KBIA reporter Jessica Reese spent some time with Republican women in pursuit of answering the question, “Where are the extremes?”
Written by Jessica Reese (KBIA Radio)
An important topic of this election season has been issues involving half of the voting population in America: Women. Politicos have taken a liking to the buzz term “War on Women,” and it’s all about which side a party has taken. The typical punditry says: Republicans are waging the war, and the Democrats are on the defense.
But, as most things in life, the real story is more complicated than this black-and-white picture. Recently, I began reporting on the political efforts of Republican and Democratic women in our community, and this took me to the source itself: A Republican phone bank where local Republican women talked with us about their real concerns. I’ve also been talking with Democratic women – more on that later.
The story about Republican women took shape after I sat in on a Boone County Federated Republican Women meeting. I ended up sitting with two former Boone County teachers, who told me very early on they are of the small, but still existing, population of women Republican educators. We discussed a variety of issues, ranging from embattled U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, to the economy, and even their dislike for using Facebook as a political forum.
It was clear that these women were concerned, smart and less radical than the media typically paints this side of the “war.” Some of the women even expressed being upset about Akin’s comments on rape and pregnancy, and said they advocated for women’s rights in these matters.
The president of the group, Laura Nauser, says the idea behind the phrase “War on Women” is just another phrase that summarizes America’s obsession with war: war on drugs, war on terror, war on poverty, and war on women — she listed them. As quoted in [the story that ultimately aired on KBIA](http://kbia.org/post/republican-women-columbia-prepare-november-6), she says her stance on women’s issues isn’t about limiting others’ choices, she just thinks the issue is not a decision the government should be involved in.
I left the meeting feeling like when it comes to real women on both sides of the debate, the media representations get it wrong. The Republican women working in our community are far from extreme. They share the same concerns of most Americans about the state of the economy, the job outlook and the wellbeing of their families.
Instead maybe it’s the mass media and politicians’ portrayals of these constituents and their ideas, that are the real extremes in this election.