“Alec” sent me a blog post from a blog entitled “Prose Before Ho’s”. (WARNING: there is written porn on the site. It’s one of those sites anyone can post to.)
There are some interesting and disturbing facts in what Alec sent to me which deserve to be discussed and publicized; my question, though, is, or my first question, can someone who reads or writes for a blog entitled “Prose Before Ho’s” ever be presumed to be concerned with how or whether women’s interests are represented in government? And if so, how’s that?
The blog post begins:
The 2006 mid-term elections were hailed as an ushering in of a new era turned against the Bush administration and politics as usual, and statistically speaking, the 110th Congress is the most diverse in US history. Yet there remains a serious disparity between the demographics of the United States population and the demographics in the Congress, which will be explored below.
Males – As of the 2006 congress, 83.7% of the Congress is male, while the percentage of males of the voting age population (18 plus) is only 48.4. If this is further evaluated to include the over-representation of white males, the figure is even more staggering: 36.3% of the voting age population are white males, yet there are 79 White Male senators making up the Senate (79%).
Women – Women of voting age represent 51.6 percent of the voting age population yet are 16.3% of the Congress, putting America below the global average of 17% female representation at parliamentary level. As of 2007, the US ranks 68th in terms of women holding office in the legislature — this puts the US just above Turkmenistan, and just below El Salvador and Panama.
Latinos – Hispanics represent over 14% of the U.S. population, while their Congress representation is 3% in the Senate and about 5% in the House.
African-Americans – The Senate is 1% African American and the House is roughly 9.2% African American compared to the 12.3 percent of American population that are of Black or African-American descent
That’s all really interesting. But what’s up with this bit of what appears to me to be anti-semitism:
Jews – While comprising 1.8% of the total United States population, Jews make up 7 percent of the Congress. This disproportional representation is extended higher in the Senate, where 13% of senators are Jewish.
I mean, so? It’s a problem when a minority group is UNDER-represented, not OVER-represented, right? Last time I looked the Jews were still a minority in the U.S. and there is still plenty of anti-semitism in the U.S. and the world.
Then this, which appears to be just rank ageism:
Older age groups (55 and older) – The average male and female age in the United States is 35.9 and 38.4 respectively compared to the average age of Congresspeople at 56 years old — 55 in the House of Representatives and 60 in the Senate. The age demographic breakdown in the United States is as following: 20-34: 20.9%; 35-44: 16%; 45-54: 13.4%; 55-64: 8.6%; rounded out by people of age 62 years and over in the US population at 14.7%. In the US Senate, 63% of the members are over 62 years old, topped off by Robert Byrd of West Virginia who is 90 years old.
Again, so what?
I am trying very hard to think of a reason to be concerned about the ages of Congress people. I think if we are going to focus on equal representation age-wise, then each group listed above, as well as all people under 20 years of age, will have to be represented equally by Congresspersons in their age group. I’m also betting that the 90-year-old Byrd, whatever anyone thinks of his politics, at least represents his age-mates numbers-wise. The greater question is, what does age have to do with anything at all so far as representation in Congress goes? Except to someone who is ageist?
Nobody commenting questioned any of this either.
I’m not sure why Alec sent this to me. Maybe he just wanted to share the information. Maybe he wanted to get linked. Maybe he had other motivations, like to draw feminist, woman-centered women to a site which, by its title and some of its contents, tolerates misogyny.
I’m posting what he sent to me because I think it’s interesting and is worth thinking about, with all of these many caveats.