April 2, 2014

Baseball/Soccer Moms, Gonna Die & Chevrolet

DT's favorite CSPAN guru Seth noted this odd mention from yesterday's House hearings into GM's total botching of the deadly ignition problems in the Chevy Cobalt. Basically the internal spring in the ignition would fail, and the car would shut off while you're driving if you had what Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado calls, a "mom keychain." She helpfully jangled her big ol' mom keychain to illustrate:

So a keychain so big you have to keep it in a purse, not a pocket. Also, because of patriarchy etc., women's pants don't have useful pockets.

I'd missed this bit, but in this morning's Senate hearing I did hear Barbara Boxer say to GM CEO Mary Barra, "I am very disappointed, really as a woman to woman, Because the culture you're representing here is the culture of the status quo." Still trying to figure out if this is progress, or the exact opposite. I mean, I guess the fact that no male senator blamed GM's decade-long failure on its new female CEO is a good thing? I'm really reaching here.

Democrat Holds Up an Ignition Switch During Hearing [nyt]

1 Comment

I too found the "mom keychain" reference set against the backdrop of the first congressional testimony of the first female CEO of a major automaker to be a little off. Add Boxer's comment and you've got to start to wonder. (You can see some observations and Boxer's non-response here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/04/02/sen-boxer-to-gm-chief-i-am-very-disappointed-woman-to-woman-video/).

We believe that once there's meaningful representation of women in government and corporations, things will change. But here we have both and what do we learn? We learn that there are gender differences in everything from the number of keys you carry (women carry more than men) to the expectation of how you should run your company (women are expected do it more responsibly that men).

The most disturbing thing is that, as you mention, this comes not from Republicans but from Democrats and not from men but from women. Why? When you factor in that hearings like these exist primarily to give the politicians opportunities to get on TV and score some points you have to realize that these women choose their line of questioning and language because they believed it would resonate with their constituents. So what does that tell us?

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