and graduated first in her class. She took student loans and with the help of her husband Jeffrey Davis went to Harvard Law School, earning her law degree in 1992 with Cum laude honors.
In October 2013, Wendy announced her intention to run for governor of Texas in the 2014 elections, then all hell broke loose.
It started with an article in the Dallas Morning News. Wayne Slater wrote a provocative piece intimating that Wendy was a gold-digger. All is fair in politics they say and no one gets a pass, was the official line.
But what were the attacks all about? Was it about her ideas? Was it about her activism? Was it about politics at all?
No. most of the attacks came after checking her bio with a fine tooth comb and coming up with discrepancies that caught the eye of every man fighting against equal rights.
She didn’t live in a trailer park for long, her detractors said. It was only a few months. (As if living in a trailer park as a single mother with 2 jobs, is easy.)
She relied on her then husband to help her pay for Harvard Law. That makes her a gold-digger.
She is not a good mother – she left her children in the care of her husband and her mother while she went to school.
It seems her worst offenses are that she is twice divorced, pro-choice, ambitious, female, sometime an absent mom, single mother and a democrat who picks political fights. If she was a man, some say, she would be earning kudos for being a real go-getter.
Would a man be called a bad father for traveling or living in Washington DC while his family stayed home? How many man have been supported by their wives when they went to school? Does that make them gold-diggers?
In the modern world we strive to have similar roles for mothers and fathers – both working, both taking care of the children. These kind of attacks look archaic and out of touch with the rest of the country, where two incomes are needed just to get by.
But that is not all. A politician from the opposing party, Todd Kincannon, has been spewing hateful tweets all week. In a span of a few hours he called her a whore, said she “has done more damage to modern feminism than Monica Lewinsky playing Human Humidor with Bill Clinton in the Oval Office” and that “Wendy Davis stimulates the kneepad economy. And a lot of penises. I wonder how many kneepads she went through in Harvard.”
A despicable, misogynistic attack that if directed toward a man would have caused heads to roll.
But he didn’t stop there. “In other news, Wendy Davis took a short break from blowing ‘campaign contributors’ today to condemn remarks made by Mike Huckabee…” and “Wendy Davis is a looker and a hooker.”
Has there ever been a man that was attacked for taking loans and pulling himself up by the boot straps? Was there ever a male politician who was questioned about his parenting skills?
“If this involved a man running for office, none of this would ever come up,” Becky Haskins a republican who served with Wendy Davis told the Star-Telegram. “It’s so sad. Every time I ran, somebody said I needed to be home with my kids. Nobody ever talks about men being responsible parents.”
Here is what Wendy Davis had to say about the subject: “The attacks won’t work, because my story is the story of millions of Texas women who know the strength it takes when you’re young, alone and a mother,” she said in the release. “I’ve always been open about my life not because my story is unique, but because it isn’t.”
Besides, she reminds me of Catherine Deneuve. Especially in this period of her life.
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